Monthly Archives: March 2015

Will Chinese become the world’s most important language?

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http://www.chinahighlights.com/travelguide/chinese-language/

What you might already know:

  • “China is one of the world’s oldest and richest continuous cultures, over 5000 years old
  • China is the most populous nation in the world, with 1.28 billion people
  • One fifth of the planet speaks Chinese. Mandarin Chinese is the mother tongue of over 873 million people, making it the most widely spoken first language in the world
  • In addition to the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan, Mandarin Chinese is also spoken in the important and influential Chinese communities of Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, the Philippines, and Mongolia
  • China is the second largest economy in the world
  • China is one of largest trading partners of the United States
  • Many US companies do business in China and have long-term investments there” (http://www.bu.edu/mlcl/home/why-study-chinese/)

The study of the Chinese language is increasing in the United States and around the world. In 2009, about 60,000 American college students were studying Chinese. That is three times as many as in 1990. A small but growing number of American parents are even sending their children to bilingual Chinese immersion schools. However, Chinese is a more difficult language to learn. The U.S. Foreign Service Institute estimates it would take a native English speaker 2,200 hours to reach professional fluency in Chinese. That is four times longer than it would take to reach the same level in Dutch, French, or Spanish. While Chinese grammar is much simpler, Chinese has a tone and writing system that is more difficult for adult learners to master (Brock, 2014; http://www.geili.us/news/?1391.html).

There are also some interesting facts that Chinese has a relatively uncomplicated grammar. Unlike French, German or English, Chinese has no verb conjugation and no noun declension. For example, in English there are different verb forms like “see/saw/seen,” all you need to do in Chinese is just to remember one word: kan. Another example for singular and plural forms: “cat” and “cats,” in Chinese there is only one form: mao. (Chinese conveys these distinctions of tense and number in other ways, of course.) The basic word order of Chinese is subject – verb – object, exactly as in English. A large number of the key terms of Mandarin Chinese (such as the terms for state, health, science, party, inflation, and even literature) have been formed as translations of English concepts (http://www.bu.edu/mlcl/home/why-study-chinese/).

Nowadays China is playing a more and more important role in global political and economic systems. It has become a huge market, and business leaders are looking for people who can speak more than one language, giving their preference to those who speak Chinese and operate successfully in a Chinese cultural context. In many countries Chinese has become a popular language, for instance in Japan, Chinese is now the most taught foreign language after English; in Britain the first English-Chinese bilingual primary school was opened last year. If in recent decades most children were taught French, Spanish and German, in another 10 or 20 years it could well be Chinese that tops the language list.

Reference

Brock, A. (2014). Will Chinese replace English as the international language? Retrieved from: http://www.geili.us/news/?1391.html

Why study Chinese. Retrieved from: http://www.bu.edu/mlcl/home/why-study-chinese/

“In the beginning was the Word” (Bible, John 1:1) or Framing inclusive education in Kazakhstani documents.

policyNaming of any notion plays crucial role in understanding this notion and its future life. According to Sapir-Whorf’s (1956) hypothesis, our language influences our thinking and people’s attitudes are closely connected to the picture or the worldview that language creates. Thus, policy formulations, which frame governmental legislations and instructions, and its selection of words determine people’s thinking about every issue, modeling their perceptions even in the level of under conciousness. In this context, framing notions related to inclusive education influences Kazakhstani people world view on teaching and learning in diverse environment and model the system of inclusive education.

Being one of the main policy documents on education, which implicates its significance for Kazakhstani stake holders, State Programme of Education Development 2011-2020 (MoES, 2010) provides readers with labeling teachers for inclusive environment as teachers – defectologists. Supporting and intensifying this idea, MoES decree “On confirmation of standard qualifications of educators” (2009), describing the role of teacher-defectologist, says that he/she has to take measures focused on maximal correction of students’ abnormality and examine children, defining structure and intensity of their defect. Children themselves are labeled as “children with limited capacity”, “children with disabilities”, “handicapped children” and “invalids” (Law on social and medical, 2002; law on child’s rights, 2002; law on social protection, 2005).

In this policy context, children with special needs in Kazakhstan have no special needs but they have defects, which must be corrected and eliminated by their teachers, in accordance with medical model of education rather than pedagogical one. Therefore, admitting children’s abnormality, school, providing students with rehabilitation (Rouse, Yakavets & Kulahmetova, 2014), has agenda somehow to adapt them to society, which considered being normal.

