From stay in Western-Kazakhstan Uralsk
by Jozef Polák
Kazakhstan (Quazaqstan) as the 9th largest country in the World, and even largest inland country in the World laying from Ural mountains to middle Asia between Altai and Volga, from West-Siberian lowland to Tian-shan. Spacious, sparsely populated country, characterized by steppes, which are bordered by mountains. Such a character had also country around Uralsk (Russian name), Kazakh Oral, is city located between three rivers, is most important river Ural, which flows to the Caspian Sea. Surrounding of Uralsk represent region, suitable for agriculture (relative availability of water) and is typical by animal production, where on the first place is cattle (Kazakh white-head and Hereford), horse and sheep farming, meat of whose is integral part of the typical Kazakh diet. Historically, Kazakhstan was home of Cossacks, nation of nomads, living in steppes in yurts and moving around the country for pastures and subsistence on horseback. Cossack were fighting with and against Tsar, against and with Communists, but finally in the city is great memorial of people dying in II.WW. Uralsk is placed close to Russian border (Saratov, Samara) and geographically in Europe. In present home of 350-400,000 people (agglomeration), split to the “old” town and new city located cca. 15 km far from the old showing present modern face of Kazakhstan. Country is well known due to mineral wealth (oil, gas, gold,…) and Bajkonur. Economically depending from collaboration with Russian federation with visible effort to separate historical roots from Soviet times, differentiate and present Kazakhstan as modern, as presented in amount of investments in public sector. One of the further steps is to change the alphabet from Cyrillic’s to Latin within 5 years. High importance is given to education and interest in international collaboration.
Within context of ERASMUS+ was organized business trip to Uralsk with destination Zanghir-Khan West-Kazakhstan Agricultural Technical University, where together on Veterinarian and Agricultural faculty took place intensive course of Breeding Programmes under supervision of prof. Ing. Radovan Kasarda, PhD.
Interesting is that University is under gesture of Ministry of Agriculture and University undergone “bottom-up” transformation. Faculties were transformed to institutes and departments to divisions. By this faculties becomes legal entities where division determine scientific, educational and business orientation of institute and institutes do the same to the rectorate and rector. In this way, university has direct influence on ministry and whole agricultural sector in Kazakhstan.
Education took place in research institute (similar to our Agrobiotech) in English and present were MSc. and PhD. students, as well as early career scientists. Course was scheduled to the 12 topics, starting with general introduction to breeding programmes in broader connection to human population growth and biodiversity protection as well as theoretical basis of selection, breeding and reproduction, essential as background together with definition of basic nomenclature as well as practical exercises to understand theoretical knowledge. Students spent daily from 9.00 to 12.30 in classroom (with breaks). Important part of course was discussion, students were interested in problems, sometimes in broader scope, up to breeding and farming practise and intensive agriculture.
Part of this ERASMUS+ has to be also stay of two Kazakh students at our university and further collaboration in form of educational and research projects.