All posts by deadpessimistbunny

Higher education: on credit and for a long time

Recently, a senator from Kazakhstan, B.Aytimova urged young Kazakh students to live and study by making use of credit. Aytimova used as an example the model showing how it has benefited students engaging in this practice in other countries. However, she did not take into account living costs and average finances of recent graduates and their parents in Kazakhstan. It makes one wonder if it is an applicable lifestyle for young citizens of Kazakhstan. Therefore, it would be valuable to evaluate the experience of those in the USA students loan system and its consequences for students from Kazakhstan dealing with similar conditions.

Many American students study at colleges and universities on credit. It is the norm in American society. However, the recent economic crisis made their parents and children to think: Is it worth it to study at college or university on credit if there is no guarantee that you might find a job after graduation.The same situation is occurring in Kazakhstani society. Many middle class parents and students can not afford to pay for higher education. However, they are forced into this practice in order to cover the tuition. The payment for higher education is constantly rising. Before entering every applicant makes a contract where it is written that the administration of the university has the right to increase the tuition for 10 -20% or more each year. It happens because of inflation of local currency. It means that Kazakh students have to make larger and larger payment each year, so their loans increase too. Many students can not go against the system because they signed contracts. If they do not accept these requirements they will not be accepted. After graduation many Kazakh students can not find jobs in occupations of their choice as young Americans can not find jobs either. Therefore, many students do part-time jobs which is not in the field of study. It is easier to get student loan in the USA than in Kazakhstan. You have to collect a lot of documents to prove that you are worth it to get a loan in Kazakhstan.

Time is the second challenge for young Americans as well as their counterparts in Kazakhstan. When American students graduate from college or university they become debtors automatically. It means they have to work and spend their best time of life on refunding. The trend is they pay off their student loans to banks approximately at the age of 33 or even as late as at 41. Kazakhstani students also struggle with this problem. Many of them will be free of debt at 30 or possible later. It depends on how lucky they are to find well-paid jobs. Hence, Kazakh and American youth work hard and spend their youthfulness refinancing their debts. It is not life.

The most crucial point in this issue is the sum of student’s loan. It can be different. American students have debts which are on average $30000 after graduation. Today it is challenging for American youth to find job. Therefore, many of them decide to continue their education. Hence, they take credit for education again. They expect that a master’s degree might increase their chances to find well-paid jobs. As a result, they have even more debts then they had. The similar situation is occurring in Kazakhstan.

Higher education is crucial for students to become professionals in favorite occupations. It gives opportunity to become who they want to be. Taking student loan is an instrument for achieving this goal. Therefore, student loan must be accessible for loan and repaying of debt.

Advertisements

Prison education in Kazakhstan

Currently, secondary education is free and accessible for all individuals in Kazakhstan. All children have equal rights to get high quality education which satisfies their needs. 3974 students studying in Kazakhstani prison educational institutions. However, there is no reference to prison education in Kazakhstan in state’s educational programs. The issue of prison education is not in great demand among Kazakhstani researchers. A few devote their articles and research papers on this topic. In order to demonstrate that education is accessible for all it must be related to convicts, too. In the following, the general information about prison education in Kazakhstan and the importance of qualitative education for prisoners will be highlighted.

According to the Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan, all citizens are guaranteed free secondary education in state educational establishments. Secondary education is considered obligatory for all. Consequently, all people are to get equal access to education notwithstanding where they are. Nowadays, the number of educational institutions in prisons is 55. There are 5 secondary schools, 34 evening schools, 11 vocational training centers and its 5 affiliate branches. These educational institutions provide underage prisoners with primary, secondary and upper secondary education. In addition to this, convicts can learn skills to prepare them for 50 of the most in demand jobs while they are in these correctional institutions. 889 students study in prison schools with Kazakh language of instruction while 3085 convicts study in Russian medium schools. In comparison with ordinary schools, Russian medium schools are dominant in prisons. The prison schools accept convicts who do not have primary and secondary education. The convicts under 30 can apply for prison education. The exception to this rule is that convicts who are in for life are deprived of this right, but they have the right for self-education. While they are studying it is not allowed to distract the prisoners by having them work overtime. Additionally, it is forbidden to transfer convict to another prison during schooling. These rules protect convicts’ rights for studying. Moreover, it gives them opportunity to study without hindrance and to finish school. By having the chance to study in prison, convicts can become literate citizens.

Prison education plays a key role in adaptation and rehabilitation for all convicts. Most young people who become convicts are uneducated and unemployed. Illiteracy and unemployment are the main reasons for committing crimes among young people. Therefore, prison education combats illiteracy among prisoners and gets them prepared for the labor market. As it was mentioned above, convicts can get vocational education and other professions which are in demand in the labor market (http://oral-maslihat.kz/novosti/novosti/article/sostojanie-ugolovno-ispolnitelnoi-sistemy.html). After completion of their education, convicts are able to work in the prison. The education they received and work experience in prison enable prisoners to apply for jobs in the public sector. Thus, they become more confident in themselves after their release. Education is crucial for successful rehabilitation of convicts.

According to Tursynbek Omurzakov, a Kazakhstani politician, the government expends 16000 tenge per convict’s maintenance per diem. In Kazakhstani prisons there were approximately 49 000 convicts in 2013, so the government expended 262 billion tenge on convicts’ maintenance. It is cheaper and more beneficial for the government to educate the convicts and provide them with jobs rather than provide for unproductive living in prisons. Therefore, qualitative prison education can decrease the number of convicts and the state’s expenditure on them. Educated ex-convicts can become respectable citizens of the state. They can benefit the country and its population.

All men are equal before the law. All men are equal to get education. There should not be any discrimination. Educators and policymakers should take into account prison education when they develop new educational programs. No person should be left behind. It does not matter who you are, especially, when it relates to quality of education.

