Monthly Archives: January 2016

Lifelong learning is an asset

life long learning

In his address president Nazarbayev (2011) has claimed “Lifelong learning should be the motto for all the people of Kazakhstan”, which refers a new direction and attitude toward obtaining education by all individuals throughout their lives. This principle implies every citizen should be educated and willing to acquire new professional skills, knowledge, disseminate their potentials in the labor market and improve their personal lives which in turns contribute to the country’s economy. So it is important to know what changes this policy brings and how it is being implemented in Kazakhstan.

Kazakhstan is attempting to create conditions for entire citizens to obtain education regardless the age or qualification. Government defined a new way of pursuing education by implementing principle “lifelong education” in the State Program of Education Development in the Republic of Kazakhstan for 2011-2020 (SPED 2011-2020) (MESRK, 2010). Because of being the main policy document in education, public and private educational organizations will act abiding by SPED 2011-2020. This program ensures lifelong learning by mandating to meet the needs of citizens to acquire new professional skills, qualification and knowledge through formal or informal education. Also, the services of educational organizations will be accredited and certified by independent non-governmental organizations. The all working places have to provide opportunities for employees to develop professionally by organizing workshops, trainings, internships and career developing courses as well. According to SPED 2011-2020, the new career advising centers will set up in the universities to drive the lifelong education and assist for the professional development of employees and students. For the workers of production sector learning is individual, and they can choose the form, term and pace of education themselves. Hence, the Kazakhstani citizens have a guarantee of beginning to get education from pre-school to post-retirement age interweaving whole range of formal and informal forms of education.

The essence of lifelong learning policy lies in elevating economic prosperity of country and increasing active citizenship through educating or re-educating unskilled, under qualified and unemployed citizens. According to Lyn Tett (2014), lifelong learning policy promotes active citizenship and employability of individuals. This is because individuals who have no an adequate, up to date knowledge and skills cannot easily engage in society and be succeeded to find a job in the labor market. However, the high level of competence of citizens helps them to supply the demand of labor market, function well in society and contribute to their personal well being. In addition, unemployed individuals can acquire new professional skills and set up their career again. Thus, lifelong learning policy focuses mainly on employability of citizens and contributes to country’s economy.

Lifelong learning is an asset for developing human and intellectual capital in Kazakhstan. Obviously, through lifelong policy it is possible to keep balance between demand and supply in the labor market. In his book, Educational reform and internatinalisation: The case of school reform in Kazakhstan, David Bridges claims that Kazakhstani citizens lack  practical skills and their qualification and knowledge do not work in the market. And those whose qualification is out dated or irrelevant in the market can acquire new practical skills and find a job or set up their own business. For instance, state creates the access to the technical and vocational education, which is free of charge. Also, it is never late for all citizens in Kazakhstan to learn state language–Kazakh, other languages such as Russian and English, also to acquire critical thinking skills and practical skills as professional development resources in terms of lifelong learning project.

Lifelong learning illuminates the way ahead as William Butler Yeats said : ‘Education is not filling a pail, but lighting a fire.





Bridges, D. (2014). Educational reform and internatinalisation. The case of school reform in Kazakhstan (pp.53-70). United kingdom, UK: Cambridge University press.

MESRK (2010). The State Program for Education Development in the Republic of Kazakhstan 2011-20:RK Presidential decree as of December 7, 2010, Number 1118. Retrieved from

Nazarbayev, N. (2011). Building the future together. Address of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan N.Nazarbayev to the nation. January 28, 2011. Retrieved from

Tett, L. (2014). Lifelong learning policy, paradoxes and practice. The adult learners Jouranl, 1, 15-28. Retrieved from




Measuring individual employability

Successful integration into the labour market to a great extent depends on the ability to give objective self-evaluation of who you are as a potential employee. In other words, the very first step for people looking for job opportunities would be to measure self-employability.  Seems to be quite easy to do, considering that you are supposed to make qualitative analysis of your own skills you are pretty well aware of.  Let’ s make a quick experiment:  take a piece of paper and write one by one all skills you have gained, certificates awarded and diplomas received by now. If you decided to try it, you would probably need at least one more extra piece of paper and would finally have a really impressive image of who you are and what you can do. Now  put the paper aside or crumple it up because, unfortunately, this list is not the best way of identifying the level of your employability, and I will give you a couple of reasons for it.

