Kazakhstan’s Education Ministry has announced the opening of a Chinese-funded vocational school, known as a Luban workshop, located on the campus of Serikbayev East Kazakhstan Technical University in Oskamen.
The facility enables “students to study advanced automotive technologies using modern Chinese equipment,” according to a ministry statement.
China opened its first Central Asian Luban workshop in Tajikistan in 2022. Plans have been announced to also launch Luban workshops in Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan. Globally, China has launched over two dozen Luban workshops, which Chinese state-run media has described as Beijing’s “calling card for professional education.”
On the sidelines of the Luban workshop opening ceremony in Oskamen, Chinese diplomats met with East Kazakhstan’s governor, Ermek Kosherbaev. Among the topics of discussions were agricultural issues, including irrigation, as well as potential sites for “bonded warehouses,” according to a regional government statement.
Last summer, Kazakh officials were quietly critical of China’s large-scale siphoning of Irtysh River water for irrigation, which exacerbated drought conditions in Kazakhstan and contributed to low water levels on the waterway that hindered barge traffic.
Elsewhere in Kazakhstan, Al-Farabi NationalUniversity hosted a study-abroad fair in which “about 45” Chinese institutions of higher learning participated.
In remarks made at the opening ceremony, presidential advisor Malik Otarbayev noted that “Kazakstan and China have entered a new stage of close bilateral relations.”
Otarbayev’s comments echoed those made a few days earlier by his boss, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, who stated; “Kazakhstan aims to intensify interaction with China in all areas.”