We are creative, innovative and effective, aren’t we?

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Photo credits: http://xn--80ab2boc1d.kz/home

Educational problems are too exceptional and important to solve them in the usual way; they require innovations and new approaches. The problem: not all children in Kazakhstan can get the preschool education due to various reasons. The solution: in order to cover 100% of children with it by 2020 (MoES, 2016), starting from January 2017, the platform отбасы.kz is organized for parents, whose 1-6-year-old children cannot get a preschool education (Turkestanova, 2016). Отбасы.kz is a web-portal with the most useful information for parents in a format of the online course.

I have done my own analysis of this web-portal as if I were a parent who needed support in raising my child and want to share the results. 

  1. Languages

The first to be explored by a linguist are the language options of the platform. Even though on the main page there are symbols of three languages available, some articles are posted only in Kazakh, some only in Russian. As for English, only the titles of sections can be found in this language. One surprising thing that I have noticed while looking through the “experts – tests” section is a small test to evaluate children’s attentiveness where they should find grammar and semantic mistakes. Instructions are in Russian and the text for reading is in Russian as well. However, if you choose the Kazakh version of the site you will see the instructions in Kazakh with THE SAME text in Russian. I am not sure parents will be able to assess the attentiveness of their Kazakh speaking children with this test… (although English speaking children are even less fortunate; they have to read instructions in Russian).

  1. Structure of the course

“REMOTE COURSES PARENTS” is proudly written on the web page. However, there is no clear structure of topics and articles. There is a division on three age groups of children but the range of materials is too narrow to be called “a course” (mostly random articles from the internet) and none of them is available for downloading and printing. As a result, even if I have found the article of my interest there, I can only read it in the small window of the site and have to search for it every time I switch on my computer.

  1. Professional advice

I was impressed by the “experts-professional advice” section as I expected the contact information of different specialists and organizations where I could get necessary information and support in parenting. However, it turned out to be the second part of the “library” with some articles and PowerPoint presentations of these specialists. The materials were probably written for professional journals because their titles were so filled with terminology that I did not even dare to open one.

  1.  Content

The content itself is either too difficult for a non-professional educator or presented in plain text, with no pictures, keywords or subtitles. I was constantly struggling with myself to close the window and find more engaging, comprehensible and just better-looking source somewhere else on the Internet.

  1. Legal support

The section “Regulatory and legal base” contained some normative documents and educational standards which could be very useful for parents who have some legal issues regarding documentation and children’s registration. However, there is no “search” option. So it is quite complicated to find the necessary file and I personally prefer to use browser search then.

  1. Feedback and interaction

Finally, I decided to try to register and create my own profile, because it was claimed that I could get weekly newsletters from the best specialists in the educational field and contribute with my own comments and suggestions. However, after clicking “sign in”  nothing has happened… I did not even receive a notification letter with warm congratulations on my registration and first professional advice. The most obscure thing is that there is no contact information (e-mail address, telephone number or anything) that I could use to address my questions and suggestions. I suppose there are only two alternatives left: to write to the Ministry of Education directly (which I do not plan to do at this stage) or just to leave my opinion to myself.

In conclusion, I would say that the initiative to provide parents with an informative resource for parents of preschool children is a foresight gesture of the Ministry of Education. However, such factors as an unsightly interface, lack of particular structure of the reading material, major gaps in languages distribution, the total absence of contact information make these “courses” not effective and not engaging for users. Surely, a substantial amount of budget was spent on the creation of this platform but the final product is of low quality and unlikely to attract many readers or help any parent in solving educational dilemmas. Of course, all the shortcomings can and should be improved in order to attract the audience and inspire people to interact. The more people know and share their ideas the more creative and effective this page and courses can become.

References

MoES (Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan). (2016, March 1). State program of education and science development in the Republic of Kazakhstan for 2016-2019. Retrieved from http://online.zakon.kz/Document/?doc_id=32372771#pos=0;0

Turkestanova, L. (2016, March 29). Um razvivat’ chem ran’she, tem luchshe [The sooner mind to be developed the better]. Retrieved February 6, 2017 from http://bilimdinews.kz/index.php/kursy-treningi/item/1634-um-razvivat-chem-ranshe-tem-luchshe

 

 

 

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6 thoughts on “We are creative, innovative and effective, aren’t we?

  1. Dear mariaminu, thanks for sharing your analysis of the отбасы.kz site. Having read your blog I visited that web page and, like you, was not satisfied with the quality of it, especially for Kazakh and Russian languages. I will also add that after investing a certain amount of money the Ministry of Education should advertise via media that there is a such platform where they can obtain useful information. If there is a larger audience there will be more individuals like you who will give useful feedback to the site. I hope that all these will lead to improvements of that shortcomings that need correction in отбасы.kz!

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    1. I agree with you, yasawi859, that there is the lack of advertisement of this platform. In this way, this blog post is my modest contribution to its promotion. I hope that someone who is able to make some changes will make them before this educational portal appears in the headlines of newspapers where it is likely to get extremely sharp criticism from the public.

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  2. Insightful and original post, Mariya. (5/5) I instantly noticed and enjoyed your use of sentence variety in your opening paragraph. Your systematic analysis of the web portal is not only interesting to read, but an invaluable skill for a future educational leader.

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  3. Dear @mariaminu,

    Thank you for sharing this useful info.
    You are bringing up an issue which is, unfortunately, so common in our education system. It is the inability of those in charge to implement fabulous projects fully, to do it qualitatively.
    I’ve been pondeting about the reasons behind this problem and two options came to my mind. Firstly, maybe everyone is so excited in the beginning so they think they can “move mountains”, however, they fail to envisage the potential obstacles. Secondly, people are not enthusiastic at all and they simply fulfill another urgent task from their boss. As a result, we are witnessing this kind of raw products.
    I believe we need get into the habit of building well-thought and solid plans before starting any projects.

    What do you think?

    Kind regards,

    Lenera.

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    1. Dear Lenera,

      I am glad to see that my blog post was so thought-provoking for you; it means I am raising the issue that is of our concern. As for the reasons of such a low quality of the platform, I can assume that it is because of the short period of its running. According to Turkestanova (2016), the platform was launched at the beginning of 2017. That is why I believe that one month is not enough to do everything to perfection and consider every detail (even though some shortcomings can hardly be called “details”). Anyway, the initiative is quite promising and with some improvements (that will, of course, take some time) has the potential to become the extremely useful source of information on parenting.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I enjoyed reading your post and even tried to access and read some useful articles published on this platform. However, I came to the decision that the platform itself is not helpful as it just contains with general information. Every parent, if interested, can find the source of information about nurturing children through the Internet. I see its usefulness in posting contemporary information in KZ context and announcements about free training courses for parents. It will be more beneficial to have an online consultant specialists in different fields with planned schedule. Probably, it this way it will be necessary to avoid challenges of parenting.

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