Living in a knowledge-driven economy with intellectual power as the main engine, we could assume that higher-skilled workers besides having a wider range of job opportunities also have a right to choose the best one out of them rather than waiting for being chosen. However, the truth is that the level of education is not correlated with the employment opportunities. With an increased number of Bachelor, Master and Ph.D. students the level of competitiveness among job candidates has grown to such an extent that an educational degree is now seen as a tic in your CV rather than a significant achievement. Thus, by getting a higher degree, in addition to valuable knowledge and skills, you get a formal ‘advantage’ to find a job compared with those with a lower level of education.

The skills you have diligently been developing over a long period of time within your studies or at a previous workplace are not necessarily the skills employers are looking for. To match employers’ expectations of you as a potential candidate for a job position is a challenging task to do. You may be a good example of how all three types of skills (foundational, transferrable and technical-vocational) are combined together, but get an unsatisfactory response at the end of the interview in the form of “unfortunately, you are not the person we need for this position”. You would probably ask “What kind of person do you need then?” Targeting at financial benefits or other forms of profits organizations predominantly look for ready-workers, those who are able to start accomplishing their professional duties right on the next day after being hired. Another reason that may surprise you most is that some of your valuable qualities such as creativity, ability to justify your point of view, influence others, readiness to make a change may be in a list of undesirable personal characteristics the presence of which would put in question managerial approaches practiced by the employer.

In addition to the mentioned above reasons of why evaluation of your own employability may be a relatively complicated process to go through, there are many other points to think of. Keeping the balance between your own interests and preferences of potential employers could possibly turn into a game in which you are unlikely to get a golden medal. I guess that by defining employability as “the relative chances of acquiring and maintaining different kinds of employment”(Brown, Hesketh & Williams, 2003, p. 111) researchers made a great effort to represent the whole complexity of the concept.

P.S. Regardless of any challenges you face always stay positive! You are the one who knows for sure who you really are.



Brown, P., Hesketh, A., & Williams, S. (2003). Employability in a knowledge-driven economy. Journal of education and work, 16(2), 107-126. Retrieved from

How to square a circle?

b739a78fc20c0742c4_d3m6b5bz3 Retrieved from

Recently I have listened to a fascinating talk given by Sir Ken Robinson on Changing Education Paradigms. In his speech, he states that there are two reasons for educational reforms that every country has initiated: economic, aimed to raise children competitive in new century economy and cultural.  Educators are trying to solve a problem of raising younger generations that embraced globalization process without losing their sense of cultural identities. He likened this problem to trying to square a circle. This idea has struck me because this is the challenge Kazakhstan is facing right now and that we are discussing in our courses here at NU GSE. The idea of global educational problem overwhelmed me and gave rise to many questions in my mind. Continue reading How to square a circle?

A piece of music a day makes you better anyway


The late 1990s. At the age of 6 I went to a pre-school. The same year I started to attend music school in Kostanay. That time I had various music subjects including the class of piano. The year was сrucial in my life since I should pass the final exams to be the 1st grader in a music school and to become a student of a primary school. Fortunately, I succeeded in killing two birds with one stone and was offered to study at the only school with music focus in the city where there was one class of beginning musicians. What could be better than that? – Nothing, and I will tell you why.

To begin with, I think that music is closely related to discipline. That time I did not even know the term “time-management” but was successful in following its rules as it happened. My whole day was full of activities and duties. In the morning I had to attend two to three music classes such as music literature, solfeggio, choir, etc. Then, in the afternoon, as a whole class we attended our compulsory subjects such as mathematics, languages, literature and so forth. Thus, a child who devotes his/her time, except the school subjects, to music, is able to plan a day, as a rule.

Second, when my parents decided to bind my childhood with music they made me a favor. If a child plays various music compositions he tries to reflect and repeat all the emotions passed by the author. As a consequence, children became attentive and respectful towards human feelings. Moreover, children learn how to be patient and hard-working. The reason is it is not nearly easy to memorize all the music notes in a moment and play a composition by heart.

