Category Archives: Uncategorized

Atheism 2.0 by Alain de Botton (deconstruction)


Looking at the title, you probably thought that this is a sequel of (often) controversial religion versus atheism debates. But when you watch the video thoroughly, you understand that it is much more different and worth discussion. In this Ted talk philosopher Alain de Botton suggests his upgraded version of atheistic philosophy: atheism 2.0. According to him, atheism 2.0 stands from ‘stealing’ useful elements from religions and at the same time being consistent to atheistic principles. He claims that atheism should go to the next steps and this philosophy should directly begin from “of course there is no God” phrase rather than debating existence of God. He gives examples of six aspects that ‘secular world’ could learn from religions: education, time arrangement, oratory, physical sermons, art and institutionalisation. While some of his examples are individual matters such as experiencing ‘spiritual moments without belief’, others aspects might carry social implications.
He suggests that modern education institutions should not be limited with teaching ‘information’ or ‘data’, but they also should help people with ‘morality, guidance and consolation’, like churches and mosques do. Also, he argues that universities should return from lectures (he defines it as ‘secular mode of delivery’ that gives ‘a bit of information) to sermon traditions (religious mode) where one can teach how to live. At the first glance, this very attractive opinion seems very objective and beneficial. However, how proper would it be if a public university is preaching morality or the way of living that one or some professors decided to be right? I think such so called ‘secular sermons’ would create a tremendous ‘opportunities’ for brainwashers to imbue any dogmatic ideology to their students. Time arrangement, oratory, physical sermons and art are indeed aspects that most religions embraced in a more natural way and this might be a lesson for modern secular world. Of course, one looking from religious perspective could argue its realization because de Botton excludes believing in the doctrine while religions usually develop them for worshiping purposes. Once it has relatively less social impacts when it is not used to promote dogmatic minds, here, de Boton’s version is undeniably personal choice to practice it or not.
In my opinion, word choice of the speaker in the video reflects his biased opinion. In the beginning of his talk, he prefers the word ‘stealing from religion’  for the benefits of secular world rather than saying ‘learning from religion’ or ‘religion could contribute’ to the whole society. He uncarefully uses the phrase ‘secular world’ without any explanation. Though the word secular obviously means being independent from religion or from any other supernatural beliefs, it does not necessarily mean ‘no religion’ or ‘only atheistic views’. Rather, in my opinion, the secularism and /or ‘secular world’ is usually understood as having multiple religions and non-religions without their influence on political powers. So, he views ‘modern secular world’ as a property of only secular people. Similar proposition is given in the his example of how people ‘replaced religion by culture’. Though he explains it as his personal conclusion from historical facts, he probably would not be able to prove it because religion (and atheism as well) is a part of culture rather than a different concept.
Despite my critical analyzes above, I agree to his central message of pluralism and open-mindness. The speaker’s bias shows how his focus is intended to only one audience. More in-depth explanation of how he views the idea in practice, more objective word choice and focusing on the benefits of the whole society rather than one group would make the message much stronger and fruitful.


Pen or Pencil


“Pen licence” is an educational reform in the USA that was introduced in 2014. According to this system, in the early years of primary schools, children are required to write in pencil. They are not allowed to use a pen until they demonstrate fluent and legible writings. Only then they earn pen licence: a certificate that states that they are now allowed and expected to use ink for both schoolwork and homework. The point of crediting pencil is that pens can be difficult to hold and control, with the potential of the ink smudging, which makes it more complicated for children to master the basic movements of handwriting. However, in my opinion, it is not the basic ideology that lies behind this reform.

Getting pen licence means students need to have a great sense of responsibility for their writing product as writing with an ink is a mark for eternity. In other words, children have to think before they act because what they have already written with an ink is not erasable. But, the question is, what is the point of practicing writing with a pencil in order to master pen? That is because using a pencil is all about change and correction in their writings. It may indicate that mistakes should be put right and should not be ignored not only in their writings but also in their daily life.

