12-year education reform: Are we ready?

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Kazakhstan is entering a new phase of the system of education. Growing market economy demands a new quality of education since it is a well-known fact that in all civilized countries education has been and remains the most prioritized area and the core indicator of development. The high quality of educational system should help Kazakhstan to respond to the social and economic challenges faced by the country, supply national security and strengthen institutions of the state (Smailova & Uvalieva, 2013). The high-efficiency educational system is one of the key factors that ensures sustained economic growth and Kazakhstani society.

According to the Concept of 12-year secondary education in the Republic of Kazakhstan (2010), there are factors that still negatively impact on the development of the educational system of Kazakhstan. They are: the lack of qualified subject and language instructors; the lack of the diagnostic targeting in secondary education, the maintenance of an obsolete assessment system which is aimed only at the evaluation of knowledge; the main focus is on getting formal results, but not on the personality development; informational overload of the educational content which leads to the decrease of learning motivation and health deterioration of students. Considering these problems and negative factors, there was made a decision to embed a new reform of shifting from 11-year schooling to 12-year education. In 2003-2004 academic years 51 schools in Kazakhstan were involved in the experiment on the shift to 12-year education, in 2004-2005 years the experiment included 104 schools, and at the end of the 2014-2015 academic year, 373 students studied in the 12th grade (Zhilbayev, 2015).

The experiment generally had a positive impact on the educational process. There was a significant increase in students’ motivation; interests of parents in the educational process also have risen noticeably; creativity of teachers has activated (Zhilbayev, 2015).

However, despite the fact that the reform of the 12-year education is very important and attractive at the same time in terms of its goals and objectives, the rationales for implementing the reform are reasonable enough, there are several reasons in my opinion that make implementation of this reform quite difficult. The major reason is the lack of finance at the moment in the republic. Firstly, it occurs because of the economic crisis that we have experienced recently and, probably, are still experiencing in the State. Secondly, the preparation to the international exhibition EXPO-2017, which in fact creates this difficult financial situation in the country.  In such circumstances, we can, of course, talk about a new educational reform, but why to implement it now? After all, a large amount of finance is needed, firstly, to build a new school for six-year-old children. Secondly, a new educational reform requires new textbooks, updated methodology and curriculum. And the third and most important, training of qualified teachers, who are the main driving force of the reform, requires a huge amount of money. Hence, two options are left: the first is to gradually implement this reform, as the government has already decided to do and struggle with the challenges and problems, the second is to postpone the reform until the times when the economy of the country is stabilized and sufficient financing is ensured.

And what do you think about this issue?

References

Smailova, S.S., & Uvaliyeva, I.M. (2013). The problems of quality assurance of education in modern Kazakhstan. World education, 3, 50-52.

The Concept of 12-year Secondary Education in the Republic of Kazakhstan. (2010). National Academy of Education named after I. Altynsarin.

Zhilbayev, Z.O. (2015). The Report on the experiment on the transition to 12-year education.  12-Year Education, 4, 6-54.

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