Third, I will agree with those who say that music in education is not necessarily needed. But, I will add that the knowledge of music masterpieces, the ability to recognize them and value develop a person’s inner world as reading of classic literature does. In my opinion, if a person believes himself/herself to be a man of culture, he or she is ought to be aware of the world of music.

To conclude, the world does not rest on its laurels; human beliefs and values change. But still, I hope music will stay with us forever, making us to create, broadening our horizons. So, what could be better than that?

The secret of being the most successful and richest teacher in the world

Many dedicated teachers have chosen their career because of having a passion for this job. The feeling of being important and useful encourages educators from around the world to work harder and impart as much knowledge as possible. In Kazakhstan majority of school-leavers do not choose teaching profession because of low prestige and salary (Tendenciya, n.d.). However, we have very passionate teachers who try to do their best even though there are no appropriate conditions for that. Unfortunately, in the society their work is only criticized, and teachers lose their motivation. Consequently, we should boost the status of our instructors and show that they can even make a fortune teaching. It depends on a person. Here I am going to talk about the most successful, famous and richest teacher in the modern world.

I guess, everybody heard about Stephen Hawking, a British cosmologist, theoretical physicist, author and Director of Research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology (Stephen, 2016). Second “Einstein” showed outstanding results at Oxford and Cambridge Universities where he continued working as a professor. Stephen has made a significant discovery about gravitational singular theorems with Roger Penrose, and prediction about black holes radiation (Stephen, 2016). In spite of being unable to move, he still supervises PhD students and inspires young physicists around the world. Moreover, Hawking has published numerous science papers, books, children’s fictions, and has received many awards and honors. For instance, his renowned book “A Brief History of Time” was a best-seller on the list of London Sunday Times for more than four years where Stephen explained complex physical concepts acceptable to the public. Due to his books and publications, his worst is about $20 million (Capanna, 2014). Isn’t it impressive?

Stephen is an ordinary person who works hard and with heart, dedicating himself to the specific field and showing impressive results. There are so many followers of Hawking who make films, write books about him, and scrutinize his work. Stephen Hawking is a bright, successful and rich professor who could change the world! Why not to take him as an example? Why do people always blame and rely on the government without making any endeavors? So, DO NOT wait for someone to do something for you. Remember Nike’s moto “JUST DO IT!” Love your job, do it in best way, and you will not need any secrets to be successful and rich.




stephen-hawking-qote-1Tendenciya padeniya prestizha pedagogicheskoi professii sredi molodezhi. [The trend of falling the prestige of teaching profession among young people]. (n.d.). KGKP “Karasuskii selskohozyaistvennyi college” upravleniya obrazovaniya akimata Kostanaiskoi oblasty. Retrieved from

Stephen Hawking. (2016). Wikipedia. Retrieved from

Capanna, S. (2014). 5 Richest professors in the world. The richest. Retrieved from


Bilingualism trough the point of “linguistic imperialism”

I was born in 1982 and it was the last decades of the Soviet Union. Therefore, as a many others family I was growing in the bilingual environment: Kazakh and Russian. In that time, Russian language was the first language which was the official state language and was used in everywhere in the USSR. Our small town, in the North of country, had only one Kazakh school and approximately seven Russian. I went to Russian school because it was very prestigious. We were too small but we understood how it important to speak in Russian. Ramanathan mentioned that this process can be call as a “linguistic imperialism” (2013, p.292). I and my friends saw some discrimination around pupils who studied in Kazakh school because all competitions, all sport and music activities were provided by local government had only Russian instructions. Of course we had Kazakh language subject but the quality of teaching was so poor. For example, the book of this subject was soft cover and had only 100 pages without colors pictures and in comparison with Russian there were a big gap because here we used 2 or 3 books which divided on writing and reading.
However, I was growing in a family where parents, grandparents could speak Kazakh. They taught me and my sisters to speak the native language. But, unfortunately it was only everyday language which didn’t help us to be more confident in Kazakh environment. This process can be described as a “diglossia” when people use two languages for different purposes (de Jong, Ester J., 2011, p.27). We communicated in Russian at the school and around it and spoke our native language only at home.
The situation was changed after the USSR collapsing. My family moved to the South of Kazakhstan where people spoke mostly Kazakh. Kazakh became a state language and local government, organization started to implement new language policy. Nevertheless, Russian hadn’t loose their popularity. For example, all my new neighbors were from Kazakh schools but they tried to speak Russian with me. In that point of view, I think there was the situation of “circumstantial bilingualism” when people think that is necessary to know Russian for convenient living in society (de Jong, Ester J., 2011, p.29).
I would like to know Kazakh and Russian in an advance level but it was so difficult when you lean Russian as the first language. On the other hand, I have met people who tried to change their instruction language. They studied at primary Russian school, then secondary Kazakh school. Though, it was not useful because students didn’t show a good proficiency in both languages. “Semilingualism or imperfect learning” (de Jong, Ester J., 2011, p.52) was the common situation in the post-Soviet period. In my point of view, it better when you can learn more than one language, but if it difficult, you should study only one or give additional attention for first of it.
Nowadays, many Kazakh don’t know their native language and they became as marginals in the own country. Our society don’t respect them but in the same time it easy to find a job if you know Russian or English. Kazakh is not obligatorily yet. I hope in the future our country will have a real multilingual society where Kazakh will become the first language for everybody.