These negative labeling can be explained by the tribute to the memory of Soviet legacy, but it can’t be excused. Aiming to implement inclusive education, Kazakhstani policy makers need to realize the pivotal effect of terms they use in legislations, due to the reason that these terms architect the system and frame Kazakhstani people’s worldview on the essence of inclusive education and population with special needs.

References

Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan. (2002), № 343-II: On social and medical-pedagogical intervention support of handicapped children (with changes and additions as in 2014).

Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan. (2002). No. 345-II: On child’s rights (with changes and additions as in 2014).

Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan. (2005), № 39-III ЗРК: On social protection of invalids in the Republic of Kazakhstan.

MoES (Ministry of Education and Science) (2009) Decree On confirmation of standard qualifications of educators, Astana: MoES.

MoES (Ministry of Education and Science) (2010). “State Programme of Education Development for 2011-2020, Approved by Presidential order 1118 on December 2010. Astana: MoES.

Rouse M, Yakavets N, Kulahmetova A. (2014). Towards inclusive education: Swimming Against the Tide of Educational Reform, Educational Reform and Internationalization, edited by David Bridges, Cambridge University Press.

Whorf B. L. (1956). Language, thought and reality: Selected writings of Benjamin Lee Whorf. Ed. John B. Carroll, New York: Wiley.

Living with disability

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I was watching the kazakh traditional dance performed by four amazing girls, who impressed me with their outstanding dance techniques. However, I have noticed one detail while they were dancing they looked at one point, and even though they were smiling their eyes showed signs of worrying. I followed their eyes and realized that they were looking at the signs of the instructor, who was counting and showing steps, using sign language. How is it, to dance without music? And how is it, to live with disability? These questions immediately came to my mind…

We live in the world where disability is considered to be abnormal, just because the society does not accept disabled people the way they are, thus causing stigmatization and exclusion. According to the public survey of UNICEF (2013) society tends to associate disability with the limitations of ability, inferiority, unhappiness, usefulness and absence of the future. When people were asked about emotions that they usually feel facing children with disabilities, the answers showed that in most cases children with disability stir to pity and sympathy, on the second place was respectful attitude, on the third place was rejoice for their achievements (UNICEF, 2013). Public opinion is only one side of the coin; another side is feelings of people with disabilities in society, which somehow ignored by the society. How attitudes of society affect the life of disabled?  Do people with disabilities need these feelings of regrets and respect?  What do they expect from society?  The answers for these questions I found reading one story of the girl, who is diagnosed with the Osteogenesis imperfecta that affects only 0.008 percent of world’s population. Her name is Bethany Stevens, she is a student of the University of Florida, disability activist and the President of the Union of Students with Disabilities,

The fragments of life story of Bethany Stevens:

“In additional to physical pain of operations and fractures I have been plagued with feelings of shame and self-contempt as a result of the social stigma of disability. This is an issue I continue to grapple with today as a 24-year-old law student. As a child I did not realize how significant the social reality of being disabled was, as I felt I was a normal child who simply had physical limitations.”

“When I was younger, my mother believed that I might fracture while I playing so she isolated me from my peers. I calculated how much time I have spent alone, healing from various injuries, and came up with the seven years of my life- a figure does not include the years of my schooling.”

“I began attending an elementary school as the only disabled child integrated the able-bodied students. I loved school because it gave me opportunity to engage in human interaction. But there were still times when I felt socially isolated because of my disability, particularly when it came to socializing beyond the confines of the school.”

“I internalized feelings of hatred towards my body, which I now believe were garnered through images of normalized beauty standard perpetuated by the media and social stigma. Nowhere did I find positive images expressing the humanity of disabled people- only those that were depicted as object intended to provoke a pity or sympathy… These intense emotions were exacerbated by the fact that I had to live all my good friends behind and go to the school on the other side of the town, as the school my friends were going to attend was inaccessible to disabled student”

“There is a duality in the need for a cognitive revolution, existing within able-bodied populations. All too often we internalize negative stigmas concerning our disability because we cannot see our beauty.  For the most of my life I was only disabled person, I knew and I found it truly difficult to look into the mirror and see an aesthetically different person, and yet still see beauty. We need a sense of internal pride as much as society needs to accept our abilities and assets.”

