Many professional development programs were established aimed to improve the professional competence of teachers in order to develop their knowledge, skills which are in line with the requirements of the educational policies. Traditionally, teacher development is viewed as special and short-term events, including workshops, presentations, or courses that teachers follow during their career to update their professional competence (Birman et al., 2000). The successful fulfillment of the language-in-education policy directly depends on the competence of teachers. Professional competence of teachers plays an important role in their learning process and teaching practices.  All over the world, the value of education to the societal and individual success has gradually emerged as new economy which is based on knowledge. As a consequence, most countries have been engaged in intensive reforms of their education systems, and many have focused especially on improving teacher education, recognizing that preparing accomplished teachers who can effectively teach a wide array of learners to high standards is essential to economic and political survival.  For this reason, the Republic of Kazakhstan focuses on the development of the professional development programs of teachers as it is one of the key elements in the implementation of the trilingual policy.

Trilingual education is a key direction of the education system development in Kazakhstan. Based on the State program for the Development of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan for 2016-2019, the training is implemented within the framework of trilingual education and its goal is to train professionals to teach subjects in schools in English from September 1, 2019 in grades 10-11 (MoES, 2016). Based on the language-in-education policy a number of qualified subject teachers should be increased. There is a need of teachers who are able to teach in English their subject. In case of Kazakhstan it is not easy as there is a lack of teachers who are proficient in English.  The lack of qualified subject teachers who can teach in English because STEM teachers don’t have knowledge of English and English teachers don’t have subject knowledge (as cited in Mehisto, Kambatyrova & Nurseitova, 2014).

For this reason, the government of Kazakhstan takes steps towards the development of the professional teachers training programs. Teachers of mainstream schools are trained by several professional development programs. In particular, subject teachers are being trained at the National Center for Professional Development “Orleu”, at the Centre of Excellence at Nazarbayev University, NIS schools. The focus of the research study will be the Centre of Excellence at Nazarbayev University which has trained 4068 secondary STEM teachers in 2017. The Education Excellence Center runs the PDP for secondary STEM teachers who work at secondary schools. This program is set under the trilingual policy implementation which aim is to improve STEM teachers’ competence of English.

In conclusion, I would like to say that it is important to focus on the PDPs for teachers as it helps to improve teachers’ knowledge skills. The nation building of each country is in the hands of educators. No matter how excellent is the infrastructure, curriculum, teachers are the ones who make the difference in education.

P.S. I was inspired to write this blog as the topic of my research study is “The effectiveness of PDP: STEM teachers’ views”.  If you have any comments, please feel free to write your comments….


Birman, B.F., Desimone, L., Porter, A.C. & Garet, M.S. (2000). Designing professional development that works. Educational Leadership, May 2000, 28- 33.

MoES (Ministry of education and science in Republic of Kazakhstan). (2016). The State Programme for Development of Education and Science in the Republic of Kazakhstan for 2016–2019. Retrieved from:

Mehisto, P., Kambatyrova, A. & Nurseitova, Kh. (2014). Three in one? Trilingualism in policy and educational practice. In D. Bridges (Ed.), Educational reform and internationalization: the case of school reform in Kazakhstan. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


  1. Thank you, Aigerim, for your blog post

    I presume that teachers are main stakeholders who play an important role in the implementation process, thus, the professional development programs are a crucial part of this implementation process. However, any change which takes place in the education system is not easily integrated. So, since your thesis is connected with PDP programs what is your hypothesis about the result of the research?


  2. Dear Aigerim thank you for explicating how PDP is held today. It is interesting to know that this program is viewed as the major approach which is in charge of solving the issue of a lack of STEM teachers able to teach in English. However, here, in my opinion, we don’t speak about the lack but almost the absence of science teachers having competence in English. I can say this relying on my experience of studying at, first, mainstream school and, then university in Kazakhstan. The teacher of science who knows and can teach in English is an exception not taking into consideration very few specialized schools (NIS, KTL, international schools) and leading universities (NU, KIMEP, KBTU). So maybe it is better to state that PDP has quite ambitious goal not “to improve STEM teachers’ competence of English” as you wrote but to build these language competencies, which is quite hard task. So reasonable questions elevate as “What are the initial levels of English of teachers who attend PDP?”, “What level of English is viewed as appropriate to be able to teach in it?” and “What is duration of this program and is it enough?” Thank you in advance.


  3. Thank you @aigerimkazhigaliyeva for providing information on PDP being implemented in Kazakhstan. I agree with Aidana that most of STEM teachers at ordinary schools in Kazakhstan do not have any proficiency in English, and this makes me very sceptical about the success of these programs. It seems to me that making STEM teachers teach their subjects in a new language after a short period of training might have a detrimental effect on the content knowledge that they deliver since it is almost impossible to master a language in several months. Thus, I found your research topic very relevant and interesting, and I am looking forward to reading about the teachers’ perspectives on the effectiveness of PDP


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