All posts by aizhantik

Being a Global Citizen…

Nelson Mandela once said: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. And nowadays it seems that only education is the last hope for rescue to the generations which are wallowed in the dirt of wars and conflicts based on religious intolerance and racial hate. These kinds of tensions are growing in geometrical progression and evident all over the world; even the development of technologies, which might unite people, in the reality assist to spread hate and aggression. To challenge the status quo it is vital to ensure the provision of education based on the principles of basic human values. And exactly with this purpose, UNESCO has developed the conceptual framework of Global Citizenship Education (GCE). The main aim of GCE is to empower learners to be more tolerant, open-minded and respectful for people around them and build the society based on the principles of tolerance, solidarity, humanism and global interconnectedness and be exemplary Global Citizens (UNESCO, 2013).

But who is a Global Citizen and which competencies he/she should possess? To become a Global Citizen you shouldn’t change your passport or move away. Not being a legal status, global citizenship is more imply for a sense of belonging not only to the particular country or society, but to the whole global world. There are numerous competencies, such as an awareness of global issues and trends; respect of key universal human values; ability to critically and analytically analyze real life situations occurring worldwide; openness to the new experiences and ability to interact and collaborate with people of different backgrounds and origins.

Core ideas of the concept can be delivered through formal and informal systems. In most countries Global Citizenship Education is delivered through the formal systems, being integrated in an existing subject such as “Social Studies” or “Basics of Human Rights”, or being presented as an independent subject at school or university. However, it needs to be complemented by informal systems, which involves different actors.
First of all, family is very important component, because children who see the respect and acceptance at homes will reproduce this model of the behavior at schools or other public places; the same time, if they experience intolerance, interracial discord or cultural marginalization, they will reproduce this behavior as well.
Community is also important actor as it forms and directs communication scenarios among people. Community has the power of shaping the opinion and points of view that is why it’s necessary to involve community in the process of introduction and implementation of GCE.

And the last but not least informal systems are the World Wide Web and TV. It is been said a lot about the power of TV and Internet on the creation of attitude towards certain issues. Generally, people criticize world web and TV network of promoting hate and aggression. However, it is possible to use those informal systems for peaceful purposes and introduce the ideas and principles of global citizenship for million and billion people all over the world.

And if these actions bring changes, I am sure that the world will become a little bit better. And one day we will live in the world where people don’t hate each other because they’re different but will embrace diversity and respect each other. I believe that despite the fact that mass media and other constituent groups are striving to seed the hate and chaos in hearts and minds of people, they will be knowledgeable and open-minded enough to resist an untoward influence.

Because we are not Black or White, we are not Muslims or Christians, we are not Women or Men, but we are all Humans. And being humans puts on us the great responsibility; to act in accordance with moral norms and principles and be active contributors to more tolerant, secure, sustainable and inclusive world.

As future educational leaders, what do you think about the implementation of GCE in Kazakhstani context? How successful it might be and are there any unforeseen challenges?

References

UNESCO. (2013). Global Citizenship Education: An emerging perspective. Outcome document of the Technical

Consultation on Global Citizenship Education. Paris: UNESCO.

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Focus on Quality: External Assessment of Educational Achievements

The last year of undergraduate studies is usually the most important and stressful for all senior students. It is time for writing bachelor’s thesis and prepare for final state examinations. However, there is one more challenge left before successful completion of bachelor’s studies – External Assessment of Educational Achievements (EAEA).

EAEA is a test which was introduced in 2011 by the Ministry of Education and Science, in order to evaluate the level of knowledge possessed by students and quality of programs provided by higher education institutions (State Program on Education Development, 2010). EAEA is undertaken at the beginning of the final year of studies and has four main directions: education, law, social sciences and hard sciences. The assessment pursues several goals, the major ones are:  monitor the current situation of education quality, assess the effectiveness of educational processes and present the comparative analysis of educational services provided by different institutions (Committee for Control of Education and Science, 2012).

The previous initiative in the assessment of educational achievements – Intermediate State Control (ISC) had the same mission but with the differences in goals and implementation process. More specifically, the basic distinction between EAEA and ISC is the refusal of any sunctions such as accreditation commission or inspections for higher education institutions which presented not sufficient results during the assessment. Additionally, students who are not successfully performed at ISC could be expelled; the results of EAEA do not affect the students’ academic achievements or ability to graduate from the higher education institutions (Committee, 2012).

The data collected throughout the country is usually used by the Ministry of Education and Science in order to monitor the situation over the quality of educational services provided by accredited higher education institutions, and also develop recommendations and suggestions in order to improve and strengthen the programs. The results of EAEA can also be helpful in creating national ranking list of higher education institutions. Thus, the assessment has great impact on the quality improvement in higher education institutions and can provide necessary information for constituent groups in Kazakhstan.

The participation in the assessment is voluntary and institutions have a choice to select students who will take a part in test. Even being the recent initiative EAEA attracts higher education institutions and each year involves more and more universities to participate. The attractiveness of the assessment and general positive attitude towards improvements in the quality of higher education system can be understood as a proof that the right direction in reforms has been chosen.

However, there are some challenges in implementation and organization processes. First of all, being at the last year of undergraduate studies, students experience stress; being pressed by their final state examination, diploma work and compulsory internship. In this context, additional examination seems to increase the stress level and influence on their academic performance. Even though, results of EAEA don’t affect on students’ future academic indicators it is still important examination and students try really hard revising materials and preparing for the test.

