Lifelong learning in Kazakhstan: considering international practices on adult learning

The importance of adult learning is the significant part of a lifelong education reform in Kazakhstan. Lifelong learning is one of the newly developing reforms, which is stated in the State Program of Education Development(SPED) 2011-2020. However, the history of including this reform in official policy documents starts from the early 1990’s, when Kazakhstan attended and joined the World Conference of Dakar Declaration on Education for All. The main objective of attending this conference was to confirm our country’s willingness to compete in a global context of new opportunities and changes. The President of Kazakhstan(2012) mentioned that reasons such as the “decline in employment among an adult population, lower level of proficiency and lack of required skills, increase in unemployment” led to the creation of lifelong education. According to the expected results of SPED 2011-2020 on lifelong learning, workplaces will need to be “involved in co-financing of educational programs and development of flexible schemes allowing each employee joining lifelong education”.  Considering adult learning as an economic benefit, what can Kazakhstan gain from an international experience in implementing it successfully?

International experience 1 (for all job spheres)

The financing system of Danish policy on lifelong learning, specifically focused on adult training and learning, has gone through positive changes having so-called “per capita grants” allocated for training (as cited in Gvaramadze, 2010). The Danish Ministry of Education created the solution of eliminating the extra bill in tax burdens which were spent on employee training (2004). Another criterion of promoting adult training as the part of lifelong learning is the domain of competence development system. According to Brems (as cited in Gvaramadze, 2010), it was established “to provide adults with formal recognition of acquired knowledge and qualifications in different institutional settings” which meant that it could be done in their job environment or training programs. The Danish Ministry of Education created this system to check an individual’s competency over their knowledge; before entering the training program each individual would have a unique personal training plan. It helped them to identify specific job’s correlation with the received competence levels of acquired skills.

International experience 2 (educational area)

Australian context is slightly different from the Danish and Kazakhstani policy system on adult learning. The priority in developing the concept of lifelong learning is given to the establishment of a Review Committee, which “will address the board issues of attracting, training and retraining teachers” (Chapman, Gaff, Toomey & Aspin, 2005). The Government of Australia reviewed needed teaching skills in order to elaborate and foster the system of lifelong learning. The second important aspect is from the “Government School Plan 1998-2000” – “The Teaching Service Certified Agreement 2000-2003” created the “Professional Pathways Program”. This program focuses on teachers’ professional development, promotes continuous learning. Two dimensions this document briefly focuses on are the “professional pathway” and “pathways to improvement” (Chapman et al., 2005). All teachers develop their personal pathway to improvement in the form of plan, which helps them to apply to notion and concept of continuous learning and self-reflection. Another system used in of Australian education is the self-responsibility of teachers for their lifelong learning. Teachers have one full day to work on their professional development through independent work.

Overall,  several recommendations can be given to be applied in Kazakhstani context. The idea of creating a common Review Committee on lifelong learning would be a positive thing to include in an Employment 2020 Roadmap of Kazakhstan. Because this Committee’s focus would be on employees’ needed skills which might be selected from all regions of Kazakhstan and analyzed based on a current labor market. The government needs to consider that creating new jobs is not enough. The reason of massive unemployment is impacted by the lack of current lifelong learning, more specifically in the image of training. The Employment Roadmap 2020 mentioned about training and retraining of individuals in a general form. However what about the specific actions which need to be taken under this system? Forming a plan of individual training courses based on competency level might serve as an additional solution to a problem. The concept of Education for All is based on the differentiation strategy as well. Each individual should be treated on an equal basis. All of us are different. The individual plan would help to identify the level of competency need to be acquired by employees for the further action plan.

Chapman, J., Gaff, J., Toomey, R., & Aspin, D. (2005). Policy on lifelong learning in Australia. International Journal of Lifelong Education. 24:2, 99-122. DOI: 10.1080/02601370500056227

Gvaramadze, I.  (2010).  Low‐skilled workers and adult vocational skills‐upgrading strategies in Denmark and South Korea. Journal of Vocational Education & Training. 62:1, 51-61. DOI: 10.1080/13636821003605395




One thought on “Lifelong learning in Kazakhstan: considering international practices on adult learning

  1. Thanks, Maira. (5/5) Great topic. Great links. Great development, explanatory writing, and meaningful analysis. Great job.


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