Archive for December 26, 2010

My Main Goals for Teaching in KZ (Part II)

The following is a continuation of what I wrote in yesterday’s blog about my mail goals for teaching in Kazakhstan.  Hopefully my logic will be convincing and compelling enough for those in the Ministry of Education and to help justify what exactly I am doing here in Kazakhstan.  (If you have read my most recent posts, you will see I used data I gathered from my on-line surveys that I conducted with my expat friends but also with my Kazakh colleagues.)

“The President of Kazakhstan stated in a December 7, 2010 address to the New University student body that even at the time of the fall of the Soviet Union, it was already behind the rest of the western world by 50 years.  Twenty years have passed since Kazakhstan became its own independent nation and the catching up to become one of the top 50 nations in the competitive world of business and trade will take much hard work and wise decisions in the area of education.  However, to achieve this goal by 2030 is only twenty years away and significant progress must be made at the teacher’s level in primary and secondary levels.  Unfortunately, the pedagogical institutes have not been equipped to keep up and are still working on an outdated template.

Of course, it is clearly understood that all this takes time. Those in power  to make weighty decisions need to concede to the changing of times and acquiesce to the use of modern technology.  I did an online survey with 26 of my expat friends.  12% have lived in KZ for less than half a year, 23% for one year, 23% for 2-3 years, 8% for 4-5 years, 12% for over 5 years and 8% over 10 years and another 14% had various answers.  One person stated the following:

“Kazakhstan has wonderful people and a great deal of potential.  Still the process of establishing a nation is a great task.  Most Kazakhs are unaware of all the challenges that the U.S. has overcome to be where it is today.  It did not happen in 50, 100 or ever 150 years.”

Most of my friends of the 26 surveyed are from the U.S. but several were from Canada, U.K. Netherlands, Germany, and other places.  Of these people, they answered my anonymous online survey in the following way to this question: “Kazakhstan will reach its goal to be one of the top countries by the year 2030.”

15% – most definitely

38% – maybe

19% – no

4% – never heard of this goal

Another 24% had their own comments to this question:

“Will depend on how the current government handles issues such as bribery and disparity of incomes.”

“I hope they will manage to spread the wealth among all citizens and not just a few well-connected people.”

“Depends all on the economic situation of the country, Kazakhstan is too dependent on oil and gas, if prices drop, this can hit the country as a whole.”

“Many changes are needed to achieve this goal.”

I believe the changes that are needed are those in education. That is why an achievable goal is to eventually have a Masters degree program for the Kazakh teachers so they are better equipped to teach modern technologies to their students.  These four courses are merely a certificate program that can be thought of as a pilot project to eventually turn into an MA degree program.  Some Kazakh teachers are very much prepared to make the necessary changes in order to fulfill the goals of Kazakhstan’s President and the Ministry of Education.  I believe from the caliber that I’ve seen, that the teachers I have taught and worked with are very capable. Once they learn some different teaching methods, it will have a tremendous ripple effect with the Kazakh students, hopefully throughout this country.”

(to be continued)

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