Secondly, the attitude of the teachers, who believe that preparation for EAEA, is more important that studying the core courses. This situation occurred at my university when instructors had shifted the focus on the test preparation, rather than on classes of the program’s curriculum. To anticipate such situations, students and faculty should be well informed about the main purpose of assessment and do not be destructed from their primary studies and responsibilities.

Finally, as higher education institutions have an opportunity to select students for test, they provide the policy of selecting only talented and well-prepared students. It is undoubtedly increases the credibility of institution but do not provide the real situation with education services’ quality. Thus, the results cannot be fully trusted as the majority of institutions present their best students instead of providing maximum variation of students with different level of academic achievements. Hence, the monitoring body itself should select students for participation in order to ensure the variety of students’ profile.

Summing up, despite on some imperfections of the assessment, the results of EAEA provide more complete and comprehensive overview of the quality of the programs provided by higher educational institutions and undoubtedly, will facilitate the process of modification and enhancement of the competitiveness of higher education system in Kazakhstan.

References

Committee for Control of Education and Science. (2012). Instruction for External Assessment of Education Achievements Implementation. Retrieved from: http://control.edu.gov.kz/ru/content

Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan. (2010). State Program of Education Development in the Republic of Kazakhstan for 2011-2020.

 

 

“We should teach how to develop business in Kazakhstan, not how to sell Coca-Cola in Amsterdam”

The first business education program was launched in Harvard University at the beginning of the 20th century. Since then there is continuously ongoing debates about the necessity and relevance of business degree in terms of career development and success in the field. Some people believe that business acumen is an intrinsic zest and it is impossible to teach how to “do business”, other argue that only with the necessary theoretical knowledge and practical experience provided by business schools, future business leaders can succeed in the scope of fast-changing business realities. Another issue is critique of unified character of graduate business education, even operating in the context of globalization, each country has its own unique traits which can be delivered through education. It is indisputable that, for instance, China has the different approaches in business related activities, in comparison with the United States of America and the United Kingdom. Thus, it is vital to take into account the specific business culture of each particular state, in the context of providing graduate business training.  Nevertheless, despite the fact of existing criticism, diploma in business remains to be one of the most popular qualifications all over the world for those, who eager to pursue career in the sphere of business and management.

In the context of business education one of the most popular and desirable degree is a Master of Business Administration (MBA). MBA is a unique degree program designed to fulfill the gap of professionals in business and management spheres and usually taught by the practitioners and knowledgeable business people with years of managerial and operational experience.

From one point of view, undoubtedly, an MBA degree has a significant impact on the future career success of the graduates in terms of salaries increase and career advancement (Zhao, Truell, Alexander and Hill, 2006). Also beside professional development, MBA programs help to enhance communication skills which seem to be very important competencies in the business community. MBA programs also an excellent networking platform for future business leaders in terms of collaboration and partnership.

Nevertheless, another point of view presents the criticism of the effectiveness of an MBA degree. Pfeffer and Fong (2002) examine the necessity of an MBA degree and its influence on graduates’ career success. More specifically, they argue that an MBA degree is not a guarantee of future career success and development. Moreover, the knowledge learned and skills developed during this program might not be relevant to the real situation in scope of business. There is also an existing tendency that consulting firms and bank, main employers of MBA graduates, started to hire people without business background and provide in-service trainings for them.

In Kazakhstani context, MBA programs are relatively new form of business education. First MBA programs were launched in the mid 90s and since then great work has been done to develop this sphere. Nowadays, there are several higher education institutions providing sufficient training and awarding MBA degree in Kazakhstan. The vast majority of those programs are designed in the strategic partnership with foreign business schools. In this context, the issue of lack of correspondence with the requirements of local market and business milieu, can be seen, as the consequence of weak programs’ adjustments to the Kazakhstani realities.

In one of the interviews, Asylbeck Kozhakhmetov, the pioneer of business education in Kazakhstan and founder and president of Almaty Management University has mentioned: “We should teach how to develop business in Kazakhstan, not how to sell Coca-Cola in Amsterdam” (Abenova, 2014). This caustic remark proves that business education should be adapted particularly to the country where future graduates are going to operate, even if some general business principles are the same worldwide, some national characteristics should be taken into account.

To sum up, development of business sector is one of the strategic directions in the state’s political course and it is crucial to have professional personnel who will be able to manage business processes. Despite on ongoing debates about the efficiency and effectiveness of MBA education, this degree remains to be the most popular and desirable among both future employees and employers all over the world, which means that as long as there is a demand, supply will occur in any ways.

References

Abenova, Zh. (2014, November). Asylbeck Kozhakhmetov: Constancy in development.                                      Business Life. Retrieved from  http://www.bizlife.kz/article/show/id/478

Pfeffer, J., & Fong, C. T. (2002). The end of business schools? Less success than meets                                       the eye. Academy of  Management Learning & Education1(1), 78-95.

Zhao, J. J., Truell, A. D., Alexander, M. W., & Hill, I. B. (2006). ” Less Success Than Meets the                             Eye?” The Impact of Master of Business Administration Education on                                               Graduates’ Careers. Journal of Education for Business81(5), 261-268.