“The opportunities and development of the pride in my existence came with the pivotal move into my fathers home when I was 16 years old. He recognized my humanity and encouraged it to flourish, teaching me hoe to drive and supporting my securing of a job. He allowed me freedom that my mother would have never condoned and with it I forged the identity that I love. It is wonderful to finally love myself. It is crucial that other parents of children with disabilities allow their children to obtain a sense of independence because it is necessary for self- sufficiency.” (retrieved from UNICEF, 2006, pp. 26-27).

Coming to conclusion, this story shows that people make a mistake feeling pity and sympathy toward disabled, and from the life experience of Bethany we can see that it is better to concentrate on their abilities, disabling the barriers for their socialization and treating them as usual people. Indeed people with disabilities are able to pursue the life fulfilled of achievements and joy provided that society does not limited their opportunities. And these four girls with hearing impairments, dancing despite their difficulties in a big scene in front of dozens of people, is evidence to it.

References:

UNICEF (2013). Analysis of Conditions of Children with Disabilities: for the Further Development of Inclusive Education. Astana:  UNICEF.

UNICEF (2006). Excluded and Invisible. USA: New York, UNICEF.

Write or wrong: the death of handwriting?

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http://truebluespirit.com/study-of-handwriting/

The benefits of modern technologies such as computers, electronic organizers and other gadgets are evident in everyday life. However, it has been speculated that the increasing use of personal computers and therefore the common use of keyboards to produce written texts may lead to the general loss of handwriting skills. Moreover, some researchers as Sulzenbruck, Hegele, Rinkenauer and Heuer (2011) believe that using keyboards instead of pens could affect the human behavioral repertoire in a more general way, so that a broad class of basic motor skills rather than just handwriting could suffer.

More and more of our current writing is writing with a digital device, whether it is a laptop or a mobile phone. Computers and keyboards are replacing pen and paper at an ever-increasing rate, and children are increasingly being introduced to writing with computers, and even at the expense of, writing by hand. With new technologies, we are changing the role of the hands, as the haptic affordances of digital technologies are distinctly different than earlier technologies such as pen, paper and a print book. We click and scroll with computer mice and tap keys on a keyboard, instead of putting pen to paper. This switch from pen and paper to keyboard and screen entails major differences in the haptics of writing. Writing by hand, we use only one hand, whereas typewriting typically involves both hands; handwriting is commonly experienced as a slower and more laborious process than writing with a keyboard (Mangen & Velay, 2010).

Nowadays, in a world in which everything from personal correspondence to job applications are computerized, the need for such a skill isn’t as pressing. Many schools have abandoned cursive in favor of teaching basic computer literacy skills, a move which, in the eyes of many, better prepares kids for life in the technologically competitive 21st century. Teaching cursive as a discrete skill takes time away from teaching children how to communicate meaningfully. Today’s thinking is that short periods of practice are better. Some experts also think handwriting should not be taught by itself. Instead, they say it should be used as a way to get students to express ideas. But Zaner-Bloser, a publisher of writing, vocabulary, spelling and handwriting programs, stands behind the method so firmly that they sponsor an annual handwriting contest. He claims that learners who become independent and fluent in writing manuscript and cursive letters enter a world of endless opportunities (Gordon, 2009).

There is no doubt that teaching good, legible handwriting skills, whether through print or cursive, improves children’s ability to construct and convey thought. Nevertheless, the major ongoing changes in how we write, and more importantly how children, in the age of digital technology, learn to write and might learn to write in the near future is a question that needs a scientific scrutiny.

Reference

Gordon, M. (2009). From cursive to cursor: the death of handwriting. Retrieved from: http://www.education.com/magazine/article/cursive-cursor-death-handwriting/

Mangen, A. & Velay, J. (2010). Digitizing Literacy: Reflections on the haptics of writing. Advances in haptics. p. 385-402. doi: 10.5772/8710.

Sulzenbruck, S., Hegele, M., Rinkenauer, G. & Heuer, H. (2011). The death of handwriting: Secondary effects of frequent computer use on basic motor skills. Journal of Motor Behavior, 43 (3), p. 247-251.