FAIRY TALE ABOUT FREE EDUCATION IN KAZAKHSTAN

All of us are accustomed to believing that secondary education is free and accessible for all. But, is it really free as we have been thinking? Certainly, at a legislative level we all are right because the Law on Education dictates that “the state provides citizens with free pre-school, primary, middle and secondary education”. Kazakhstani government provides all public schools with funding. However, most parents are familiar with “school fees” or “school funds” which are not indicated as obligatory in main legislative documents about education. The paying of school fee is a widespread practice which few parents take seriously and dare to talk about in public. In order to understand the origin of the issue of school fees, it is important to explain the motives of school administration to demand money and parents’ reluctance to pay.

First of all, we should examine on what reasons teaching staff and administration of schools claim and demand money. The most common reasons are

  1. farewell ceremony of commissions,
  2. purchase of school inventory,
  3. maintenance of school,
  4. school meals,
  5. school books,
  6. school celebrations and productions,
  7. presents for teachers and principals and even household goods.

They can collect money from parents weekly, monthly, or annually. The amount of money can vary. It depends on what they ask for. Also, there are some exceptions to the mentioned above. For instance, there were a couple of extraordinary cases which happened in Oskemen and Aktobe. Parents were forced to collect money for SECURITY and VIDEO SURVEILLANCE. It is definitely an illegal act to collect money for such reasons!  According to the Law on Education, parents are not obligated to pay for these things which have just been mentioned. All of these must be free of charge for school students and their parents.

To find a guilty or responsible person for these illegal deeds is a pretty difficult job. It seems clear to all concerned that the teaching staff and school administration are guilty for demanding money. Notwithstanding their supposed guilt, they are also victims of this situation just as the parents are. Every year schools get certain amounts of money from the local budget which does not cover all of the schools’ needs. Hence, they have to ask for financial support from parents. As a last resort, they have to pay themselves. As you know, teachers get low salaries. Can you imagine how they suffer from it? It is a common practice for the principals to force teaching staff to demand money from school children. Teachers write some notes about school needs in the students’ school diaries or call parents. Moreover, the principal and teachers can invite parents to a school meeting where they announce about the school’s needs. Consequently, parents know about unpredictable expenditures.

Almost every mother and father in Kazakhstan know that sometimes it is better to pay than to ask for what and why they are paying. It is a widespread practice that parents give money to their children who give it to teachers. The motive for paying money is very simple: they do not want to make their children’s lives worse in school. Parents do not want to see their children treated as black sheep. School students can be threatened by expulsion from school or can get bad marks on final exams (UNT) thus the parents get badly affected as well. Indeed, parents are afraid of all the factors mentioned above. If parents cannot allocate finances from the family budgets students can be humiliated by teachers and principals in class or in public. In many cases parents pay without asking any questions. Deputy Kamal Burhanov states that 76% of parents gave money several times, 26% did regularly and 47% had experienced with this issue.

There is a hotline “150” set up which can help children to overcome these problems. This line concerns problems relating to financial demands. The worst thing about this situation is that children are so powerless. Even though it is officially forbidden in Kazakhstani schools, it still occurs. I hope that this issue can be solved. As the Law on Education stresses every child has the right to free education.

The Problem of Guns

School is supposed to be the safest place for children. It is the place for education, upbringing of young generation and for students’ development. Children are the most innocent human beings. It is very to sad to realize that the school can become the danger place for children. When children take guns and kill their classmates and teachers in the safest of places. Gun violence among is a new phenomenon of the 21st century. The following outline, general characteristics of young shooters and origin of gun violence in schools will be discussed.

One of the most popular motives for shooting in school is to take revenge. Many of these young shooters are victims of every day bullying. They suffer from inaction and indifference of classmates, teaching staff and school administration to bullying and humiliation that they experience. Future school shooters are not popular at schools nor do they perform very well. Loneliness is their internal friend or other victims of bullying might become their friends. Every day at school is a challenge and torture for them. They are a targets for humiliating jokes and gossip from their peers and even from their teachers. The jokes as not innocent as we are accustomed to think. This gossip and jokes hurt and humiliate human dignity of victims. These future offenders are usually humiliated for many years. As a result, their rage may snap suddenly. Some of them just commit suicide in order to stop all this torture. Other students may decide to solve their problems by shooting others. In most cases, they do not see any other possible way to tackle their problems. Unfortunately, a teaching staff and school administration seemed to ignore most of bullying cases. They may think that bullying and humiliating are childishness. Many parents only attach importance to bullying and humiliation if their children come home beaten, sad and depressed. They may think that they are just signs of adolescence.

One of the most fearful stories of teenager terrorism happened in Columbine High School, Littleton, Colorado state in 1999. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 12 school students and a teacher in their school. They were also victims of bullying and humiliation. After that they committed suicide. Most school shooters prefer to die with their victims rather than to be arrested.

There are other motives for this kind of crime. There are a number of reasons such as infighting among local gangs, rejected love or unhappy love, revenge againts teaching staff or school administration. For instance, Jaylen Fryberg shot 4 students and himself. One of the victims had love affair with his ex-girlfriend. Before committing homicide he texted a message to his ex-girlfriend.

According to News21, approximately 28000 school children and teenagers were shot from 2003 to 2014.The number demonstrates that the violence among teenagers is huge issue. It is still a subject of much debates. Another factor in children killing is the easy access to firearms. Most of American families have guns in their houses. It is very easy to buy guns in America. Hence, most children have access to guns.

A lot of measures are being taken to prevent shooting in schools. Teachers and school administration are being taught to tackle such problems. However, it is an illness of all society. Parents in cooperation with school teachers and administration should work on this problem. All of them should be attentive to children and their problems.