Unique Educational Hub for Space Technology Opened in Turkestan

The Hub will become a platform to promote STEM education among Turkestan schoolgirls.

30 September 2022

TURKESTAN, September 30, 2022 – Today, UNICEF Kazakhstan, in partnership with Al-Farabi Kazakh National University and the Palace of Schoolchildren of Turkestan, opened the UniSat educational hub on space technologies at the Palace of Schoolchildren in Turkestan (the Hub). Thanks to UNICEF, Al-Farabi Kazakh National University, and the Palace of Schoolchildren, students in Turkestan will be able to attend STEM courses and obtain critical engineering skills. 

Primarily, the Hub aims to popularize and promote education and careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) among Turkestan schoolgirls. According to the World Economic Forum, only 14 per cent of Kazakhstani girls graduate from higher education institutions in STEM fields, while the graduate rate among men is 37 per cent. Although girls outperform boys in math and science, existing gender stereotypes undermine young women’s prospects for varied and skilled work. This prevents girls from achieving their full potential and impacts global efforts to achieve equitable and sustainable development. Classes at the Hub will expand horizons for girls in STEM and increase their professional development opportunities in STEM fields despite widespread gender stereotypes. 

More specifically, the Hub develops student’s engineering skills in the field of satellite technology. The Hub’s equipment will transmit and receive analog and digital radio signals from broadcasting devices on Earth and in space. The Hub is equipped with computers, software-defined radio devices (SDR), transceivers on VHF and KV bands, and large screens to show satellite trajectory. The VHF band transceiver will allow students to exchange information with nanosatellites, including the University’s Al-Farabi-2 nanosatellite. The VHF band transceiver will also allow schoolgirls participating in the Unisat Nano-satellite Educational Programme for Girls (UniSat) to master the basics of radio communications, communicate with radio amateurs from other countries, study foreign languages, and become STEM specialists. Using the Hub’s innovative and adaptable digital equipment, including SDR technologies, will provide flexibility in the educational process. In addition, the Hub has engineering models of UniSat nanosatellites assembled by project participants. 

“The UniSat program was implemented by UNICEF and Al-Farabi Kazakh National University in 2020. Since its launch, we have trained over 2,000 girls through our online platform and another 200 girls onsite. We launched five nanosatellites into the stratosphere to support education, and more importantly, girls who graduated from our project went on to study in STEM fields after high school. I am delighted that both the UniSat project and number of partners who want to promote engineering and STEM amongst Kazakhstani girls continues to grow. Today, we are opening the Hub in Turkestan, launching a new stage in the development of the project, and inviting students and teachers from the Turkestan region to join in,” said Arthur van Diesen, UNICEF Representative in Kazakhstan. 

The Hub was created as part of UniSat which aims to increase female students’ knowledge of and competencies in nanosatellite development while improving their teamwork, public speaking, time management and creative skills. The UniSat programme is implemented with the support of the UAE-based civil society organization “Dubai Cares”, Clé de Peau Beauté brand and philanthropist Ms. Nazanin Alakija.

Thanks to the Hub, Turkestan teachers will be able to better develop their students’ engineering skills and STEM competencies. The organizers hope that classes at the Hub will motivate students – espeically young women – to study and pursue careers in STEM fields. 

"We are very pleased to cooperate with UNICEF Kazakhstan and Al-Farabi Kazakh National University. The opening of the Hub in our palace is a new and wonderful opportunity for our students and teachers. Engineering specialties are extremely important for Kazakhstan and its future development. Now, the students have the opportunity to master satellite technology and radio communications in their city and region,” commented Indira Ikapova, Director of the Turkestan Schoolchildren’s Palace. 

Turkestan physics teachers also had the chance to attend a practical master class on upper atmospheric balloon-probe flight technology on the opening day of the Hub. They were able to learn how to make a preliminary calculation of the flight path and calculate where the balloon-probe would land.    

“The Hub opening in Turkestan marked the beginning of a new direction in the educational system of the country. It will attract schoolchildren and university students interested in space robotics and small spacecraft from around the country. Moreover, the Hub has a collective radio station that can be used to organize radio communication with other radio amateurs in the world,” noted Zhanseit Tuimebayev, Chairman of the Board - Rector of Al-Farabi Kazakh National University.

Nanosatellites are a class of small spacecraft whose weight does not exceed 10 kg. Today, nanosatellites are being developed at many of the world’s leading universities and commercial organizations. UniSat satellites are designed for educational purposes. They have several cameras, including one with the potential to take a 4K resolution elliptical image of the earth. The nanosatellites’ sensors collect data on radiation, pressure, gravity, light and gas composition before sending large amounts of data, videos and images back to Earth for analysis.

For more information about UNEGP, visit UniSat’s website at https://unisat. kz/.

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For more information on UNICEF’s activities, visit www. unicef. org.

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Al-Farabi Kazakh National University

Al-Farabi Kazakh National University is Kazakhstan’s flagship university designed to train competitive and highly qualified personnel. KazNU Technopark specializes in designing research equipment for applied and fundamental research in natural and technical sciences including, but not limited to, physics, mathematics, chemistry, and biology.


Dubai Cares

Dubai Cares is an international charitable organization founded in 2007 by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister, Vice President of the UAE and Emir of Dubai. The organization plays a key role in achieving UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4, which aims to ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning by 2030. For more information about Dubai Cares and its work, visit https://www. dubaicares. ae/


Ms. Nazanin Alakija is a humanitarian and philanthropist deeply committed to three areas: education, the empowerment of women and girls, and the environment. She believes that a sustainable, prosperous and just world is within reach if we give women and girls the education they deserve and lead communities toward an environmentally sustainable future. 

Ms. Alakija’s humanitarian work focuses on identifying and deploying solutions to address the negative impact of climate change on low-income populations, refugees, and internally displaced persons (IDP’s). She invests in long-term solutions, such as drilling wells using solar energy as part of UNICEF’s Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) program in northeastern Nigeria.

During the ongoing conflict in Yemen, she raised funds for UNICEF and critical emergency aid, including food, medicine, and psychosocial care.