History of EXPO to be introduced in schools

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“Kazakhstani school students will have an opportunity to know more about the history of the World’s Fair” commented the Kazakh TV in one of their latest news (KazTV, 2014). A new textbook titled “Future Starts Today: Astana EXPO-2017 was presented in Astana in October 20, 2014. The book, developed by experienced Kazakhstani teachers, tells the history of the EXPO in a simple and engaging way. The authors of this book predict that the textbook will be useful for  both,  classroom and extracurricular activities, and at the lessons of history and geography. There is a chapter in the book which is dedicated to Astana. The unicity of the book is that the textbook has lesson plans, including seminars, round tables, travel-lessons, contests and even competitions. The published 1,000 copies of the textbook are available both in the Kazakh and Russian languages.​ They will be distributed between the Astana schools. Schools of other cities of Kazakhstan will receive the electronic version of the textbook.

The Kazakhstani educators worked out the lessons on the history of the World’s Fair in order to raise awareness on EXPO-2017 international exhibition not only among the schoolchildren but also among the population of the country. The textbook, which is highly estimated by International Exhibition Bureau, was prepared jointly with the Department of Education of Astana (Mukanov, 2014). In fact, the Department of Education of Astana has been conducting a lot of explanatory work among the city schools urging them to organize various internal activities and science fairs devoted to the topic of the EXPO 2017. The exhibition topic of “Energy of the Future” chosen by the country takes into consideration the importance of energy and environment issues. The topic will extensively cover the energy saving problems and the implementation of alternative energy sources (Syzdykova & Abilov, 2013).

On the whole, schools understand the significance of Kazakhstan’s hosting the EXPO-2017, which will foster the integration of the country into the globalized world and improve its international image. Hopefully, every student educated in such schools will promote the further development of Kazakhstan by getting acquainted with the history, traditions and culture of other participating countries.  That in turn, will extend Kazakhstan’s international, economic, political, scientific and cultural ties. EXPO-2017 is not only the great opportunity for Kazakhstan to make a contribution to the growth of global technical interaction but also the possibility for the current problems solution worldwide.

References:

Mukanov, B. (2014). History of EXPO to be introduced in schools. Retrieved March 1, 2015 from http://kazakh-tv.kz/en/view/news_kazakhstan/page_78285_history-of-expo-to-be-introduced-in-schools

Syzdykova, E. Z. & Abilov, D. K. (2013). EXPO-2017 as an area for solution of current problems of science and education. International  Journal of Experimental Education 12 , 13-14.

I have a dream…

A magnificent speech, delivered in front of Lincoln Memorial, brought many people hope for a bright future. Now, a multimillion country enjoys the outcomes of that event. “I have a dream…” of Martin Luther King has become an important phrase in my life for about last 10 years. It has seemed so sacred to me that I believe if I start my dreaming with these words, all I want will come true. In this post I would like to share one of my biggest dreams with you.

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http://www.toyota-4runner.org

I have a dream that one day I will wake up at dawn full of wonderful feeling toward a coming day. That day is going to be the beginning of my great journey around Kazakhstan. It will be a car journey with the purpose to discover the vast land inherited from great ancestors, to see how people live in each corner of Kazakhstan. No region will be left untouched. This trip will open untold secrets of mysterious steppe that conceals history of centuries, millenniums and is a witness of the rebirth of independent Kazakh country.

I have a dream to visit Kokshetau with its Burabai, the place where Kazakh Khan Ablai hoisted his flag of his statehood. I will fall in love with the masterpiece of nature that I will see there. Fresh air and the smell coming from forests of Petropavl and Qostanai will fill my lungs with energy to move forward towards discoveries.

I have a dream to see the treasury of nomads – west, which is now the firm foundation of our country’s economy. The white peak of Aqtobe will blind my eyes, leading me to Oral. There I will be waved by waters of Great Zhaiq that sail me to Atyrau. I will stand on the place where Europe and Asia border, being proud of how huge my Motherland is. Then, the light of Aqtau’s lighthouse will illuminate my way, making sure that I am not get lost. I will bow my head to the old Caspian Sea thanking for its beauty.

I have a dream to walk along the riverside of Syrdariya in the city of Qyzylorda, the second capital of the former soviet Kazakhstan. Moving south-east, Turkestan will tell me its story of glory and sorrow of the holy land. Shining Shymkent will take me to visit the city. Amazed with the diversity of population living there I will bless God for the peace in our homes. Then, I will speed to greet two thousand year old ancient Taraz. It will capture me by the love stories of Aisha Bibi and Qarakhan.

