Kazakhstan

Building on a successful pilot in the city of Karaganda, Kazakhstan has developed a network of resource centres to improve educational quality in smaller schools. While Kazakhstan’s school network provides extensive geographical coverage, there have been challenges in ensuring high-quality learning in small-class schools, many of which are in rural areas. Resource centres are mostly based in large, well-resourced schools and provide support to three or four satellite schools within their vicinity. Support includes special teaching sessions for students at the end of lower-secondary education (grades 8 and 9) that take place at the resource centres. Students from small-class schools take part in three two-week sessions during the school year and receive remote support between these face-to-face sessions. Students are assessed in the first and last session, allowing teachers to tailor the content to their needs and monitor progress over the year. Other support efforts target teachers through providing assistance with specific pedagogical challenges and professional development. Staff from across the network of centres collaborate, including through a regular webinar in which they identify common challenges in delivering support to teachers and co-develop possible solutions.

The OECD has highlighted the potential of the resource centres to address disparities between larger and smaller schools. It has found that the initiative is responsive to student needs and promotes collaboration between different types of schools. To harness the full potential of the initiative, the OECD recommended expanding the network of resource centres and increasing the scope of the support that they provide. In particular, the report identified a need to deepen the collaboration between highly skilled teachers in the resource centres and those in the small-class schools (OECD/The World Bank, 2015[6]).

Further reading: OECD (2021[7]), Education Policy Outlook: Kazakhstan, https://www.oecd.org/education/Education-Policy-Outlook-Country-Profile-Kazakhstan-2018.pdf; OECD/The World Bank (2015[6]), OECD Reviews of School Resources: Kazakhstan 2015, OECD Reviews of School Resources, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264245891-en.

Kazakhstan announced a new digital education project in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. The project applies to all levels of the education system and aims to train over 3 million digital specialists across all economic sectors by 2030. In order to do so, it focuses on ongoing changes in the demand for labour and skills and the digital skills deficit identified by international surveys such as the International Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC) and the International Computer and Information Literacy Study (ICILS). A new digital literacy curriculum will be introduced. Whereas the previous ICT curriculum began in grade 7, under these changes, starting at grade 1, students will study topics such as algorithms and information hygiene and security from 2021. Students from grade 3 upwards will learn coding, 3D printing, and robotics. In 2020/21, Kazakhstan implemented 31 new programmes in leading VET colleges to train specialists for the digital industry. In higher education, ICT programmes were updated according to professional standards. In addition, the Open University of Kazakhstan – a newly developed online platform – provides a range of MOOCs with the support of 63 higher education institutions. The programme is supported by ongoing efforts to bring high-speed Internet connection to larger numbers of schools and rural communities.

Further reading: Office of the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan (2020[8]), By 2030, educational institutions of Kazakhstan will train over 3 million specialists of new formation, https://primeminister.kz/en/news/k-2030-godu-uchebnye-zavedeniya-kazahstana-budut-gotovit-bolee-3-mln-specialistov-novoy-formacii-mon-rk-305310 (accessed on 1 April 2021).

References

OECD (2021), The State of School Education: One Year into the COVID Pandemic, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/201dde84-en. [7]

OECD (2020), Learning remotely when schools close: How well are students and schools prepared? Insights from PISA, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/3bfda1f7-en. [2]

OECD (2020), TALIS 2018 Results (Volume II): Teachers and School Leaders as Valued Professionals, TALIS, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/19cf08df-en. [1]

OECD (2019), PISA 2018 Results (Volume II): Where All Students Can Succeed, PISA, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/b5fd1b8f-en. [4]

OECD (2019), PISA 2018 Results (Volume III): What School Life Means for Students’ Lives, PISA, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/acd78851-en. [5]

OECD (2019), TALIS 2018 Results (Volume I): Teachers and School Leaders as Lifelong Learners, TALIS, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/1d0bc92a-en. [3]

OECD/The World Bank (2015), OECD Reviews of School Resources: Kazakhstan 2015, OECD Reviews of School Resources, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264245891-en. [6]

Office of the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan (2020), By 2030, educational institutions of Kazakhstan will train over 3 million specialists of new formation, https://primeminister.kz/en/news/k-2030-godu-uchebnye-zavedeniya-kazahstana-budut-gotovit-bolee-3-mln-specialistov-novoy-formacii-mon-rk-305310 (accessed on 1 April 2021). [8]

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