All posts by mshiko

What we gain by supporting minority languages?

Kazakhstan is the most “multiethnic” country among fifteen Post Soviet countries. From the pages of the history, this land had never oppressed any of the nationalities, languages or language minorities. Today, we still have preserved this great tradition and policy.

If one would ask why it is important to value the minority languages, the answers would be various. In this essay I will try to explain some of them. Firstly, for our country, it gives a uniqueness and distinction in comparison with the other countries with “russizm” and “nacizm” problems. It is not just a policy that our nation naturally respects other nationalities and languages. According to Dave (2004) “It was hailed as a  ‘laboratory of peoples’ friendship’  (druzhba narodov) during the post-War II period. It was the only Soviet national republic in which the titular ethnic group (the Kazakhs) did not constitute a majority upon gaining independence in 1991”. The other 149 nationalities did not feel any discrimination in Kazakhstan.  From my grandmother’s tales, in their village and in the whole country, Kazakhs gave the last bread to their neighbours from other nationalities. The second reason is that, the more nationalities and language diversities we have, the more we have the opportunity to celebrate different holidays of other minorities and learn their languages. For example, the 1st of May of each year, we celebrate the Day of Unity in Kazakhstan. This incredible holiday has been celebrating each year by all the nationalities of our country through representing their national songs in their national languages, cuisine and the national dresses and dances. Thirdly, we have a marvellous chance to learn their languages. Each minority language has a cultural centre for the representatives of their nation. We can easily learn languages such as Korean, Turkish, Arabic, Chinese, Italian, Mongolian etc. Such events and friendly atmosphere correlates with very subtle connections of the Kazakh nation to the other 149 nationalities. The government always supports these  minority languages and cultures. They provide them with a place for their cultural centres and give them an opportunity to flourish. For the minority languages, it is a great chance to live in a peaceful country, feel the support from the government and the nation and to save their historical heritage through promotion in our country.

In my opinion, the ideology of preserving and conserving the language minorities is the best so far. In such a case, our Kazakh language is not in danger. We can speak Kazakh and learn the other languages and live in  peace and love.

References

Dave, B. 2004. Minorities and participation in public life: Kazakhstan.  United Nations office of the high commissioner for human rights.

The development of multilingualism in Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan, nowadays is the most peaceful and multiethnic country. This large country includes about 150 nationalities and language minorities.  While there are extremist groups and wars in other countries, our first President makes great steps to preserve the historical heritages of our land like political stability, tolerance to other nationalities, and the most crucial – the languages.

From my observations about multilingualism development in Kazakhstan, I would like to share my personal viewpoints. Language policy is a great tool and weapon for the prosperity of a country and/or for the beginning of a war. The reason is that the more nationalities and language minorities exist in one country, the more they will demand attention to their languages and respect of their nationalities from the government. Only one misstep in a policy or one word  in a public speech can lead to the start of the national conflict.

The language status is the most important and confused part of the policy. Many countries still suffer from  a lack of tolerance toward other representatives of society. Till 1991, our Kazakhstan was also the victim of the wrong policy of the Soviet Union. Native Kazakh people simply could not use their Kazakh language instead of Russian. All people felt the dominance of the Russian language. All people were educated in Russian, and Kazakh was assumed  to be the language of uneducated people from rural areas.

Nowadays, I very much appreciate the language policy of our President. The reasons are that he understands the condition of people from the Post Soviet time, he does not put any pressure on them, he does not dictate that they have to speak and use the Kazakh language. He patiently waits for the moment when the people of Kazakhstan will come to the decision to speak their native language, simultaneously providing for everyone the conditions for learning the language.

To conclude, I would like to add that a sound language policy is the main component of the stability and sustainability of  a country. In this case, our country is the best example for other countries to follow.

Summerhill: just crazy idea or the best method of schooling?

PART ONE:

Dear colleagues,

Since the start of this new semester, I was scrutinizing about very complicated task. The task as: what to write?

We usually write blogs on Facebook, Tweeter etc. about everything and nothing in general. But here, we have also the responsibility to write posts in academic style. Writing the blogs is the best way to express new ideas and feelings.

Yesterday, occasionally I found one post on Facebook about a private school that is going to open in Kazakhstan by parents who do not wish their children to study under the current system. The post attracted my attention by its title about an education at home and for all. The author shared a link to the film called “Summerhill” that inspired those parents.

During the first hour of this film, the idea of the school in “England” called Summerhill can be seen for someone as crazy one. But at the end of the film I seriously started to think about this method. The main aim of school is the “free” school with democratic ideas and views. Here, children can choose their favorite subjects, they can study only something that they really do like; even they can reject all subjects and take courses after some time when they are ready. The film accurately shows the feeling of the children who do not wish, for example, to study physics, math or astronomy if they wish to be chemist, biologist or carpenter or designer. The plot of the film also gives an understanding of the parents who do not wish to understand the emotional and health conditions of a child. The film gives an example of an auditor who is unhappy after the unsuccessful career that he was not interested. On the basis of this school it is proved that a child can reach more in desired subject than on those billions of subjects that will not use in their long and beautiful life. Students have their voice and rights. At the end of each week, they make meeting of the school where the judges are students. The school principal Zoe (daughter of the founder of that school) and the other teachers just observe the students election, strong court and direct them.

“All crimes, all hatreds, all wars can be reduced to unhappiness” wrote A. S. Neill, founder of Summerhill School.

After this film, I remembered the time when I was preparing to the UNT, and know how my 17 years old sister preparing at NIS now. It is horrible. In my time the average quantity of the subjects were not so big. But now, my sister has to take 10 subjects like biology, chemistry, math, Kazakh, English+IELTS, geography, history, Russian language and critical thinking. Most of them she will never ever use in her life. But it is just the case of Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools. May be someone will say that it is correct and children have to adapt to this system. However, I, as a future parent and a sister care about children under the great pressure. By the statistics, most of the suicide cases happen under the age of 15-18, when children are very young and think that UNT is everything in life. So the idea of Summerhill school inspired me. I can’t say that I am against to the currents existing system. However in my opinion, on this way we will miss different talents and interesting individuals. Nowadays students do not choose the profession, they just choose the subject that they can take on the exam.

I highly recommend watching the “Summerhil” film just to know that somewhere in England, there exist an Utopia for all children.