I have a dream to go up to Koktobe and watch how Almaty sleeps. I will go to the central square to honor the heroes of 1986 Zheltoqsan, who against long odds fought for independence of Kazakhstan. Taldyqorgan will call me to immerse into the waters of seven rivers.

I have a dream to visit Semey, the home of Abai, deeply learning every single word of his edifications. Oskemen will be my next destination. I will not dare to continue my journey not seeing Altai Mountains and Katon Qaragai national park. Pavlodar will be my terminal on my further way.

I have a dream to drive to the energy womb of our land which is famous Qaragandy. I will meet and have long conversations with people of the city, who are credited as very hardworking.

Finally, I have a dream to come back to my new home, the country’s favorite – Astana. I will be back with a lot of positive emotions, satisfied curiosity and a pile of unforgettable memories put in gigabytes of photos.

Train your brain making your life brighter!

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I guess all of you know that if our muscles are not trained or not used at all it atrophies, becomes senescent and loose its functions. It is an ugly truth, but the same happens to our brain without its activation. It was scientifically proved that intellectual abilities become weaker because of the connections between brain cells, which are called dentries, that drain away without training as well as muscles do. However, neurobiologists also found that dentries can be reproduced, granted that brain makes exercises that involves activation of all five physical senses and emotions (Кинякина, 2013; http://www.keepyourbrainalive.com/ )

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The exercise that helps the brain to be alive is Neurobic. It was introduced by Dr. Lawrence Katz, the Professor of Neuro–biology of Duke University Medical Center, who states that neurobic is based on the brain’s ability to produce neurotrophins that fertilize the brain connections, preserving them from aging. Neurobic exercises imply usage of emotional sense and five physical senses, including hearing, touch, smell, sight and taste in an unpredictable ways, thus breaking down the everyday routine (http://www.keepyourbrainalive.com/).

The most striking features of the “brain gym” is that it is time consuming and it does not require special equipment. Our prosy life events can serve as the sport hall for brain training. For instance we can change our habits, trying to tie shoes with the close eyes, rearrange the office or brush the teeth using left hand while your working hand is right. The main principle of neurobic is to bring changes in your life, starting from simple things such as ways to go for a work, food, aromas etc. and finishing with new activities, places for holidays or habits (Кинякина, 2013).

Neurobic is a life style which is able not only to activate the brain, keeping it fit, but also break uniformity of the life. Who knows, probably new things you saw in the morning walking to the work by a new route will lead you to the new ideas for your business, or you will meet person you like.

Ps. I hope this post will motivate you to leave your comfort zone, developing your intellectual abilities and letting changes happen in your life!

Кинякина, О.Н. (2013). Мозг на сто процентов. Интеллект. Память. Креатив. Интуиция. Россия: Москва, Эксмо, – 848с.

http://www.keepyourbrainalive.com/

Multiple Intelligences is an Inclusive Pedagogy

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I remember when I was learning basic math skills in a primary school, some of my class mates were struggling with the 3+3 task written on the blackboard, until our teacher gave them by three pieces of papers into each hand, saying that it is money, as a result they could feel it and immediately delivered the right answer.  Now being a master student in the field of education, I admired my teacher even more because I understand that she knew all the features of her students and adapted her tasks according to their needs. I am not sure if my teacher was aware about the Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligence, which I am going to discuss in this post, but the approach she used to teach was allied to it.

“Multiple Intelligences Theory” (MI) was developed in 1983 by Harward psychologist Howard Gardner, who was seeking to extent the perception of human potential. However, it received recognition just in recent twenty years (Stanford, 2003; Menevis and Ozad, 2014).  Gardner defined 8 areas of intelligence which are:

  • Linguistic refers to ability with the use of language, sensitive to the order and
    meaning of words;
  • Logical/mathematical, good with abstract patterns and relationships, problem
    solving;
  • Musical, notice non-verbal sounds in the environment, sensitive to pitch, melody,
    rhythm and tone;
  • Visual/spatial, has strong sense of visual world, remembers best by visualizing;
  • Bodily/kinesthetic, good hand-eye coordination, good with tools;
  • Interpersonal, understands and relates well to other people (Barrington, 2004; Stanford, 2003).