In Japan, much of the writing in schools is done with a pencil. A saying in Japan is that “your writing reflects what your heart looks like”. Using a pencil makes it easier to erase mistakes – and to provide a flawless handwriting, even if it is not on the first try. As a result, Japanese have much less bias against pencil and feel much more comfortable using it. Hence, they have no problem with creating documents in pencil. Conversely, in most European countries, especially in Finland where typing is taught instead of handwriting,  pencil seems to have a dirty and uneducated feel, and people are much more hesitant to use pencil for documents someone else can see.

This can even be extended to a wider view of the difference between lean in Japan and lean in the European countries. In Japan, it is absolutely okay to fix, improve, and change until the result is flawless. In the Western world, the goal has to be achieved on the first try, even if there are a few smudges and spots left at the end. Amazing! The whole difference between Japanese and European lean boils down to what we write with at school!

As for Kazakhstan, practicing with pencil before switching to pen might be highly worthwhile, especially with the great number of work that teachers should do and with the less and less amount of time that they have. The reason is illegible handwriting is the primary cause for loss of staff time and prevents them from continuing their work-related task.


What do you think if the reform “Pen licence” will be implemented in Kazakhstan too?

Does it worth or it is a waste of time to educate writing with a pencil and then with a pen?

What are the other advantageous or disadvantageous points?



Let’s use video to reinvent education | Salman Khan (Deconstruction)

In the century when people are willing and drudgingly trying to change the current education system but still cannot succeed in it, Salman Khan has already started to reinvent education through the use of videos.

Video “Let’s use video to reinvent education” Salman Khan


Salman Khan is an American educator and entrepreneur who founded the Khan Academy in 2006. It is a non-profit educational organization creating hundreds of elaborately structured series of educational videos that help school students learn and understand math and other school subjects. First steps of such a big project were made in 2004 when Salman was tutoring his cousins in New Orleans. He put his first YouTube videos up as a supplement or refresher for the kids so that they could pause and repeat it anytime. To Mr. Khan’s great surprise his cousins preferred “the automated version of their cousin to their cousin”, and moreover, these videos became very popular on the internet among math learners as well. Producing a short lecture in the form of a video gave an impetus for the start of his noble career. Today thousands of students and even teachers are being educated through Khan Academy’s video lessons and using particular exercises for practice through their website.

At the beginning of his speech, Mr. Khan shows the audience a short montage of his videos. It becomes clear why his lessons are in a demand – Salman has a strong and articulate voice, a wonderful intonation, a good pace, in other words, he sounds like a professional public speaker. Additionally, he seems to know his subject very well; he explains the topics constructively, non-traditionally and confidently so that it is easy to understand him and impossible to get bored due to his style of explanation and relevant jokes.

Salman argues that students get a lot of benefits from these video lessons, especially in situations when they do not understand the topic, get confused, leg behind, or “have to review something that they should have learned a couple of weeks ago, or maybe a couple of years ago”. Students can watch these videos and have some practice doing exercises on the website to succeed without any charge. He claims that the project he does is “more than just a nice-to-have”, but it can also be “of a social value” because even a few students with autism who had had a terrible time with math were able to get through it thanks to Salman’s videos. I imagine the speaker’s videos as a live interesting book that makes no pressure on the learning process and I believe that it is a really effective tool for students to improve their knowledge of math.

Salman Khan created a new format of lessons, he says “I assign the lectures for homework, and what used to be homework, I now have the students doing in the classroom”. In this case, teachers can monitor the rate of videos and exercises completed by students from the website or the number of repeatedly watched topics to identify the weak parts and gaps that students have. In addition, Salman Khan suggests teachers follow this rule because “by removing the one-size-fits-all lecture from the classroom and letting students have a self-paced lecture at home”, teachers will be able to use technology “to humanize the classroom”. In other words, students watching self-paced videos at home, along with their teachers increase classroom time for real human interaction between each other. I really like this project of Mr. Khan and would like to mention that when students communicate more with each other, discuss more with their teachers, their motivation and desire to study, to attend school every day and to solve problems will grow – and this is one of the important issues today in the field of education.

