Kazakhstan: Inclusive, sustainable education through innovation ecosystems
Strengthening multi-sector collaboration toward developing DPGs that improve accessibility and learning outcomes
As part of the Digital Public Goods Alliance’s (DPGA) efforts to ensure country leadership in the discovery and development of digital public goods (DPGs), Kazakhstan has been a Pathfinder in the region, advancing the DPG agenda and validating identified products.
The objective of the pilot initiative was to engage Kazakhstan’s innovation ecosystem in creating and implementing DPGs addressing the national priorities in education and inclusion aligned with international standards. UNICEF Kazakhstan is working with private and public sector partners and the government to strengthen local capacity to build, maintain, and contribute to DPGs. UNICEF’s work on DPG promotion and scale up in Kazakhstan allows active support of the national concept DigitEL 2025.
UNICEF Kazakhstan approached the pilot starting with a DPG Needs Assessment to identify gaps and needs that can be solved with DPGs, map out which solutions are already in place or which need to be developed as a DPG, and curate a database of information that can be leveraged to close the gaps. This includes an analysis on how the existing DPGs in Kazakhstan can be scaled to grow to other countries and be used more widely. Also, it has analyzed the government’s capacity to create, adopt, procure, and maintain open-source software for government. Read more on the DPG Needs Assessment here.
To introduce the DPG concept and vet emerging DPGs, UNICEF Kazakhstan partnered with Astana Hub, a national technology park for IT Startups under the government. On April 29, 2021, the Accessible Kazakhstan startup, which provides information on the accessibility of public facilities for people with limited mobility, was recognized as the first Digital Public Good in Central Asia. Using the app, people can plan the most accessible and safe routes for themselves as well as see how accessible and safe a chosen object is, which include educational, sport and other recreation places for children and adolescents.
During the Astana Hub cohort of startup support, 6 co-created DPG webinars were also held to advocate for DPGs, with participation from Microsoft, Google, EPAM and Mersys experts on accessibility, inclusion and AI. Through this webinar series, the Ozim platform was identified to align with the DPG Standard. In 2022, it is planned to work on promotion of the Digital Public Goods Standard for national sustainability and DPGs models finalization and deployment.
Potential DPG candidates from Kazakhstan:
- Ozim platform, a mobile application for smartphones based on iOS and Android, aimed to provide up-to-date information and educational support for parents and guardians of children with disabilities.
- Okoo platform, an educational platform with 14,413 teachers already trained on inclusive blended learning courses.
- KazNu platform, Al-Farabi Kazakh National University’s open educational platform.
- IITU platform, International IT University’s education platform.
Main partners include the Ministry of Education and Science, Ministry of Digital Development, Innovations and Aerospace Industry, the corporate fund «International Technopark IT - startups «Astana Hub»», the Astana International Financial Centre Tech Hub, Al-Farabi Kazakh National University, and International IT University.
Challenges and lessons learned: Not many funding opportunities are available locally for vetting of in-country DPGs at the early stage of development; Lack of awareness among product developers and policy makers about DPG standards and work of DPGA; Human Resource sustainability of startups; Low awareness of DPG products benefits and utilization.