According to Stanford (2003) each person possesses all of these intelligences in different ways. Some people are developed in all areas, while others can be weak in most of the intelligences, having only one ability highly developed (Stanford, 2003).

MI theory became a breakthrough not only in the field of psychology, but also found an application in education. The principals of this theory serve as a basis for curriculum, pedagogy and assessment at schools and other educational institutions around the world; tons of books dedicated to the relevance of MI theory to education. “Educators have seen the value of Gardner’s MI theory and continue to use it to help students learn more effectively” (Adcock, 2014, pp. 51). Many researchers have agreed that teachers, knowing the dominant intelligence of their students, are able to cater the diverse needs of the class through combination of different teaching techniques, thus, promoting an inclusive pedagogy (Adcock, 2014; Barrington, 2004, Murray and Moore, 2012; Stanford, 2003).

Adcock (2014) revealed that most of the teachers who approached MI in their classroom found it helpful in terms of addressing the diverse needs of all children and giving the variety of instructional methods (Adcock, 2014). Considering the fact that children with special needs are tend to have deficits in linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligences, the application of MI theory, which helps to identify strengths of these children, is valuable for inclusive education (Stanford, 2003). ‘Taking “advantage of the diversity” is fundamental to an inclusive philosophy, as the advantage lies not in having to deal with differences of students but in encouraging all students to challenge themselves to the best of their ability” (Murray and Moore, 2012, pp. 44).  Teaching and learning with MI approach considered as an inclusive pedagogy because it works with a wide spectrum of intelligences, instead of focusing on two of them. This allows avoiding exclusion in classroom and engaging all students in learning process by using their strengths (Barrington, 2004).

To sum up, MI promotes inclusive education basing on the idea that every individual has strengths in different areas, thus enabling teachers to differentiate the content in accordance to these eight intelligences.

Here are my questions: Have you ever approached or experienced MI (being a student) in your classroom?  How do you think MI can be approached in Kazakhstani schools?

Adcock, P. (2014). The longevity of multiple intelligence theory in education. Impact of Educational Reforms, pp. 50-57.

Barrington, E. (2004). Teaching to student diversity in higher education: How multiple intelligence theory can help. Teaching in Higher Education, 9(4), pp. 421-434.

Murray, S. and Moore, K. (2012). Inclusion through multiple intelligences. Journal of Student Engagement: Education matters, 2 (1), 42–48.

Menevis, I. and Ozad, B. (2014) Do age and gender influence multiple intelligences? Social Behavior and Personality, 42, pp. 9-20.

Stanford, P. (2003). Multiple intelligences for every classroom. Intervention in School and Clinic, 39(2), pp. 80-85.

Ibrahim Altynsarin’s effort on development of secondary education in Kazakhstan

Development of the system of education has been differing century-by-century but keeping its validity and power. Especially, schools are determined as initial engines to drive educational movement in a country. Consequently, there are people who act better changes on the system of schooling and sacrifice their life for the sake of their nation’s bright future. One of such representative and educator from Kazakh society of the late of 19th century was Ibrahim (Ybyrai) Altynsarin. He was born in 1841 in the Araqaraghai region of Torghai oblast (now Kostanay Province) and died only at the age of 48 in 1889 (Ibrahim Altynsarin, 2015). Ibrahim truly knew that there were very wise, talented, ingenious, capable and enthusiastic children among Kazakh and was so passionate to teach and make effort on educational development in Kazakh auls (villages).

In his letter to Ilminskiy (at that time Ilminskiy was the head of Boundary Commission) he wrote:

You were right, that the Kazakh people are wise, intelligent, capable, but uneducated. Moreover, the government officials do not try to give education to the people. Instead of erecting the schools in fortresses, it seems better for them to paint the roof or whitewash a white wall“(Today marks the 150th anniversary, 2015), blaming that the authorities do not even try to educate people appropriately. Finally, in 1860 the regional board gave a permission to him to open a primary school for the Kazakh children in Turgay and appointed him as a teacher of that school. It was no easy to open a school in an outlandish town: there was no money and no support from the local authorities. However, the difficulties did not stop Altynsarin.

