All posts by aliyasultanova

Gifted education: issues and challenges

imagesIf the kids are a national treasure of any country,
gifted children are its intellectual potential.
R. Buneev

Kazakhstan is on the way of its transformation to be one of the 50 most competitive countries in the world. To achieve this ambitious goal, the country is overhauling its educational system to be able to produce quality human capital as it will significantly result in benefit for economy and society (Bhuiyan, 2011). Therefore, gifted education is considered to be a core element of generating quality human capital; hence, a great deal of resources has been investing into education in order to implement strategies to provide a high quality education for gifted children (Hernandez-Torrano & Abisheva, 2013, p. 86).However, from the perspective of a teacher and a former school student I think that the implementation of gifted education has some issues and challenges.

First of all, there is a strong lack of highly qualified teachers who really can recognize a wide range of distinctions of students and support them. It is evident that mostly the identification of the high level thinking skills and indifferent abilities in each child depends on a teacher. There are about 2.5 million students studying at secondary schools in Kazakhstan and 80 schools for gifted students within the framework of 16 NIS, 34 Daryn and 23 KTL schools (Amirova, 2013). However, every single school is full of talented students who suffer from being unnoticed. Though those elite schools offer good quality knowledge, sometimes even the teachers of such schools cannot meet the extraordinary students’ needs. As it was mentioned in the report for “Eurotalent” conference by the director of Daryn RRPC, the number of talented and gifted students is increasing and their need cannot be fully satisfied, because gifted students require prepared, highly professional teachers.

Secondly, there is one more issue which needs attention, in my opinion. As far as you know we have many special schools for gifted students such as NIS, KTL and Daryn schools. However, the competitions, Olympiads and various types of activities organized by the Daryn RRPC is for all students regardless their school type, whether it is KTL or NIS. Henceforth, it is not truly fair to mix the students of elite schools and mainstream ones due to the fact that the curriculum they are taught is quite divergent. The elite school students are more skilled in comparison with usual school students because they are purposely trained for such rigorous tournaments. Concerning the fact that there are limited places for talented students and it is impossible to educate all of them at once, the policy makers have to redesign the curriculum with the enrichment approach provided by the in-depth and breadth content. As a result, there will be a hope that mainstream students can take advantage of that and their unnoticed skills will be developed.

Having read and analyzed some policy documents and related papers, it is apparently seen that within the framework of “Daryn” Republican Research and Practical Centre and the schools for gifted children such as NIS, KTL, Daryn Kazakhstan has a strong belief that this new elite and gifted generation will put its own durable brick in the growth construction of home country’s economic, social-political and educational, technologic-innovational industries. The evidence from present days suggests that there is no doubt that education, in particular, gifted education has been changed in Kazakhstan. However, there is always something that still needs to be desired.

References

Amirova, B. (2013). Blagorodnaya missiya Daryn [The noble mission Daryn ]. Class time 13(61).

Bhuiyan, S.H. (2011). Transition Towards a Knowledge-Based Society in Post-Communist     Kazakhstan: Does Good                 Governance Matter? Journal of Asian and African Studies DOI: 10.1177/0021909611401565

Hernandez-Torrano, D. and Abisheva I. (2013). How to create enrichment clusters for gifted  learners. Pedagogical                   Dialogue, 3(5), 86-90.

My Thoughts on Inclusive Education

Inclusive 1hands

Hello, my dear friends! Welcome back to the Spring semester and I hope the following six months will be more interesting and fruitful for all of us! This time I am taking all inclusive education courses due to the fact that it is closely related to my thesis. Frankly, I did not fully understand what inclusive education is and why it is called as “inclusive” one. Here I write my thoughts and want to share with some ideas on the inclusive education that I have understood so far.
Having read and analyzed two articles by Loreman et al. (2014) and Ainscow & Miles (2009) I personally get a full picture of the understanding of what the concept of inclusive education is and how it is perceived in different countries. The thing is that there are a lot of misconceptions and misunderstandings around the concept of inclusive education that come from the uncertain definition. According to Loreman et al. (2014), generally, inclusive education can be understood as one of the following basic categories, namely, 1) “conceptualizing based on its key features”, 2) “conceptualizing it as the removal of what excludes and marginalises” (p.14). Specifically, some scholars (Ainscow, Booth & Dyson, (2006) as cited in Loreman et al. (2014)) suggest 6 ways of conceiving inclusive education which includes educating all children within paying attention to vulnerable children and with disabilities, developing the schools for all layers of the society and etc. In my view, inclusive education is still observed as giving special education to children with limited abilities and for that reason has a narrow focus not in particular countries but all over the world.
Speaking about Kazakhstani situation toward inclusive education is troublesome at all. Firstly, the concept of inclusive education itself is completely new; consequently, it is not fully understood as it is. The majority of the people do not have any ideas about what inclusive education is whilst the rest thinks that it is all about disabled people. Therefore, in the context of Kazakhstan, inclusive education is teaching and working with disabled children who need a special education. For instance, having observed the school-gymnasium #65 in Astana which is considered to be a school with inclusive education I really understand what it is a practice in real life. Children with limited abilities are involved in the usual classroom and able to socialize. This is a good result for initial level of the implementation of the inclusive education in Kazakhstan. However, I do not really agree with the definition of the concept of inclusiveness. This is because it is not just educating disabled learners but giving an equal access to quality education to all children regardless their gender, race, socio-economic status and physical capacities.
To sum up, I want to say that we are as future leaders in education have to make the situation so that every single child could get quality education no matter their intellectual and physical abilities.
References
Loreman, T., Forlin, C.,Chambers, D., Sharma, U., Deppeler, J. (2014).Conceptualizing and measuring inclusive education.            Measuring Inclusive Education, 3-17.
Ainscow, M., Miles, S. & et al. (2009). Developing inclusive education systems: how can we move policies forward?, 1-9.