Reviews of National Policies for Education

1990-0198 (en ligne)
1563-4914 (imprimé)
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Reviews of National Policies for Education offer customised, in-depth analysis and advice to assist policy makers in developing and implementing education policy. Individual reviews can focus on a specific policy area, a particular level of education or a country’s entire education system. These reviews are conducted at the request of the country concerned.

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Reviews of National Policies for Education: Secondary Education in Kazakhstan

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21 jan 2014
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9789264205208 (PDF) ;9789264205215(imprimé)

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This report evaluates the education reform agenda of Kazakhstan – its feasibility and focus – by taking stock of present-day strengths and weaknesses of the secondary education system. The report also provides guidance on adjusting the reform implementation plans in line with international experiences and best practices regarding educational change, and consolidates much of the previously dispersed (national) data on primary and secondary schools in Kazakhstan  into a common analytical base of evidence, validated by the education authorities.

Chapter 1 of this report provides an overview of the country, it education system and reform plans. Subsequent chapters provide analysis of and recommendations on equity and effectiveness of schooling; assessment and evaluation practices; policies for teachers and principals; expenditure patterns and financing mechanisms; vocational education and training; and a summary of the recommendations.

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  • Foreword

    This first OECD review of policies for secondary education in the Republic of Kazakhstan was requested by the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan as part of the process of deepening co-operation with the OECD in key areas of development, such as education. The purpose of the review is to evaluate the education reform agenda – its feasibility and focus – by taking stock of present-day strengths and weaknesses of the secondary education system of Kazakhstan. The review also seeks to provide, where needed and possible, guidance on adjusting the reform implementation plans in line with international experiences and best practices regarding educational change.

  • Acronyms
  • Executive summary

    Kazakhstan is an upper-middle income economy located in Central Asia and the 9th largest country in the world by land surface. In 2011 the population of Kazakhstan counted 16.4 million people of which a quarter was 14 years old or younger.

  • Overview of the education system of Kazakhstan

    Chapter 1 sets the context for the report by providing a general overview of Kazakhstan’s political and demographic structure, linguistic make up and economic and labour market indicators. It describes the national education system and its anticipated reform trajectory and provides a snapshot of Kazakhstan’s performance in international assessments such as the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). Finally, it gives the rationale for the OECD review of secondary education.

  • Equity and effectiveness of schooling in Kazakhstan

    Chapter 2 provides analysis and recommendations on equity of education in Kazakhstan and on improving the effectiveness of learning in its schools. It assesses the educational opportunities in urban vs. rural areas, those of gifted students vs. those who struggle academically, and the impact of language and socio-economic background on learning outcomes. The chapter discusses also provision for children with special educational needs, the organisation of schooling and the learning environment, the role of parents and the curriculum, as well as the plans for transition to 12 years of schooling.

  • Assessment of learning outcomes and teaching quality in Kazakhstan

    Chapter 3 looks at the three principal ways of assessing learning outcomes in formal education in Kazakhstan: assessment by (class) teachers; external assessment at the end of the 9th grade; and the Unified National Test (UNT) – a standardised test administered at the end of grade 11 which serves as both school leaving exam and admission exam to post-secondary (tertiary and non-tertiary) education. The chapter also offers an analysis of the Complex Test (CT) which is taken by certain categories of students who did not attend upper secondary school but who wish to enrol at university. The chapter then suggests improvements in the quality, relevance and frequency of assessment (both classroom and external) and emphasizes the need for better use of assessment results.

  • Good policies for better teachers and school leadership in Kazakhstan

    Chapter 4 provides a profile of the teaching force of Kazakhstan – education attainment, age, gender and remuneration – and compares it to other systems. It gives an analysis of recent efforts to upgrade the quality of teachers and discusses the barriers to change that the country faces, particularly in rural areas, to provide children in Kazakhstan with good quality teaching. Further, the chapter offers a description of the pre- and in-service training of teachers and efforts made to attract higher level applicants to system with comparisons to successful programmes in other countries. It also looks at the conditions of work of school principals, discusses their importance for educational change in Kazakhstan, and looks at the role of teachers in policy formulation. The chapter concludes with recommendations on improving policies for teachers and school leadership.

  • Education expenditure and financing mechanisms in Kazakhstan

    Chapter 5 provides an overview of the macroeconomic context in which financing for education in Kazakhstan takes place, discusses current and historic expenditure on education in the country and benchmarks it against other countries, and analyses resource allocations for education reform vs. need for resources in the public school network. The chapter further discusses the current financing mechanisms and the plans of the State authorities to introduce per capita funding to remedy their shortcomings. It provides recommendations on adjusting expenditure levels, the pace and focus of reform plans and spending priorities. Last but not least, it consolidates large number of data and information on expenditure from various national sources into a single source of evidence on the current state of play.

  • Vocational education and training in Kazakhstan

    Chapter 6 presents the VET system of Kazakhstan – its mandate, set-up and governance, and outlines some of the challenges the sector is facing, such as low prestige of VET education, low quality of student intake, limited relevance of study content, and lack of highly trained teachers. The chapter provides an overview of planned reforms for VET and discusses the comprehensive role assigned to the new holding company "Kasipkor" in kick-starting wide-reaching modernisation and innovation in VET in Kazakhstan, including the establishment of close partnerships with the private sector.

  • Recommendations of the OECD review of secondary education in Kazakhstan

    The last chapter of this report contains a summary of recommendations and suggestions for follow-up in the areas covered by the OECD review: quality and equity of education, assessment and evaluation practices, policies for teachers and principals and expenditure and financing mechanisms. In view of the forthcoming OECD review of vocational education and training (VET) in the Republic of Kazakhstan, this chapter does not contain recommendations on VET.

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