Inclusive Education in Kazakhstan: threat and opportunity

     Inclusive education is a broad concept for an inclusion of ALL children in one classroom. ‘ALL’ refers to children with (1) disabilities (both mental and physical), (2) gifted, (3) inept, (4) socially vulnerable, (5) immigrants, (6) special needs, (7) different religion, (8) different race or ethnicity, (9) and those who belong to other minority or minoritized groups. Inclusive education strives for eradicating discrimination and preconceptions toward particular groups in the society (Centre for Studies and Inclusive Education (CSIE), 1997). Kazakhstan is one of many countries which are trying to implement a policy of inclusive education. Inclusive education may impose a great deal of danger to an unprepared country, for that reason it is difficult to say whether it is time for the country to spread inclusive education throughout Kazakhstan.

     The Kazakhstani government is doing too many things simultaneously. Trilingual policy, new standards of learning (as in NU or NIS) and even inclusive education. Of course, they may complement each other if done properly and at the proper time. Here are the possible threats that inclusive education imposes on children and society:

  • A child thrown into a classroom with children different from him could be discriminated;
  • Physical and mental violence might take place;
  • A child could become an outcast;
  • Some children might lose motivation to study when in one class with gifted ones;
  • Children who does not know the language of instruction well could have troubles with performance etc.

      These threats are only one side of the coin as the things could take a totally different direction. Children may become aware of children with special needs and may learn to accept them the way they are. The latter could be able to be integrated into a society, build confidence and lead a social life. To make this happen, the following must be done:

  • Whole new curricula must not only be created but concern ALL children with different needs (not only special ones);
  • Teachers must be specially trained, not for 2 weeks, but for years;
  • Inclusive education has to start from kindergarten where teachers will teach children with special needs to become a part of the society and other children to accept them;
  • A special campaign of making society aware of inclusion should start its work;
  • Government shall work with parents to make them understand how to take care of children with special needs and integrate them into the society and much more.

       At the end of the day, inclusive education remains to be a very sensitive and risky. There is little to no empirical research on the situation of inclusive education in Kazakhstan. For that reason, it seems to be done abruptly. Kazakhstan needs time to prepare a program of overcoming the threats of inclusive education.

I would like to know if any of you have come across any empirical research on inclusive education in Kazakhstan? If you did, please let me know.

 

Reference

Centre for Studies on Inclusive Education (CSIE). (1997). Inclusive education a framework for change. National and international perspectives. Bristol, UK: CSIE

Photo credit: https://www.unicef.org/bih/media_18076.html

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3 thoughts on “Inclusive Education in Kazakhstan: threat and opportunity

  1. Dear farihandro, thanks for your post! I agree that the issue of inclusive education still remains one of the most contested topics in public education. But I wonder whether you think that inclusive education should be implemented at all costs. Because there are concerns that inclusive education may lead to the stereotype that students with special needs are difficult to deal with and disruptive most of the times, instead of teaching students to be tolerant towards others. Also, some educators believe that students with disabilties are better put in special care centers. Because If put in mainstream schools,they require more attention than their peers, and thus, impact the learning in a negative way, depriving their classmates of a proper education. Some even claim that the safety of other children in class can be jeopardized. This sounds totally ridiculous to me. However, I have never experienced inclusive education myself, that is why I tend to belive to people who have already gone through this. I am 100% for inclusion, but I would really like to know if there is any evidence on the positive effects of these inclusive practices on the students with special needs.

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  2. Well done, Fariza (5/5). Be sure to talk with Rita, Tsediso, or Michelle about inclusive reforms and studies about Kazakhstan.

    Your post is a great overview of the ways KZ is (or isn’t) implementing this initiative that has spread worldwide in recent decades. It is clearly written and well-developed.

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  3. Dear Fariza,
    Thank you for this post, it is interesting to think about inclusive education from various perspectives and to consider different stances on the matter at the same time. I want to say that the recent lecture about Inclusive Education by a former NUGSE student Ziyat, a current NUGSE student Kamila and Maulen about their efforts and contribution to the promotion of IE in NU, and elsewhere was eye-opening in a lot of ways. They talked about the importance of IE in the role of creating an inclusive and cohesive society, implicit biases, how charity is not a sustainable form of help in the efforts towards inclusion and even mentioned various ways in which each student can contribute to this great cause.

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