Inspired by educational ideas, he traveled to the villages and explained the importance of secular public education. He gathered the means from the Kazakh people and then began to build a school, which was built on January 8, 1964 (Today marks the 150th anniversary, 2015). After several months on March 16, he stated the following: «I feel myself as if I am a hungry “wolf” who wants to educate Kazakh youth; and the most interesting and satisfied situation is that these children have already learned reading and writing skills only in about three months. I hope, in 4years they will be very educated portion of the society and aligned with this I am trying to teach them uprightness and moral so that they will not turn as the corrupt people” (Today marks the 150th anniversary, 2015). In 1888 there was established another first boarding school for girls in Turgai. Girls had a chance to get general education and some types of hand making like sewing, took place as well in that school. Further, such boarding schools were opened in other cities Kostanay and Aktobe.

In addition to all above, Altynsarin was first Kazakh who worked out the first Kazakh grammar book, translated of a large number of textbooks and reference works and was first initiator of Kazakh-Russian newspaper. The Imperial Russian government honored him with numerous awards, including the title “statski sovetnik” (State Councilor) (Ibrahim Altynsarin, 2015).

A number of Kazakh educational institutions such as Kazakh Academy of Education, Arkalyk State Pedagogical Institute and streets, schools in almost all cities in Kazakhstan and academic awards are named after Altynsarin. Also there is an Altynsarin museum in Kostanay. These all result reveal Ibrakhim Altynsarin’s deep and irreplaceable effort on educational movement in the country. This person was the initiator who sacrificed his entire life for the sake of educating his nation and did better changes for that.

References:

Ibrahim Altynsarin (2015). E-history. Retrieved 22.02.2015 from <http://e-history.kz/en/biography/view/19>

Today marks the 150th anniversary of the opening of the first Kazakh school (2014). E-history. Retrieved 22.02.2015 from <http://e-history.kz/en/publications/view/431>

Soft power in education

Who of us has not dreamt to study at top universities abroad, living there for the study period, experience other cultures and get quality education at last? All of this is not impossible today. There are a lot of scholarship programs, state funded and not, available around the globe. Academic mobility is flourishing having students move back and forth. What is the other side of the medal?

In 2002 Oxford University was pressured by “big daddies” of British government to enroll Caddafi’s (former Libyan leader) son as a PhD student (Matthews, 2012). However, it was in vain. Oxford resisted claiming that the Colonel’s offspring was not academically eligible. Seems like someone wanted to get access to Libyan mineral resources and monetary rewards.

This case shows how education, higher education in particular, is closely tied to politics. It is considered a powerful tool of influence along with business and culture. Education is used by countries as a soft power. First “soft power” was coined by Joseph Nye, dean of school of government at Harvard University, which means the policy of creating a positive image of a country “to obtain the outcomes it wants in the world politics because other countries… want to follow it” (Nye, 2005, p.12).

hamptonroads.com
http://www.hamptonroads.com

It is the alternative to hard power, which implies force and war. The role of soft power in education is to educate international students cultivating values and views of a host country in them. Countries- “giants” seek for the ways of getting more resources, trust and support of other less powerful countries. This phenomenon is apparent in economically developed countries such as USA, UK, Canada, China, Germany, France, Japan and some others which are attracting more and more overseas students. These countries are the giants in terms of share of international students studying there (UNESCO, 2014). The students create strong communities, networks of like-minders who in future result in strong lobbying forces of external agents in their own countries. According to unofficial data the prime-minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan, who studied in China, performs balanced policy with our eastern neighbor. This probably explains why he is so favored by Chinese government.

Apparently, soft power is a powerful tool to exercise influence in global politics. It can bring “dividends in terms of economic and geo-political benefits” (Knight, 2014). The question is – which side?

References:

Knight, J. (2014, January 31). The limits of soft power in higher education. University World News. Retrieved from: http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20140129134636725

Matthews, D. (2012, February 2). Sway: WikiLeaks, universities and ‘soft power’. THE. Retrieved from: http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/features/sway-wikileaks-universities-and-soft-power/418884.article

Nye, J. (2005). Soft power and higher education. Harvard University. Retrieved from http://www.educause.edu/library/resources/soft-power-and-higher-education

UNESCO (2014). Global flow of tertiary-level students. http://www.uis.unesco.org/Education/Pages/international-student-flow-viz.aspx