The greatest value of these videos is that children from poor countries, who have to work to help their parents and cannot attend schools, will be able to get access to education, later they even might share their knowledge as well. Observing Mr. Khan’s high interest to this issue, a few pieces of research conducted by him in order to reveal today’s problems in education, statistics he gives, bright emotions and gestures, it is seen that he is really concerned about humanity, about human education, about opportunities to help those kids. He indicates, “you can teach a child in Calcutta or Calcutta kid can teach your child”. It is a notion of a “global one-world classroom” that Khan Academy is trying to build through technology, and that is great.

The work Salman Khan and his team are doing for humanity is priceless. Today it is highly important to get an education in order to find a good job, feed families and simply survive. Khan Academy is creating great opportunities for people to enter the world of knowledge, no matter where they are. But I would not agree with Mr. Khan that the use of the videos can completely reinvent education. It is simply not enough for such a huge transformation. People can find multiple videos in internet teaching math, languages, history or physics with or without teacher participation, but the majority of them do not watch these videos because for some they are not the best learning method. However, I really like liked the idea of Salman Khan’s project and do believe that it can be used as an extra effective tool in the classroom for some subjects.

The WCU: a necessity or a whim?

Қазіргі уақытта университеттер мәдени және білім беру жуктемені ғана емес, онымен қатар ұлттық жетістік индекаторы болып табылады. Бұл үкіметтің жоғарғы білім беру жүйесін инвестициялауға ынталандырудын натежесі әлемдік университет деңгейін құруға мүмкіндік тудырады. Алайда, әлемдік деңгейдегі университет деген не, және ол, оның құрылуына жұмсалған қаржыны ақтай ма? Бұл жұмыс келесі осы мәселерді анықтауға тырысады.

Университеты в наши дни несут не только культурную и образовательную нагрузку, но и являются индикаторами успеха нации. Это стимулирует правительства инвестировать в систему высшего образования и зачастую результатом может явиться создание университета мирового уровня. Однако что такое университет мирового уровня и оправдывает ли он вложенных в его создание средств. Данная работа попробует разобраться в этих вопросах.

Nowadays universities no longer serve only cultural and educational purposes, but became indicators of nation’s success. This stimulates governments to interfere into tertiary education systems which results in the development of world-class universities. But what is a world-class university and does it justify public investments? The present work attempts to find the answers.

Nowadays universities no longer serve only cultural and educational purposes, but became indicators of nation’s success. This stimulates governments to interfere into tertiary education systems which results in the development of world-class universities (hereinafter WCUs). Globally different countries took the effort to establish WCUs starting from mega-merger Aalto University in Finland and ending with Excellence Initiative in Germany (Cremonini, Westerheijden, Benneworth, & Dauncey, 2014). However, worldwide ‘WCUs fever’ does not provide underpinning rationales behind the creation of world-class universities as well as comprehensive definition of ‘world-class’. As Altbach correctly noticed about WCUs “everyone wants one, no one knows what it is, and no one knows how to get one” (as cited in Salmi, 2009, p. 4). Nevertheless, I will try to understand the rationales behind the establishment of WCUs, and explore the concept of WCU by applying it to Nazarbayev University.


Cremonini, Westerheijden, Benneworth, and Dauncey (2014) connect the rise of WCU programs to league tables. Hazelkorn concurs with Cremonini et al. by specifying that “being in the ‘top 100’ has uncritically transformed the words ‘world-class’ into a national and institutional strategy and aspiration ” (2014, p. xi). Similarly, Ritzen (2010) claims that those countries which felt underrepresented in league tables started building new universities to improve their ranking performance.  Obviously, these authors do not consider any academic or economic rationales, but rather heavily discuss non-existent ‘show off’ rationales underpinning the establishment of WCUs. Then, what about NU? When president spoke about the establishment of NU (Nazarbayev, 2006) he announced that the university would serve educational purposes of the country. Three years later in 2009, he emphasized that NU would be the most important national project which would build the fundamental for Kazakhstan while combining national identity with the best international training and research praxis (Nazarbayev, 2009). Likewise, the mission of the university envisages NU “to be a model for higher education reform and modern research in Kazakhstan and to contribute to the establishment of Astana as international innovation and knowledge hub” (NU, 2013). Apparently, the main rationale underpinning the establishment of NU is academic. However, Koch (2013) asserts that NU owes its existence to political elites. She explains that knowledge economy discourse is used by political elites to demonstrate to the citizens that they are committing to national future, and ease the pressure from population for ‘pillaging’ the country’s resources (p. 49). Though I would argue with Koch by saying that knowledge economy discourse became a global discourse and not only in “ruling bargain”[1] (Koch, 2013, p. 47) states, but also in democratic states, there is a kernel of truth in her words. Therefore, I would suggest that both academic and political rationales underpinned the creation of NU.