Ramanathan, V. (2013) Review of research in education. from
De Jong, Ester J. (2011) Foundations for Multilingualism in Education from Principles to Practice. Caslon Publishing.

Writing literature review or how I became a wizard


During the first two weeks at NUGSE I could definitely realize what my study was going to be: full of assignments, papers, readings and deadlines… So once I asked myself: why didn’t I go to Hogwarts? However, now I am sure that I am exactly there because I really feel like a wizard. The experience of the first semester helped me learn how to do impossible things, or, at least, impossible at the first sight. And I would like to share about the “magical powers” that made my process of writing litreview assignments much easier.

First of all, I would highlight such wonderful reading techniques as skimming and scanning. When the professors were light-heartedly telling us about the final papers and especially about the number of sources that we should analyze in order to write them, I was just in panic. I could not imagine how to read 20 sources for each paper, and the sad thing was that there were 3 of them. Nevertheless, it turned that my fear was vain when I started looking through the articles. It was enough just to skim or scan the text in order to grasp the main idea and find certain extract that worth reading thoroughly. Moreover, after skimming and scanning the articles I found it very helpful to group those ones that contain similar topics or concepts; it helped a lot when I proceeded to writing. The proverb “the devil is not so black as it is painted” suits well here as every difficult task is supposed to have an easy way to deal with it.

One more thing that I learnt is called “1 day – 1 writing”. To be precise, I revealed that it is difficult for me to cope with several different papers within one day since then I am not able to concentrate properly on any of them. Instead, I decided to devote one day only to one work, or to spend several days to finish one and then proceed to another. Sometimes the latter is not possible because several deadlines may be quite close to each other; therefore I, mostly, prefer alternating my works, i.e., the former way. In addition, when surfing the Internet my attention was grabbed by an interesting post where the author claims that to be Julius Caesar is impossible and even harmful. To put it differently, multi-tasking, or doing several works at once, has detrimental effect on the brain and diminishes the quality of works you do (Cooper, 2013). I completely agree with that as my own experience showed that work distribution helps to write more efficiently and keep a track of ideas.

Finally, I discovered some strange power of my brain which I call “the last moment effect”. Surely, it has been said more about the time management and its importance but what I found for myself is that my productivity significantly rises with the approaching of deadlines. I am not speaking about writing and submitting papers when there is only one or two hours left; I am not such brave kind of person. What I mean is that the rule “the less time you have the more intelligent your writing is” works excellent for me. On the other hand, some Internet writers express strong disagreement with the belief of working more productively under the pressure of ‘less time conditions’ asserting that it is not a good habit to keep. They believe if someone really benefits from having less time they either do it occasionally or usually work like that (Gonzalez, 2014). I do not support this point, by the way, due to the fact that less time do not mean pressure for me but mean more creative ideas.

To conclude, I have described here my “magical powers” that served me as tools for completing my final assignments. Nothing is impossible, and it relates to writing course papers as well; the only thing that you need is to figure out what style of work suits you best.

P.S. I hope you to share if you ever had the same findings as me, or, if not, could you tell about your personal work style?


