The Improvement of Quality of Primary and Secondary Education in Kazakhstan
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One of the Sustainable Development Goals of The United Nations is “Quality Education”, of which a major objective is to “ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning.” According to this goal, “obtaining a quality education is the foundation to improving people’s lives and sustainable development” (UNDP, 2012) Most countries understand that education should be a high priority in national policy and spend a lot of effort to improve its quality, and Kazakhstan is not an exception. The Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan has demonstrated a commitment to develop its education system by reforming existing policy, adopting new laws, identifying best practices, and implementing them in Kazakhstani society (Appendixes A, B). As a result, education performance in Kazakhstan has consistently improved in recent years. For example, in 2012, Kazakhstan moved upward ten positions, from 59th place to 49th place, in the ranking of the OECD countries participating in the Program for International Student assessment (PISA) (National Report of MES, 2013). In 2010 and 2011, Kazakhstan was ranked first on UNESCO’s "Education for All" Index, reaching 99% attendance for primary education, 92% attendance for secondary education, 99.6% for general adult literacy, and 99.3% for gender equality (NCESA, 2013). However, according to the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) and Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), the scores of Kazakh students are below average scores for OECD countries. Moreover, a cross-regional comparison of educational achievement in the PISA 2012 reveals low scores in rural schools. The percentage of completion of test on math scores and reading literacy in rural areas in 2012 was 8-10% below the national average (OECD Report, 2012). Additionally, our multilinear regression analysis provided further evidence that quality of education in rural schools is a major weakness of the Kazakh education system. The main objective of this project is to identify key factors that are associated with the quality of primary and secondary education in Kazakhstan and offer a set of recommendations for how to improve the quality of education. The main policy question of this study is whether thenational government of Kazakhstan can design and implement to strengthen the outcomes of primary and secondary education. This project analyzes the root causes of existing low performance of primary and secondary education students in rural areas of Kazakhstan. Primary and secondary school is an important channel through which young people acquire skills that improve opportunities for better jobs and quality of life. Rural youth in Kazakhstan are performing significantly lower than other youth in the country, which decreases their opportunities for social and economic development. Thus, the quality of education in Kazakhstan – particularly in rural areas - is an important topic for consideration. Based on our analysis of international case studies and the Kazakhstani national education system, the authors propose some recommendations for improving the quality of education in the Republic of Kazakhstan. Recommendations for improving the quality of primary and secondary education in Kazakhstan include: a) Focusing on improving teacher quality and ensuring that every child benefits from high-quality instruction; b) Improving mechanisms for teacher recruitment; c) Engaging coaches to support teachers and enable teachers to learn from each other; d) Introducing a rotational system for teachers; e) Creating excellent primary and secondary schools in rural areas with involvement from the private sector; f) Establishing high-quality curricula and extra-curricular activities; g) Adopting more effective ways of learning through technology. Consultancy group believes that implementation of these recommendations will improve the quality of primary and secondary education in Kazakhstan.
Department of Strategy The Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan Cornell Institute for Public Affairs- Cornell University
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