WCU Concept

Having discussed the possible rationales it is timely to investigate the phenomenon of WCUs. There are conceptual (Salmi, 2009; Shin, 2012) and empirical approaches (Times Higher Education ranking, n.d.; Shanghai ranking, n.d.) to understand the phenomenon of WCUs. For instance, empirical observations of the universities in the top list of Times Higher Education and Shanghai rankings stimulated them to derive the ‘formula’ of a WCU. These rankings provide clear statistical indicators characterizing WCUs such as fixed amount of annual income per academic (THE), or average annual expenditures per student (Shanghai ranking), or particular percentage of international staff and students. However, it is not acceptable to derive such a ‘formula’ as the majority of the universities occupying top positions are either from the US or the Great Britain. Therefore, it appears that a WCU is inherently American or British. Shin (2012) abandons such utilitarian approach to understanding WCUs and proposes more abstract concept. He proposes WCU to serve global missions, produce globally influential knowledge and global leaders. Otherwise, any other top ranked research universities which do not meet these criteria are national-class or local-class universities (Shin, 2012).Though, Shin’s approach is rather ‘global’ it is still extremely vague and doubtful. On the contrary Salmi’s approach is neither utilitarian nor abstract. Salmi proposed more manageable definition of a WCU by asserting that superior outcomes of WCU, such as highly sought graduates, leading edge research, and technology transfer, are dependent on the following factors: concentration of talented faculty and students, abundant resources allowing the university to create sufficient environment and conduct research, and finally favorable governance features (Salmi, 2009, p. 19).

The Case of NU

By concentration of talent Salmi implies the ability of WCUs to choose among the best students and hire the most accomplished foreign and domestic professors and researchers. Accordingly, NU positions itself as a merit-based institution which accepts the best and brightest through three-step admission process, under the responsibility of University College of London, sifting the rest of the applicants. Moreover, NU addresses the best hiring practices to build qualified faculty body (NU, 2013). At the moment the faculty of the university is primarily international as there are 200 faculty members and 85% of them are foreigners (OECD, 2017, p. 169).

Another defining characteristic of a WCU is abundant resources which include public budget resources, endowment revenues, tuition fees and research grants. In this regard, NU could be characterized as the only university in the country which enjoys unprecedented flow of public resources, is secured by Nazarbayev Endowment Fund and has highly-competitive faculty and researchers able to attract research grants. At the same time, it is difficult to define the share of tuition fees as the majority of students are holders of NU grants. Though it is impossible to say whether NU is attracting enough research grants or tuition fees, state appropriations compensate for all the budget ills.

The last characteristic is favorable governance which involves autonomy and academic freedom as well as strong leadership team. Here NU can boast its special status as an autonomous university sought to enjoy academic freedom. The Law on special status of the university was passed in 2010 by the Parliament’s Lower House (Seidimbek, 2013) and signed by the President in 2011 (NU, 2013). In accordance with this Law the governance structure of NU is presented by Supreme Board of Trustees, Board of Trustees and Executive bodies of the university (NU web-site). As the OECD team observed “Nazarbayev University provides one example of a workable governance model that other institutions in Kazakhstan can learn from” (OECD, 2017, p. 272).

Having applied Salmi’s framework, from the first glance, NU has the potential of becoming a WCU as it meets all of the criteria: it is a merit-based autonomous university which enjoys extensive public resources and attracts qualified faculty and staff. However, does it justify people’s trust and abundant public investments? One of the opinions suggests these resources better to be spent on existing higher education system (Koch, 2013). This opinion is opposed by NU supporters who believe NU experience to be translated onto other higher education institutions and bring systemic improvements. Unfortunately, these debates will continue as the novelty of WCU policy approaches, and long timescale necessary for producing the system-wide benefits, do not allow to analyze WCUP’s benefits ‘ex post’. Therefore, the issue remains open for public discussion giving a hope that future will settle this dispute.


