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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 utilisation in Kazakhstan

In Kazakhstan, school leadership responsibilities are formally distributed and include instructional leadership. This is dictated by the established norms, which recognise that strategic and pedagogical leadership cannot be exercised over time by one person alone. In practice, however, the level of interaction and shared vision among members of school leadership teams observed by the review team suggest that a hierarchic model prevails over a flatter distributed leadership structure. Also, there is no systematic approach to school leadership development and few opportunities exist to take up training. A positive aspect is that students rarely repeat a year in Kazakhstan. There are some support strategies to address the learning gaps during the school year, for example through remedial after-school activities. However, the review team found little evidence of the provision of early support to avoid students falling behind, with personalised and intensive intervention. Furthermore, in Kazakhstan, classes are orderly, without loss of time for student behaviour or teacher absenteeism. The official instructional time is provided with few disruptions and complemented with widespread after-school activities. However, there are some concerns about the management of instructional time: multi-shift teaching, which is prevalent in Kazakhstan, might reduce the official instructional time; the school calendar is not adjusted to local conditions and needs; and instructional time for students in primary grades may be inadequate for students who come from disadvantaged backgrounds. Moreover, there are concerns that the current framework for teacher professional development is not responding adequately to teachers’ needs: there is little flexibility in the current provision; it is unclear whether adequate learning opportunities for teachers are available; and incentives to engage in professional development seem to be increasingly related to salary increases and career advancement. Finally, Kazakhstan shows a clear commitment to external accountability based around school evaluation with a regular cycle of external school evaluations (school attestation) and a formal certification process for teachers (teacher attestation). However, the review team formed the impression that there is an over-emphasis on the accountability function of both teacher evaluation and school evaluation, with less attention paid to genuine professional discussions about effective teaching.

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