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Administration, Finance, & Educational Research

As independent Kazakhstan faced the imperative of constructing a new structure of governance, it almost followed the pattern of the USSR in establishing a separate Ministry of Education. However, given the limited budget potentials, and the reduced size of the educational system, the Ministry was united with the ministerial structures, which are responsible for culture and health. In 1999, the President of the Republic reformed the government and created the Ministry of Education and Science, which adopts major decisions about educational policies, goals, national standards, finances, and personnel. The Ministry focuses mainly on control rather than leadership, supervision, and evaluation. At the state level, and in the big cities of Akmola and Almaty, the system is administered by the Board of Education and at the district level of by the Department of Education.

When part of the Soviet Union, the system of education in Kazakhstan was operated on a highly centralized planning basis. The major function of the KazSSR Ministry of Education lay in controlling the implementation of the constitutional provisions on education, Communist Party of the Soviet Union ideological guidelines, and orders of the USSR Ministry of Education. While the USSR Ministry of Education developed goals, policies, and the larger part, about 70 percent of the school curriculum, the republican Ministry was responsible for developing about 30 percent of curriculum which included history, literature, language, geography, and culture of Kazakhstan. Parents, governing bodies, and school administrators and teachers had limited authority over decisions about curriculum at the lower local level. Such a centralized system created more uniformity, and deprived teachers an opportunity to adjust schooling to local and individual differences. The administration system still resembles that of the USSR, even though some transformations have been made.

The financial support to the system of public education comes mainly by the national budget. In 1999, some 15 percent of total spending was allotted to education. It is a big increase after the fiscal crisis of the first half of the 1990s when spending fell to 3.1 percent. Additional financial assistance has been provided by International Monetary Fund, World Bank, IREX, American Council of Teachers of Russian, Asian Bank of Development, as well as by various private companies and public organizations from the Arab world. In order to overcome financial shortage, some educational institutions began renting their buildings to private businesses.

The rapid development of science and research in Kazakhstan took place during World War II when many research institutions and scholars were evacuated from the European part of the Soviet Union to the republic. The scientific potential grew so high that, in 1946, the Academy of Sciences of KazSSR was founded, and a network of research institutions developed.

Prior to the country's independence, most of the scientific and technical potential of Kazakhstan was integrated in the much larger and elaborate scientific entities and structures of the former Soviet Union. In the 1990s, the Republic faced a task to reassess its relation and relevance to the former scientific programs and projects, its financial potentials, and the new needs and research agendas of the country. Given the conditions of an allembracing disintegration of the organizational pattern of science, its Kazakhstani contingent suffered a serious destruction. Over the period of 1991-1993, as a consequence of sharply reduced funding of scientific institutions, the number of scholars engaged in research decreased dramatically.

In Soviet Kazakhstan, the substantial amount of educational research work was conducted in the KazSSR Scientific Research Institute of Pedagogy which, after independence, obtained the status of the National Academy of Education. A great number of research projects have been carried out in universities and pedagogical institutes, which are the major teacher training institutions. In 1999 alone, three new research institutes on the problems of education and upbringing were initiated in Kazakhstan: the Institute of Preschool Education in Semipalatinsk State University; the Institute of Higher Education in L.Gumilev Eurasian University; and the Institute of Upbringing under the auspices of National Academy of Education. The institutes set the task to provide the schools of Kazakhstan with textbooks that reflect new challenges of school democratization, humanistic education, multiculturalism, and search for national identities of Kazakhstani people.

Kazakhstan launched a number of projects in experimenting with new approaches in education. In the Republic, 250 schools have been given a status of an experimental site: 46 of them work on curriculum reform; 32 schools research new pedagogical techniques; 31 develop alternative management structures; 55 apply new module technologies; 32 introduce ideas of developmental psychologists V. Davydov, B. Elkonin, and L. Vygoysky; and 46 develop strategies of ethno cultural education. It is too early to evaluate their impact on public system of education.

Additional topics

Education - Free Encyclopedia Search EngineGlobal Education ReferenceKazakhstan - History Background, Constitutional Legal Foundations, Educational System—overview, Preprimary Primary Education, Secondary Education