Altbach, P.G. and Salmi, J. (eds.) (2011). The Road to Academic Excellence: The Making of

World-Class Research Universities, New York: World Bank

Cremonini, L., Westerheijden, D., Benneworth, P., & Dauncey, H. (2014). In the shadow of

celebrity? World-class university policies and public value in higher education. Higher Education Policy27(3), 341-361.

Hazelkorn, E. (2011) Rankings and the Reshaping of Higher Education: Battle for World-Class

Excellence, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

Heyneman, S., & Lee, J. (2013). World-class universities: The sector requirements.

In Institutionalization of World-Class University in Global Competition (pp. 45-58). Springer.

Koch, N. (2014). The shifting geopolitics of higher education: Internationalizing elite

universities in Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, and beyond. Geoforum56, 46-54.

Nazarbayev, N. (1997). Appeal of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the nation.

Retrieved from

Nazarbayev, N. (2004). Appeal of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the nation.

Retrieved from

Nazarbayev, N. (2009). Appeal of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the nation.

Retrieved from

NU (2013). Strategy 2013-2020. Retrieved from

OECD (2017). Higher Education in Kazakhstan. Paris: OECD.

Ritzen, J. (2010). A chance for European Universities: Or, avoiding the Looming University

crisis in Europe. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

Salmi, J. (2009). The challenge of establishing world-class universities. Washington, DC: The

World Bank.

Tai, H. (n.d.). The Features of World-Class Universities. Retrieved from

THE (n.d.) The formula for a world-class university revealed. Retrieved from

[1] Is a state where citizens exchanged their political rights for welfare state goods

The role of human emotions in science and research by Ilona Stengel [deconstruction #2]

A scientist Ilona Stengel states a very interesting point about feeling in science. She claims that people in science should find balance between facts and feelings, because they are integral parts of each other. It is also should be mentioned that she is telling the story in parallel between her experience and experience of a main hero Mr. Spock in Star Trek. It gives an opportunity for audience to understand the topic better. Moreover, this “trick” is an attractive approach to focus listeners’ attention to the topic and speech. In general, it was a speaker’s stance to science through feelings by the help of real and fictional examples.

If we look closer, it is clear that her speech does not found only on specific experiences of a person and character. She underpins her idea by the graph, which is likely to be quantitative research design. She demonstrates that dedication, belonging and empowerment trigger the elevation of results in OLED devices development. However, it might be only one of possible factors, which can influence the increase. In my opinion, it could be considered as an assumption, because she looks at the issue from one side, which is related to her topic. I would have improved the speech by investigating other impacts and mentioned various feelings except above-mentioned three. Looking at the topic, I have expected something different in comparison with what I have watched. Author should rethink the topic in order to encounter audience’ expectations. Another case that I would like to notice that she talks more about OLED devices. It can be seem that her speech is likely to be some kind of implicit promotion of these gadgets. Thus, her speech is only one side and looks like an advertisement.

Despite I really like author’s idea that feelings are compounds of science and vice-versa. I completely agree that scientific researches are carried out by humans, consequently humans’ feelings can play essential role in implementation. Instead of Ilona Stengel, I would have considered mood and emotions and their affects on the procedures according to the given topic. She talks more about team-building and their dedication to the purpose, which is a bit further than the theme is.

In conclusion, I would like to tell that I have been attracted by the topic, but the speech has not satisfied my expectation. Surely, there was the idea, which is connected with the topic, in spite of this fact she talks more about team work and dedication.

