The Difference Between Policy and Reality

crossroads

This section is dedicated to my personal reaction to the informatization policy from the student, teacher and researcher perspectives. The critique toward schools’ coverage with computers, the effectiveness of ICT trainings, creation of digital resources and broadband internet provision is provided.

As a student, I can say that there is a huge difference between what is reported in the National Reports about the implementation of computerization, and what the country has in reality. The most obvious discrepancy is seen in the percentage of school coverage with computers. As an experienced pupil who changed several schools and who also had an opportunity to see the situation in rural areas, I can say that two of urban schools and two rural schools in Pavlodar where I studied, were not equipped with computers during her schooling years, taking into account that it were 1999-2007 years, while the National Report – 2006 (Damitov et al, 2006) stated that approximately 100% of schools were equipped with PCs.

As a teacher at school, I state that teachers’ trainings which were organized in order to reduce computer illiteracy and raise the ICT competence of teachers were ineffective. The trainings were oriented to memorizing the theoretical information rather than to examining the practical skills which ICT users must possess. In this way, many teachers were able to pass the examination successfully and finally got the certificate, but still they are not able to utilize this knowledge in the class. Also, the point that I would like to point out is the absence of monitoring of those teachers who completed ICT courses. As if nobody cares about the effectiveness of these courses; as if courses are run only for the sake of formalities.

As a researcher (future), I would put in question the Ministry’s intent to create interactive and intellectual digital academic resources for each subject studied at the secondary and profession-oriented schools (National Education Development Program, 2011).  The reason is that the analysis of scholarly researches shows that even taking into account the fact that 50 packages of off-line electronic teaching aids covering 465 topics (National Center of Informatization, 2010) have already been created, this educational content is used only by 5% (Sapargaliyev, 2012). The first suggestion made by me will be to investigate the reasons why these digital resources are not in use, and only then move to ambitious plans to cover all school subjects with digital academic resources. Otherwise, the problem will remain unchanged, and, definitely, the increased number of subjects covered with digital resources is not going to solve the issue.

100% schools’ provision with broadband internet also generates doubts from the researcher’s perspective. Even considering that approximately 45 schools have already been connected to high speed internet, other 7515 schools struggle with low speed connection (Kaskatayeva, 2014). After analyzing the data which show that the connection of these 45 schools to broadband internet took almost 4 years, it can be expected that the realization of government’s plan to provide all 7515 secondary schools with the same internet connection will take nearly 600 years. These are my own calculations (45 – 4, 7515 – x, then x = (7515 * 4)/45 = 668) which show that the government’s aim to cover all schools is unfeasible. That is one of the reasons why I do not agree with the policy objectives. These objectives seem to be unrealistic and delusory.

I tried to answer my question about the difference between the policy and reality regarding the implementation of informatization reform in secondary schools in Kazakhstan. The analyses had shown that there is a huge discrepancy in what was reported and what was actually done during these seventeen years. This does not necessarily mean that the informatization reform failed to reach its objectives. It means that there are things that Kazakhstan still should work on. The policy makers have a lofty aim to improve the education system of the country by adopting info-communicational technologies. The national experts agree that the government succeeded in establishing the policy which is irreproachable in theory, but, unfortunately, is not applicable in practice due to inaccurate planning and absence of systematic coordination (Sapargaliyev, 2012; Nurgalieva, 2012; Nurgalieva, Aktybayeva, 2010; Akhmetova, Issayev, 2013; Mamykova, 2014; Khalikova, 2013; Kaskatayeva, 2014, Kerimbayev, Akramova, Suleimenova, 2014). I am sure that it is important to take into account the results obtained by Kazakhstani scholars in order to avoid future mistakes in planning for further reforms.

Reference:

Damitov, B.K., Ermekov, N.T., Mozhaeva, O.I., Golovataya, G.I., Egimbaeva, Zh.K., Nogaibalanova, S.Zh., Suleimenova, Sh.A., Makhmetova, G.P., and Tekesheva, T.U. (2006). Natsional’nyi doklad o sostoyanii i razvitii obrazovaniya (National Report on the Status and Development of Education), Astana: National Center for Assessment of the Quality of Education.

