Central Asian Thoughts on Education

Education is so important in order to move ahead in the world and Kazakhstan has an ambitious goal to achieve a status in 20 years where they would be ranked among the top 50 developed nations.  I have seen the Kazakhs make strides from what this country inherited nearly 20 years ago when the former Soviet Union collapsed.  Many people are working on this new university in Astana and I marvel at the speed with which it is being put together.  Many hours of hard labor are coming up, but the groundwork has been laid, we are pressing ahead.  Space and time, space and time, space and time, a new dimension is being envisioned. I believe the Kazakhs will succeed because they have both the space to build and have been around for a long time.

I saw an expression the other day that I think is appropriate about space and time:  The British think that 100 miles is a long distance, Americans think a 100 years is a long time ago.”

Ropo Oguntimehin “Education is a companion which no future can depress, no crime can destroy, no enemy can alienate it and nepotism can enslave.”

“Good teachers teach, but the best ones inspire.”

“Nothing is impossible for a willing heart.”

Thomas Carlyle “Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragement, and impossibilities: It is this, that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak.”

“Education costs much, the lack of education costs much more.”

Socrates: “Who wants, searches for the reasons, who wants, searches for ways.”

Albert Einstein: “Only a life for others is a life worthwhile.”

“Your actions speak so loud that I can’t hear what you are saying.”

Albert Schweitzer: “Example is not the main thing in influencing others, it is the only thing.”

“If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got.”

“Once upon a time there lived a man who was deeply respected and incredibly rich, but really unhappy.  And one day he decided to turn for help to Solomon, who was fairly considered one of the wisest men on Earth.

When the man came, he found Solomon looking at fish in the pond, and then he complained, “Oh Solomon, I am in confusion, every new day of my life is like the previous one, I cannot distinguish dawn from sunset and I do not feel happy anymore.”

Solomon fell to thinking for a while and answered then, “A great many people dream to be in your position, live in such a gorgeous house and own all the riches you have.  I wonder, what dream do you have?”

A bit hesitating, the man answered: “In the beginning, I dreamt about my releasing out of slavery.  After I had been released, I wanted my trade to be of great receipts.  But now, it seems to me, there is already nothing to dream about.”

“A man who has not a dream can be compared with the fish, splashing in this pond” Solomon said, “Fish also cannot distinguish what day it is and if it is sunset or dawn.  All the days of fish existence are the same and they do not know what happiness is.”

After these words, he added: “But unlike fish, you locked yourself in your “pond” by your own will. If there is not any good purpose in your life, you will roam your house and when the time to die comes, you will realize that you idled away all your life.  And on the opposite, if you have a certain goal, your life will fill with excitement and fervour…”

4 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    batirkhan said,

    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 independance, 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

  2. 2

    kazaknomad said,

    I think you are VERY accurate in your metaphor about education in KZ. However, the Ministry of Education and the KZ president is trying to do something about it with the Bolashak program and the new university in Astana. Yet perhaps it is wishful thinking and merely a drop in the proverbial bucket when the masses in the rural areas need to be educated as well.

    An educated people means a better economy and a better economy makes sure the people get their education. Maybe what you see going on in Astana is just a smoke screen of what the government would really like to have. You canNOT pretend that you are educated according to the western ways of teaching. The proof is in the pudding. We will know 10-20 years from now if the Ministry of Ed and president really accomplished their goals or if they are just going through the motions with corruption and bribery continuing.

  3. 3

    batirkhan said,

    Yes, too bad they’re butifying the tip of the iceberg whereas the bottom part is quickly melting away…

  4. 4

    kazaknomad said,

    Another helpful metaphor, thanks!

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