Linda Cliatt- Wayman: How to fix a broken school? Lead fearlessly, love hard (deconstruction)

As I remember from my school days, our school principal was one of the greatest persons who inspired students to build on their strengths, persuading to believe that all dreams and goals are achievable. This experience allows me to construe that the principal is the key figure in education who keeps the balance in schools. When I saw this videoLinda Cliatt- Wayman: How to fix a broken school? Lead fearlessly, love hard (deconstruction) for the first time, I was speechless, because it really touched me with highlights of the impact and asset that this strong woman brought to the society. It was manifest from her speech that principal, teachers and students in school are more than the system. Linda Cliatt-Wayman is a great principal in Strawberry Mansion High School in the North Philadelphia, who has the 20 years’ experience on a special education for low-performing schools.  She is a solid principal who triggered off a broken school to ameliorate; the woman who had established a student code of discipline among the students with the most outrageous behaviour. The school is defined as a school with the bad reputation and was in the hit list of Philadelphia’s authorities as a “persistently dangerous school”. Nowadays the school is being transformed in a positive direction.

That’s how it was.

She claimed that there was no one around who could be a powerful principal to this school in the last four years, and finally she volunteered to be a principal.  On the first day of work she had witnessed her students fighting each other, after it she moved on to first action toward improvement. During the meeting, one girl named Ashley asked her “Miss… miss, why do you keep calling this a school? This is not a school”.  Linda says that this sort of question made her think back to her low-performing school where she had studied many years ago. Exactly, this was not a real school, the doors were locked with the chains, and the classrooms were almost empty, students carried weapons and there were a drug addicts. What is the worst that even the teachers were afraid for their personal safety. She obviously did a huge work to transform everything in the school, she compel herself to persist these challenges. In this way, her famous slogans were used as leverage to struggle for change. Anyway it seems to me that everything is not easy as it described in her speech.

Her first slogan is: “If you’re going to lead, lead”.

Cliatt-Wayman asserts that everything happens in the school depends on the principal. Being principal requires her to be a leader. She pinpointed that the leader should not sit back in the office, delegate work on others, and cannot allow herself to be afraid of tackling her students’ issues. Also, she emphasized that there’s nothing to be done alone. So, to carry out this task Linda gathered around herself the most skilled staff, who have the faith on children’s potential. All staff including teachers, police officers work constructively, tirelessly and consistently to help the broken school recover. Necessary steps were taken to strengthen the discipline entitled as: “Non-negotiable.” As a result, the school removed from the persistently dangerous list, which in my opinion reflects her truly leadership skills to lead people fearlessly. As she highlighted “Leaders make the impossible – possible”.

The next slogan is: “So what. Now what?”

The principal asserts that the school encountered the low attendance rate, many students were from dysfunctional families, they did not place a priority to study, and this in turn led the school fall behind.  Taking into account conversations about appalling conditions, bad-tempered students, the low results on algebra and literature, she set the goal in front of her colleagues: “So what. Now what? What are we going to do?” Linda depicts development problems and solutions, so she made teachers to differentiate the methodology which might be effective to pay respect to individuality of students. She made every effort to deal with the problems she encountered, but in this video she described only the top of the iceberg. For instance, I was curious to know how they elevate the level of education in details, what exact methods teachers used? So, these questions still required more precise answers.

Her final slogan is: “If nobody told you they love you today, remember I do”.

Her students had financial, social and emotional problems, and no matter what they had she tried to support all of them, because she knows the feeling what it’s like living on poverty.  She believes that opportunities for education and life skills help them to improve their lives and rise from poverty. Linda has daily conversations with her students and  she elevates with pinpoint accuracy those moments when her students feel themselves special, essential and awfully safe.

Though truth be told, my favorite spot is that Cliatt-Wayman has gained the respect and support of the audience on the basis of her work and results. She made tough decisions; she set a clear goal in front of her students, reminding them on a daily basis that education can change their lives.

In her speech there is a powerful message for all educators who have an opportunity to change the world, we should not stand idly by, experience the negative effects of poverty, and be satisfied with promises of authorities. Since any change would require broad support across all sectors of society, she encourages people to let us be prepared to take minute steps toward development of education worldwide.



Why are there fewer male teachers in Kazakhstani secondary schools?

No one can deny that the secondary school teachers play an important role to make a significant contribution to school education. There have been a considerable number of changes in Kazakhstani education recently.  As a result, the status of Kazakhstani’s teachers has improved. Despite the fact of improvement, we can notice the situation when a great number of female teachers work in schools than male teachers.  Nowadays, there are some reasons for a great number of male teachers are not motivated to work in schools.