Cooper, B. B. (2013, September 12). Ten surprising facts about how our brains work. Retrieved from

Gonzalez, R. (2014, November 4). Why do we work better under pressure? Retrieved from

“Either you run the day, or the day runs you”-Jim Rohn

Managing time is a key to successful academic life. There are so many advice in controlling time for students. Having an experience of a student for almost five years, I made a list of most useful tips for using time appropriately during the studies. I will tell you the most effective ones.

Firstly, it is organizing time in details. As an option, you can use making a list, which is the most popular way of planning a day, a week or even a month. If you are not experienced in list making, try to plan your next day only, beginning from morning till the end of your day. Later try to plan your week, and then, when you gain enough experience and get used to it, try to plan your month. Do not forget including one day in a week for your laziness, for not doing anything and having a rest physically and mentally. Also, highlight the most important things in your list in order to know the prioritized things. Here, as a tool in making a list, you can use special notebook-organizer, your mobile phone, your computer or your wall hanging many pieces of papers with pins.

The second important thing in time management is doing everything on time, because postponing plans for the next day is a big dilemma. Follow your to-do list and never put off doing something, and it will guarantee that you spend time efficiently. If you delay once, there is no surety that you will not do it again. So, do not procrastinate even once.

The last way of managing your time efficiently, that I would like to share with you is multitasking. There is an example by Michelle Williams, an American actress: “I like to do weird things in the shower, like drink my coffee, brush my teeth and drink a smoothie. It’s good time management”. However, multitasking is sometimes risky for individuals who are not practiced doing it; they can fail easily while trying to finish a number of compulsory deals at once, losing quality of their work. Now then, if it is something new for you, first get used to it!

To sum up, I would like to finish with the words of wisdom by Dale Carnegie:

“Plan your day to achieve your goals. Keep to your plan!”


Dale Carnegie Training. (2015). 100 Tips to reach your success. Retrieved from

Quotes Gram. (2015). Time management quotes. Retrieved from

Picture by Sholpan Ospanova. (2015). Retrieved from

How we greet people equals how we treat them



Have you ever thought about how you greet  people whom you don’t know? What are the greeting words that we use towards a stranger on a street, bus, store or any other public place?


Let’s stop for a moment and think! It’s common in Kazakhstan that strangers call each other as if they met an old friend or someone from the bosom of their family. When we see an elderly person in a bus, we usually say: “Ата, отырыңыз’ or ‘Садитесь, женщина’ if not worse yet. – ‘Grantdad / woman, take a seat’. When translated, it sounds weird, doesn’t it? Imagine a hypothetical situation when, say, a British man visiting Kazakhstan and used to be greeted as ‘Sir’ comes across people who greet him ‘Дедушка’ or worse yet ‘Дяденька’. How surprising would it be for the person to meet so many unexpected ‘kinsfolk’ throughout the country where he just arrived? 🙂


Both Kazakh and Russian share the feature of such excessive familiarity. The two languages of Kazakhstan have lost their traditional usage of greetings for historical reasons — major political and social perturbations of the past. There were revolutionary societal changes promoted by the Soviets at the beginning of the 20th century and the collapse of the Soviet Union at the end which somewhat brought the country back to its traditional social norms in many respects.


However, it did not and, I believe, could not happen in regards to greetings. The Soviet period completely eliminated the Russian pre-revolutionary equivalents of ‘Sir / Ma’am’ ‘Сударь / сударыня’. The Soviet ideologists succeeded in their endeavors to get rid of ‘Господин / госпожа’ associated with inequality and the ‘bourgeois’ way of life. ‘There are no masters / servants (господ / слуг) in the USSR’ – You would hear from Soviet people. The Soviets introduced a new word ‘Товарищ’ literally meaning comrade.


After the collapse of the Soviet Union the word ‘Товарищ’ has also been disavowed and even obtained an ironic connotation. Moreover, it may carry a somewhat opprobrious meaning. Nowadays, calling someone ‘Товарищ’, you are likely to get a response: ‘Я вам не товарищ’. Compare ‘Этот товарищ’ or ‘Вот товарищ с Востока танцует жестоко’ (the line from the song by Машина Времени, a famous rock-band). It sounds somewhat condescending and sarcastic, doesn’t it?


So at present, we don’t have neutral words to greet someone whom we have just met but have not been introduced to. One using the words ‘Сударь / сударыня’ or ‘Господин / госпожа’ would sound either too official or too old-fashioned and perhaps would look like a nerd remote from reality.