Kaskatayeva, B. (2014). Informatization of education in the Republic of Kazakhstan: current status and future prospects. Global Journal for Research Analysis4, 1-4.

Kazakhstan. The Ministry of Education and Science (2011). The state program of education development till 2020. Astana: the Ministry of Education and Science. Retrieved January 30, 2015, from <http://www.edu.gov.kz/en&gt;.

Kerimbayev, N., Akramova, A., Suleimenova, J. (2014). E-learning for ungraded schools of Kazakhstan: Experience, implementation, and innovation. Springer Science+Business Media9, 22-31

Khalikova, K. (2013). E-portfolio as a mean of students’ achievements assessment in the training of future teachers in the field of informatics. Tradition and Reform, 10, 209-219.

Mamykova, Z. (2014). IT decisions for education. The East Kazakhstan State Technical University named after D.Serikbayev, 4, 1-4.

Nurgalieva, G., Aktykbayeva, E. (2010). Content provision for information and educational environment in the Republic of Kazakhstan. UNESCO, 5, 112-117.

Sapargaliyev, D. (2012). E-Learning in Kazakhstan: Stages of Formation and Prospects for Development. Astana: Eurasian National University4, 1-4.

The National Center of Informatization (JSC) (2010). Informatization of education in Kazakhstan.

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4 thoughts on “The Difference Between Policy and Reality

  1. it is a vicious circle: the educators (in the bottom of a bureacratic hierarchy) are ordered to submit reports irrespective of its’ plausibility, the top has to declare that everything is done ideally. That happens. I suppose, it comes the corollary of the insufficient implementation of the reforms. Additionally, people tend to fear of changes and mistakes. We blame one another, but also we should consolidate and think of realising the failures of the past.
    Speaking of the regions of Kazakhstan, I quite agree that the situation there is even worse.
    Being a rural school graduate, I do remember that I started learning English only in Grade 6 (instead of Grade 5). There were not enough teachers and even the core textbooks. We had computers and interactive boards, but we were rarely allowed to use. Only when the external attestation committee visited our school, we had to play an illusionary show: we had everything and all the high-tech devises were used in a teaching process.
    The gap between the reality and planning is increasing when people work on quanitity rather that on quality. When the sense of responsibility comes, then we will be able to assess the efficiency of any reform.

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  2. Aliya, thank you for your topic! I think whatever issues we touch in Kazakhstani education, it has some discrepancy between the policy itself and the reality for sure. One of the main reasons that we as a whole system face with such problems is that we tend to implement new changes at a time. In my personal opinion, there should be another approach that will be trenchant: first, new policies should be piloted or tested and then be implemented.

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  3. Thank you for raising an important issue.The problem of mismatch between the goals set and its process of realization can be found almost in all reform initiatives. It can be caused by multiple factors, both technical and human. First and foremost point is that educators have to realize why this or that reform is being implemented.The same with the informatization policy. Too often, teachers do not realize the full potential of using ICT in their teaching practice and accept it something like obligatory. Probably, knowing that relevant use of computer in the classroom can develop not only software but also thinking skills and helps his/ her students to become effective independent learners would be more motivatinal for them. Another thing is the lack or abcense of computer literacy among teachers, especially in rural areas. I worked in one of the rural schools where I have seen teachers who were spending their whole weekends to fill that e-journal. Because the school adminstaration is accountable for that.Was it something that the reform was aiming at? As it was mentioned by the author, teacher trainings are more focused on theory rather than practical skills. Again, it is due to ingnoring teachers’ voice about their real needs. Three thigns can be said: 1. Tecahers must know why this is needed; 2. Responsibility before accountability. 3. We do need data-driven decision making.

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    1. Lately, I read several articles about HEIs autonomy. through analysing emperical research I understood that our cultural and environental perspectives are fully ready to acceptthe reforms. becasue the most Central Asian countries are colectivistic individuals rather than individualistic ones. and the greater autonomy or accountability dismay country;s rectoor of HEIs

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