Challenges of inclusive education implementation in Kazakhstan.

Inclusive education became to be necessary for the modern education not only in Kazakhstan, but in all developing countries. Generally, it is aimed at the elimination of educational and social exclusionary practices, such as diversifying and discriminating by race, social class, language, ethnicity, religion, gender and (dis)ability (Rouse et al., 2014). State Program of Education in the Republic of Kazakhstan for 2011-2020 states inclusive education implementation as one of the priority objectives. Nevertheless, the process of implementation is facing the difficulties caused by various factors in the given context.

There are different opinions on the current state of realization: some claim that nothing has changed, while others are sure that we are moving forward step by step (UNICEF, 2013). On the one hand, the journal articles say that “still there is no one unified understanding of “inclusive education” (Yeliseyeva, 2014). Information from OECD (2009) report contradicts with the statement and estimates that there is no clear governmental vision on the notion. On the other hand, if we take into account the fact that the government has already stepped forward by committing itself into various international initiatives and conventions, the result is more likely to be achieved. Non-governmental organizations also do participate here and play a significant role.

Most professionals working on this sphere, like Suleimenova(2012) and/or Yeliseyeva (2014) describe “inclusive education” as governmental politics, which is aimed at eliminating discrimination and separating children from the generally healthy environment. Nevertheless, the activists look at the issue from different sides, that is why they point out challenges and different aspects which cause them. All in all, taking into consideration their arguments and statements and analyzing them, I came to the decision to classify the issues occurred while inclusive education implementation. For this reason, the illustration of challenges for different stakeholders that were mentioned by different authors was found necessary to present.

Government. What challenges does the government have? First of all, it is assumed by OECD authors that lack of framework and policy to satisfy the needs of inclusive education, and lack of clarity in instructions, as they sometimes appear to be contradictory and inconsistent. Secondly, very little quality control is being done, implementation is highlighted, but its quality still remains unaddressed (OECD, 2009). Next is a contradictory voices in the educational community, as there were some opinions that children with disabilities are better educated in the segregated specialized schools (Rouse et al 2014).

 Society. Poor awareness of the public builds wrong or negative attitudes towards inclusion. There is no clear vision of the notion, so it seems to cause unwillingness to participate in its implementation. For instance, teachers, they are not psychologically ready to have children with disabilities while they hardly cope with the ones who have lower academic achievements. According to the research done by UNICEF (2013) less than a third of the respondents approved the idea, interestingly, Rouse (2014) suggests the same figure. As far as parents are concerned, inclusive education provokes mixed reactions; this idea somehow hesitates those parents whose children do not have any special needs, so they are not willing to have their children studying together with those who are with disabilities. Whereas, along with the parents with kids with disabilities who fight for inclusion, there those ones who do not want to give their children to school, some even hide their children, by not registering them, which also cause some trouble however the exact amount of children cannot be figured out (Rouse, 2014).Defectologists come next, we shouldn’t miss their attitude as well. Who seem to accept the idea also negatively, Rouse (2014) explains the situation by assuming that this is because of threat to their status and need for their specialty. Up to nowadays profession of defectologists were highly needed and were well-paid, however after inclusive education implementation there is a wrong fear that they will not be in need anymore.

Infrastructure. Although, the state program requirements are set for 2015, up to nowadays there is not much done in terms of infrastructure, one of the main reason of which is funding(OECD, 2009), as the international experience revealed that special education in its any form is costy.

One of the most important challenges that was mentioned by many authors is pedagogy (OECD, 2009; Bridges, 2014; Suleimenova,2012; Yeliseyeva, 2012; Yersarina, 2012). Judging by their findings this is a big issue which implies: lack of teacher-training and retraining, specialists to train the teaching staff, pedagogical-psychological support, teaching materials; textbook-language issue; organization matters, like curricular adjusted specially to meet individuals’ needs; methodological issues.

This classification was made to understand the issues of inclusive education implementation from different perspectives. I think that it is useful to have the clear picture of the problems whenever you confront them, so that it would easier to solve afterwards.

References:

Rouse, M., Yakavets, N., & Kulakhmetova, A. (2014). Towards inclusive education: Swimming against the tide of educational reform. In D. Bridges (Ed.), Educational reforms and internationalization: The case of school reform in Kazakhstan (pp.196-216). Cambridge: Cambridge university press

UNICEF. (2013). Study about public opinion on building inclusive society for children with disabilities and maintenance prevention of infants’ abandonment. Astana.

Yeliseyeva, I. G. (2014). О практической реализации инклюзивного образования в Казахстане. Открытая школа, 1(132).

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. (2009). Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan; Students with Special Needs and Those with Disabilities. Paris: OECD.

Suleymenova, R. A. (2012). Методологические подходы к развитию инклюзивного образования в Республике Казахстан. Открытая школа, 7(118).

Yersarina, A. M. (2012). Развитие инклюзивного образования в Республике Казахстан. Открытая школа, 1(112).

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