Having read all this, you may justifiably ask ‘And so what?’ ‘What’s a moral here?’


This is where it comes to education and social exclusion / inclusion. This is all about including and educating people. To create an inclusive society we should respect each person’s choice to be themselves and start from this basic level of greeting and treating a stranger on the street. By pointing out someone’s gender / age or naming someone as our kinsman like we do every day, we treat people as we want but not as they would have probably liked. First of all, by doing so we get unceremonious. Informal forms of communication might be appropriate when a person has shown his / her disposition to get closer but in the situation when you met someone for the first time in your life, it falls out of basic courtesy, in my book. Secondly, when calling someone ‘Женщина’ or ‘Апа’, we limit people’s choice of identity labeling them and putting into Procrustean confines of our own perception. There are people who do not look like their age. One (a female deeming herself a lass) can take offense being called ‘Бабушка’. And finally, a lack of neutral or respectful greetings may put people into awkward situations. Having low vision, I myself often don’t know how to greet someone and ask for something. ‘Извините’ (Excuse me) is not always appropriate.


  • ‘Брат, tell me please when we arrive’, – I often say to a taxi driver and afterwards think ‘What if there sits ‘Ақсақал’ or ‘девушка’? 🙂

I am not offering here ‘off-the-shelf’ solutions, but let us just think of our every day interactions and how to make them less restrictive. We need to have some forms of neutral and, I would say, inclusive greetings free of gender / age / social status biases which would not be labeling and which we could teach our children.


P.S. I don’t have children yet, please don’t judge and don’t label! 🙂


The earlier is the better

Everybody who starts learning a foreign Kidslanguage as an adult wishes they could have started doing it at his or her childhood.  We assume childhood, early ages in particular, is the time when a new language learning goes faste and with less stress. “The earlier, the better” assumption inspires many educational policy makers, administrators, teachers, and parents around the world to initiate the early English learning and teaching in a preschool level. Kazakhstan is not an exception. According to the state program of educational development for 2011-2020, our government plans to introduce English to preschoolers of 50 per cent of public educational settings at age 4-6 by 2020. What does the empirical research says about early English learning? Is it necessary to engage small kids to a second/foreign language (L2) in addition to Kazakh and Russian? The answers to these questions will help understand the issue of early English learning for the sake of improvement of the Kazakhstani educational system.

A number of scholars comprehensively examined “the younger, the better” assumption. In their studies, they all refer to the Critical Period Hypothesis, which was proposed by neurolinguists Penfield and Robert (1959) and Lenneberg (1967). Human language acquisition is hypothetically limited to the time when “the loss of plasticity is undergone by human brains by year nine of life” (Penfield and Roberts, 1959, as cited in Ortega, 2009, p. 12). In other words, there might be a critical period in human brain when any language is better to learn.

On the one hand, those researchers who are in favor of this hypothesis argue that the earlier you arrive to L2-majority country – for example, the USA for English learning – the more proficient you are likely to be. Huang’s (2013)  study demonstrates that the age of learning has an impact on speech production stronger than on grammar. These discussions might be commonsense, but they are not quite relevant for Kazakhstan. Our kids do not get an exposure to English as L2 outside school just like an immigrant child in the USA. On the other hand, the empirical study in the Basque Country, Spain revealed that without exposure to a target language outside school, late learners at the age of 8-15 gained better proficiency in L2  in schools than younger students at ages 4-5 (Cenoz, 2009).

The analysis of the reviewed studies reflects the controversial nature of the topic on the critical period in L2, especially English, learning.  Of course,early English learning initiative is important and beneficial, but more research is needed to be conducted in the context of the Kazakhstani educational system.


Cenoz, J. (2009). The age factor in bilingual and multilingual education. In Towards multilingual education: Basque educational research from an international perspective. (pp.189-212). Clevedon, GBR: Multilingual Matters.

Huang, B.H. (2013). The effects of age on second language grammar and speech production. Psycholinguist Res, 43, 397–420. doi: 10.1007/s10936-013-9261-7

Ortega, L. (2009). Understanding second language acquisition. New York: Routledge.

SPEDRK 2011-2020 retrieved from