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Kazakhstan: Educational deadlock

Categories: Central Asia & Caucasus, Kazakhstan, Education, Governance, Science

Translation of the Adam's post [1]

Two popular Kazakhstani bloggers – dass [2] and megakhuimyak [3] – are discussing the problems of education these days. The first is concerned over this topic because he's got a school-age son, and the latter is worried because he is delivering lectures at the unversity.

Today at the lecture only 2 out of 9 students failed to multiply 500 by 1,5. One has got 550, another has derived 1250. This is the last yea undergrads of one of the country's best universities, specialty – “Economy of public construction”. They are unable to do the maths that are solved in the 3rd class of a secondary school. I think this is a natural result of the education reform in the country. I'm still shocked.

writes [4] megakhuimyak [ru].

Dass reflects [5] how it is possible to improve the procedure of the secondary school graduates’ admission to the universities of Kazakhstan and Russia [ru]:

I uphold the tests system at admission as a more transparent criteria comparing to the personal examination. At the same time, tests are like a lottery. That's why I am excited over the novelty in Russia – according to it, winners of the school Olympiads [knowledge competition between the pupils on a particular discipline] are to be granted free of charge – and free of admission tests – higher education.

In another post [6] he comes up with an interesting idea of an entertainment and educational TV project – a reality show, aimed at stimulation of studying Kazakh language [ru]:

Imagine an isolated and constantly watched space, a team of 10 people having various age and professions. In order to win they have to unite and solve some problem with numerous intermediate tasks. 5 individuals speak only Kazakh, and the rest – only Russian. The monolingual participants cannot win (all tasks are given as a mixture of Kazakh and Russian words), they have to learn how to communicate with each other.

And megakhuimyak tells [7] a bitterly funny story about quick wit of the Kazakhstani Ph.D. students [ru]:

In Kazakhstan they have started checking the dissertations for plagiarism – 8 years after all civilized countries and against the background of mass download of theses from the Internet. However, the system is rather lame – it does not distinguish Cyrillic and Latin symbols. So, the plagiarists simply change the letter that looks identically in Cyrillic and Latin like “с” in the whole text. And the software does not see the same excerpts.

Also posted on neweurasia [8]