The start of construction of the new High-Tech Academy in Koktobe City, Kusto Group’s residential complex in Almaty, highlights businessman Yerkin Tatishev’s continued dedication to investing in educational opportunities for the youth of Kazakhstan.
The ceremony celebrating the ground-breaking and launch of the construction of the High-Tech Academy (HTA) a project championed by Yerkin Tatishev, the chairman of the globally diverse Kusto Group organization, was recently held in Koktobe City, Kazakhstan. The new state of the art school will provide for the educational needs of 540 children and will be ready in 2020. The new school building, designed by Finnish architects, will house a kindergarten, elementary, middle and high school. An adjacent building will include a fitness center with a swimming pool, gym, art center and music school.
Finding Inspiration in the Finnish Educational Model
For Tatishev, the new school will symbolize Kusto’s understanding of its social responsibilities. Like Kusto Group, the Academy has adopted an innovative and progressive approach to learning. The school will be the first school in Kazakhstan to employ project-based learning (PBL). This pedagogical method promotes a holistic approach to learning – encouraging children to explore complex, real-world challenges and develop the critical skills to find solutions.
The implementation of PBL at HTA was inspired by the success the instructional model has achieved in Finland. By embracing this modern and progressive approach to learning, the Finnish education system has consistently been ranked as one of the best in the world.
PBL encourages children to be active participants in the learning process by presenting them with real-world problems requiring them to independently acquire knowledge and try to apply it to solve problems, analyze what worked and what did not, and why. The emphasis of learning is on the process rather than on the memorization of a set of facts. PBL successfully fosters the development of critical thinking skills, flexibility, creativity, research skills and communication skills, giving children the knowledge and abilities they will need to solve problems they encounter in the future.
Finland’s Ambassador to Kazakhstan, Mikko Kivikoski, was an honored guest at the opening ceremony to celebrate the influence of the Finnish model on the education philosophy that will guide the High-Tech Academy. Kazakhstan’s Vice-Minister of Education and Science, Bibigul Asylova, was also present, demonstrating the importance of the new school to the educational landscape of the country.
Speaking at the opening ceremony Ambassador Kivikoski said, “I’m grateful that High Tech Academy decided to use the Finnish experience in creating and developing schools in both academic and infrastructural terms. The HTA is already an excellent example of how best practices of the Finnish educational model are combined with local culture and needs. Finland is ready to continue mutually beneficial cooperation with High Tech Academy.”
According to school founder Yerkin Tatishev, “With High Tech Academy, we hope to create a new educational space in Kazakhstan. It will be easy and interesting to study not only specific sciences, but also to learn the world and find our place in it. We want our children to have the opportunity to dream and experiment, not to be afraid of mistakes, learn to correct them and go forward.”
Preparing Youth for the Future
Disrupting traditional methods of operation has become a vital component of Tatishev’s leadership style and the Kusto way of doing business. The company hopes to inspire positive change and usher in a new progressive era of business through the introduction of modern, innovative practices in the countries in which they operate. With the PBL educational model as the foundation of learning at the High-Tech Academy, Tatishev hopes to share these values with the next generation.
According to Tatishev, “Our construction projects are about more than bricks and mortar; we want to build communities that will last for generations.” The investment in the school is an investment in the future of these children, the community and the economy of the region.
The Academy’s curriculum will focus on the sciences, offering the young students a valuable opportunity to learn technical skills that will undoubtedly help them advance their educational achievement, personal success and play a role in their future careers.
Finland’s Ambassador to Kazakhstan, Mikko Kivikoski, sealing a time capsule to be opened by future students of the High-Tech Academy in 2044 / Photo by the press service of the Kazakhstan Press Club
A highlight of the ground-breaking ceremony was the burial of a time capsule on the school grounds. The contents of the time capsule are secret, with it set to be opened in 2044 by future children attending the school. According to Tatishev, “This time capsule is a gift, embedded in the foundations of the school, to generations not yet born, a perfect representation of the purpose of education.”
Impacting Lives Through Educational Opportunities
In addition to the High-Tech Academy, Yerkin Tatishev has been an advocate of education and academic achievement through the Yerzhan Tatishev Foundation, a charitable organization established in 2005 in honor of Tatishev’s late brother.
Recently, the Kusto Group chairman attended a ceremony at ALMA University to honor the graduation of six recipients of scholarships from the Yerzhan Tatishev Foundation. This year represented the ninth ceremony held to celebrate the successful graduation of recipients of grants awarded by the foundation. Speaking about the foundation’s inspiration, Tatishev stated: “I know my late brother, Yerzhan, who shared my passion for learning, would be proud to see the Foundation’s impact.”
Regarding his involvement in the creation of the High-Tech Academy and the Yerzhan Tatishev Foundation, Yerkin Tatishev said, “Whether it be in helping people get better jobs or for charitable causes, I am always looking to invest in people through education and training wherever possible.”