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OECD Reviews of School Resources: Kazakhstan 2015

image of OECD Reviews of School Resources: Kazakhstan 2015

The effective use of school resources is a policy priority across OECD countries. The OECD Reviews of School Resources explore how resources can be governed, distributed, utilised and managed to improve the quality, equity and efficiency of school education.

The series considers four types of resources: financial resources, such as public funding of individual schools; human resources, such as teachers, school leaders, education administrators; physical resources, such as location, buildings and equipment, and other resources such as learning time.

This series will offer timely policy advice to both governments and the education community. It will include both country reports and thematic studies.

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School resource distribution in Kazakhstan

The distribution of resources to schools is currently decided on a discretionary and incremental basis by rayons in consideration of national norms. This is in parallel with plans to introduce a new per-capita funding model, following a pilot phase, an important step towards a more efficient and equitable school funding scheme. However, the new school funding model has not been thoroughly analysed, requires further development and the original timeline for its implementation was too tight. A distinctive feature of the school network is its large geographical coverage as a result of a strong policy to ensure universal access to compulsory schooling. It is populated with a large number of small-class schools, which might not be the most cost-effective option to deliver education services in rural and remote areas. In addition, students in small-class schools tend to suffer from poorer learning environments. Regarding the teaching workforce, current student-teacher ratios indicate that there might be some oversupply of teachers in the system. The conception of teacher employment, whereby basic compensation is associated purely to the teacher’s teaching load (stavka system), is a source of concern as it does not appropriately recognise the many tasks a teacher accomplishes beyond teaching and reduces his or her engagement in school activities. Another aspect reducing the professionalism of teachers is the absence of teaching standards. Also, the distribution of resources is limited in the extent to which it takes account of the specific needs of students or schools. The concept of inclusive education narrowly focuses on disabilities and more extreme socio-economic conditions and results in a relatively small number of students entitled to receive extra support. For example, there is no systematic policy to support students who are falling behind. This is in contrast with the overemphasis placed on top-performing students. Also, schools in Kazakhstan appear to be making slow progress in accommodating children with disabilities. Finally, in recent years, Kazakhstan’s government undertook significant efforts to upgrade school infrastructure. This is in response to a previous chronic underinvestment in maintenance of schools, which left many buildings in need of modernisation.

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