To understand the situation better we can take a look at what happens in school education. The main problem of this point is low salary in secondary schools. According to statistics, the average salary per teacher is 18 times less than five successful multilingual educational countries such as Finland, Switzerland, Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Spain (Basque country) (Irsaliyev et al., 2017). In today’s globalized world, one cannot exclude that teachers, specifically young male teachers, do not want to work in schools because of low salaries in educational spheres. On this occasion, if they get insufficient fund, they will have a low level of motivation for teaching pupils. As a consequence, each of these male teachers will not able to make an individual contribution to school education.

As a consequence, of low salaries of teachers in Kazakhstan, the teaching profession suffers from low status and prestige. Nowadays, most parents identify “teaching in schools” as a work for women. According to State Program for Education and Development (SPED) for 2011-2020, in Kazakhstan, the gender imbalance is particularly apparent with more than eight women out of every 10 teachers in primary and secondary education on average (81%). From our daily life, there are lots of television programs where the prestige of highly-paid jobs is promoted by increasing economic ideology among people. For instance, a man who works as a teacher in secondary school is criticized by a society that he has a minimum salary who can’t afford to live in prosperity and support his family. In addition, from my daily experience and observation, I have noticed that modern young women prefer to build a stable long-standing relationship with men who have well-paid jobs instead of building a relationship with teachers who can earn small money in secondary schools.

To sum up, our country needs to consider the experience of five successful countries where the high status of teachers depends directly on high salaries as the status of the teaching profession influences on education system’s ability to attract male teachers. While Kazakhstani male teachers will not be received enough salaries in order to support themselves and their families, our students will be taught by female teachers.





Irsaliyev, S., Karabassova, L., Mukhametzhanova, A., Adil, A., Bekova, M., & Nurlanov, Y. (2017). Teaching in three languages: International experience and recommendations for Kazakhstan. Astana: JSC “Information-Analytic Center”.

MoES (Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan). (2010). State Program of Educational Development of the Republic of Kazakhstan for 2011-2020. Astana: Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Why do people choose private supplementary tutoring?

Related image

Photo credits to…/improving-pupil-attainment.jpg

Notwithstanding that I worked three years as a teacher at a private English school, I have just discovered that academically we should call this sphere as “private supplementary tutoring”. After I had explored different materials on this topic, I came to the inference that I had better share it with others. Although private tutoring takes place in almost all academic subjects, I will mostly focus on English because of my work experience. It was Mark Bray who pinpointed this kind of tutoring and investigated it extensively.

What is private supplementary tutoring?

Private supplementary tutoring is delineated as a tutoring provided on an additional basis, and it is a part of shadow education system (Bray, 1999). The reasons why this tutoring is called shadow are that its existence depends on the existence of the mainstream education system; if changes take place in the mainstream system, so do in shadow education; and public’s attention is mostly focused on mainstream than shadow (Bray & Seng, 2005). Questions such as “Why do people should hire private educators?”, “How necessary is it?” or “Why do teacher go for teaching in private schools, not in mainstream ones?” might emerge.

The reason for private tutoring might be the poor quality of mainstream education, however, it is not the only one explanation. There are several reasons why teachers or students take private tutoring.

For one thing, it forms subsistence of the tutors, who might be mainstream teachers who would like to make extra income, students, former teachers who are retired, etc. Furthermore, as a former teacher, I can state that it is easier to get a job in private schools than in state ones, which requires at least three years of work experience. Also, it is a good opportunity for students with high academic achievement, as they can teach their contemporaries who have challenges in a subject (Camenson, 2001). So, private tutoring can be a well-paid part-time job.

There are various reasons as well why schoolchildren opt to visit private courses. Usually, parents who are concerned about their children’s academic achievements decide to hire a private tutor. There might be cases when children wish to attend courses only because their fellows do that (Silova, Budiene & Bray, 2006). In my work experience, I met a lot of people who attended private courses because of the poor quality of teaching at a school, and because they would like to have a better understanding of the school topic privately, not in a class where there are 20-25 students.

