I started this Kazakhnomad blog almost four years ago when I returned to Kazakhstan after a gap of 15 years. My intention was to inform a western readership about this amazing country…the good and the bad. If you read the following articulate comments written by Kazakhs, you will see that my base of readers is perhaps not as western as I first thought. I have had comments from Dutch, French, German, Spanish, British, etc. When looking at my daily hits I can also tell that my blog readers are from Italy, China, Singapore, Japan, Korea, etc. What I value most are the comments from the Kazakhs and Kazakhstanis who can inform me about their country. See what you think and feel free to comment…
The following is from one of my former students, naturally she would be flattering. Read tomorrow’s blog entry and there are some contrary comments:
“I like reading your blog. You write so many useful and educating things. My part of work is so easy, I just read what you have analyzed for hours so even days or years. You bring us a ready dish just to swallow. Reading your topics I even wonder: ”How do you find time and power for all of these?” Concerning the above given quotes I want to add that we also have this proverb “It is better to see once than hear 1000 times”. I think some of suchlike quotes are common for all Central Asian countries. Waiting for your next blog and anecdotes.”
“Hopeful view, I’d really like to think in a similar way, but I don’t. A metaphor. If we see education as a house, there was an imperfect but a solid house built at the time Kazakhstan was part of Russia, then the USSR. Since the independence, education has never been on top 1000 list of priorities of the country’s leaders. Too bad so sad, they said. C’est la vie. Now the house is half-broken half-deserted only a pitiful reminder of the past glory, quality and strength. It’s leaking everywhere, the water, heating and sewage systems work sporadically if they do. Power comes on and off. Basically it’s rapidly deteriorating and is nearing a collapse. A complete rehaul is required. If it had been properly maintained, repaired, reinforced and added to, then it would be the same house or even better, but, alas, now it’s in a really, really bad shape comparing to what it used to be.
Yes, too bad they’re beautifying the tip of the iceberg whereas the bottom part is quickly melting away…”
“Glad to hear such praise about our younger generation. I was a bit pessimistic about the way they are, but you actually gave me some hope and a reason to be proud.”
The following is from another commenter about education in Kazakhstan:
“Yes, teachers are low paid in KZ, it doesn’t matter university or school teachers. I don’t think that there are teachers who work unpaid, at least their salary is government based, so it is paid on time. But nowadays problem of downsizing, every government budget based organization are dismissing their employees, so the others who remain has to work twice. That means much stress, because I think most difficult part of being teacher or for ex: doctor not teach many students or observe many many patients, but the paperwork that has to be done. This takes more time then their direct job duties.”
Bribery and Corruption
“Interesting. Yes, even in the Kazakh army the high-ranking officers force soldiers to build their houses… It’s terrible. There wasn’t much of such shameful exploitation of the vulnerable in the USSR times… It would be something out of the ordinary if something like that happened. The educational system was way, way better at the time. Both of my parents are retired university professors. Many things that you can see happening these days are uniquely Kazakhstan or post-Soviet phenomena rather than rudiments of the socialist system.
And I agree that people in ex-USSR do not trust each other. In the West, the people tend to trust each other except when they see a reason not to. In ex-USSR, people tend not to trust each other except they have firmly proven their trustworthiness to you.”
(to be continued )