“Competence of a Nation” Part II

The following quotes are from two women from Pavlador, in northern Kazakhstan. They are in their mid-20s, and have their own views about education which helps explain what is currently happening in Kazakhstan.

“There is an opinion that “Pedagogic as a science has not been born yet.” The Student of today is not the same as he/she was a hundred or even twenty years ago.  It means pedagogy must change and develop together with the student….Problems of education in the twenty-first century and new millennium become priority target in the whole world because they define the future of each country separately and the planet at large.  Teacher’s activity has never been so difficult, never competed with global informational system.  In connection with it, there is a keen necessity to help school teachers to orient in tendencies of Global Education development and modern demands to education.  Education of today is making completely different demands to teachers.

The first president of Kazakhstan entered such definition as “Competence of a Nation.”  I think competence of the country defines that prosperous conditions promoting competence of each person.  Following the statement, “If you want to change the world, change yourself.” Everyone should achieve better results and be the winner.  Our competence in general taken together will be national wealth.  There is a deep sense in it.  Kazakhstan has not only mercantile interests but spirit enrichment of a nation.  As I am a citizen of Kazakshtan, I should and want to contribute to the development of my country.  Becoming adult, you realize the real sense of the word “patriot,” you realize the real value of the native language.  You try to follow all the traditions and customs.  You appreciate wrinkled faces of old people where all historical events are reflected.  Growth of culture and art, the Kazakh language, traditions and life philosophy will follow prosperity of economics.

During my work at school, I witnessed undesirable teaching styles.  They can be described as following a rigid, chalk-and-talk, teacher centered, lecture driven pedagogy or rote learning.  Such pedagogy places students in a passive role, limiting their activity to memorizing facts and reciting them to the teacher.  It is also reflected in classroom assessment practices…Kazakhstan needs young specialists who will be able to move and change the old trends into the new, progressive ones.”

More thoughts on the present reality in Kazakhstan from another woman from Pavlador:

“The problem of overburdened teachers and bored students is because of the growth in secondary education in recent years.  The result is overcrowded classrooms filled with teenagers from diverse social and cultural backgrounds.  There are two questions that arise:  Whose problem is this and whether the education is the business of the whole world or merely a concern for developing countries?

We lack skilled specialists that can motivate the administration of schools, teachers to display a keen interest in developing, improving the system of special education.  The problem is that of ignorance and big gaps in it are increasing rather than decreasing.”

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