Have you ever been taught by or worked as a private instructor? What was the reason for that?


Bray, M. (1999). The Shadow Education System: Private Tutoring and its Implications for Planners.Paris: UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning.

Bray, M., Seng, B. (2005). Balancing the Books: Household Financing of Basic Education in Cambodia. Hong Kong: Comparative Education Research Centre, The University of Hong Kong, and Washington DC.

Silova, I., Budiene, V., & Bray, M. (2006). Education in a hidden marketplace: monitoring of private tutoring: overview and country reports: Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Georgia, Lithuania, Mongolia, Poland, Slovakia, Ukraine: education support program of the Open Society Institute Network of Education Policy Centers. New York: Open Society Institute.

Camenson, B. (2001). Careers in Foreign Languages. Blacklick, OH, USA: McGraw-Hill Trade.



Be like a сoach Carter


“I came to coach basketball players, and you became students. I came to teach boys, and you became men”, said coach Ken Carter to his basketball team. This quote is from the movie I saw three weeks ago. Then I started making research on the movie and found out that it is based on a real life story. He is not a subject teacher; he is just a coach of school basketball team. However, he is curious about his team players’ trainings as well as their study. His reverential attitude towards students’ future made me feeling amazed because at school his primary task is just to train that team.

My school experience is not a script for shooting a film. The classmates’ prosperous tomorrow and mine were only in the parents’ interests. But, I do not claim that all the school teachers were egregious or gave me poor knowledge. No, they were not. No, they did not. I think, any experience is a good experience that we can put to work. I try to apply everything I heard, did and met. But, when I see such teachers with deep inspiration inside themselves to be more than just a person who checks home tasks and stands by the blackboard, I am eager to be a part of such community especially as a student. Fortunately, at the moment I am facing such fascinating teachers who give us profound knowledge and partly take interest in students’ future intentions and goals.

There should be such teachers as a coach Carter, because a teacher is an impetus for every child starting from the school. He takes small “seeds” called children and waters them, but the way he waters influences children’s world perception. Teachers should be those ones who elevate children’s desire to be a nice person, to be successful pair of hands that like a propeller forces evolution at least within the country. Such teachers are inscribed in children’s memory and turn round their education for the better.

What about your school experience? Could you share with us?

By the way, have you seen that movie called “Coach Carter”? How do you feel about it?


There are more than 6.000 languages in the world and each of them is unique and beautiful. However, sometimes we are not able to see this uniqueness and beauty of every language because there are some notions that cannot be translated into other languages. Even if we translate it, with one word or even with a sentence, the translation does not deliver the exact meaning of the word or loses its meaning.

Kazakh language is full of such kind of notions. Most of them convey deep meaning. Perhaps, in order to understand its meaning, you need to be Kazakh or live in Kazakhstan for a long time. For example, “береке” it is not just “affluence”, “абырой” it is not just “honor”, “жаным” it is not just “my soul” and this list might be endless. However, the most delicate word that belongs to such kind of words is “айналайын”.

If to translate it directly into English, it means “I circle around you”, but it is not at all. In fact, it is caressing appeal of a mother to her child, a grandmother to her grandchild, or a sister to her little brother or sister and is used when they want to divulge their feeling of love, when they show solicitude and tenderness, or when they want to pass on some advice. In addition, the word reveals indescribable feeling that belongs to Kazakh nation or Kazakhstani people.

On the other hand, existing such a word revels the nature of Kazakhs and people who live in Kazakhstan for a long time. For instance, the usage of “айналайын” among family members indicate that people, to whom the word belongs, highly evaluate the relationship between relatives and highly respect the value of mother love. In other words, such kind of unique words demonstrates to WHAT KIND OF PEOPLE it belongs and WHAT THEY VALUE.

There may be such kind of words that contain feelings, notions, concepts, or phenomena that belong only to a particular nation or county and cannot be translated. And these particular words create the identity of the language. Therefore, we cannot allow even indigenous languages die in order to safe that feelings and notions of those people to whom these languages belong as these words are part of their soul and identity. Without them, these people will also die, spiritually.