How rural schools in Kazakhstan are changing: real cases of directors

A case session dedicated to problems of rural education has been held at the international conference in the field of new technologies in education, EdCrunch. Speakers of the session included Aralbek Berikuly, the Director of the Kulynjon rural school of East Kazakhstan region, Saule Makhambetova, the Director of the Almalybak village gymnasium of Almaty region, Ainur Kanapiyanova, the Director of the Ayagoz city gymnasium, and Daniyar Toktarbayev, the Director of the Fund for Sustainable Development of Education .

What problems do people who are changing education in rural areas face now? How to solve problems of low professionalism of teachers and professional training, what should a rural school become in the coming years in order to improve the quality of educational services provided? Speakers shared their cases of solving such problems.
According to Saule Makhambetova, the main task of a teacher and school management is to create a comfortable and friendly atmosphere in the school.

“A child should be happy. I think that the potential of a student is revealed in a school where they are comfortable, where they are loved and where everything is honest. The student should understand that they are waiting for him/her at school,” the Director of the Almalybak village school says.

The speaker shared her story, where she faced a difficult situation: angry parents, cynical children who do not share knowledge with their peers, and teachers who have been trained, while not wanting to impart knowledge and skills to students.

“I understood that it is necessary to work with values, that there is no trust between teachers, students and parents. We created a school fitting service, attracted parents, they acted as mentors for our children. Teachers also acted as mentors not only during lessons, but also outside the educational process. Now our community of conscious parents acts as assistants to teachers in the process of upbringing and formation of children,” Saule Makhambetova says.

Ainur Kanapiyanova, the Director of the Ayagoz Gymnasium school, also agrees with her colleague.

“We should not forget about the patriotic upbringing of children. National tradition, native language and knowledge of history remain important components of the education of students,” she added.

Ainur Kanapiyanova also spoke about changes that occurred with the school two years ago. The gymnasium school of Ayagoz became a participant of the project “Development of the Potential of Hub Schools in Rural Areas”, implemented by the Kazakhstan Khalkyna Fund, Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools, the Fund for Sustainable Development of Education and AITAS Holding with the support of the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

“Over the past couple of years, our school has grown a lot in all aspects. Intensive training courses of Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools, with which we work as part of a partnership project, also played an important role in this. Probably, parents of rural school students never thought that their children would be helped from childhood to determine their life mission, goals and make plans for the future. Now the level of the teacher has significantly increased before the eyes of villagers,” Ainur Kanapiyanova notes.
Aralbek Berikuly moved to Kulynjon village in East Kazakhstan region a few years ago and became the director of a small school. In his speech, the speaker shared the principles that guide his work.

“The difference between urban and rural education is very big. The question is not only about the knowledge of teachers, but also about their human qualities. Teachers in villages have always been the most respected. But, unfortunately, sometimes there are facts when teachers gather at school not at all for the purpose of teaching. We eliminated all gatherings at school, the teacher now comes to the lesson in advance. Also, during the survey, we realized that there are teachers who have not read any literature. We also need to work on this and instill a culture of teaching teachers,” Aralbek Berikuly says.

The speaker noted that important values are instilled in schools, which leave a mark on the professional development of a student.

“I would like to create an atmosphere where students were in an emotionally stable environment. They are confident in their future, they know their skills and know how to develop them,” the Director of the small school says.

In turn, Daniyar Toktarbayev, the Director of the Fund for Sustainable Development of Education, spoke about how the Fund and partners solve the issues of staff shortage in small schools.

“Our partners from Intellectual Schools share their experience with hub schools, the network of which we are currently creating. Magnetic schools are attached to these hub schools. These are small schools with a contingent of at least 80 students. Hub schools provide teaching process in four formats: the first model is streaming, when all students receive theoretical knowledge in an online format, the second model is the teacher of the hub school teaches in a magnetic school, and in the third variant, the magnetic school helps in teaching, accompanies the process. And the fourth model is used in schools that do not have access to high-quality Internet. In these schools, video tutorials are uploaded to the panel, and the teacher works with students,” Daniyar Toktarbayev said.

At the end of the case session, speakers answered questions from teachers and experts.

EdCrunch has been held since 2014. The purpose of the conference is to present the main vectors of development in the field of educational technologies and possibilities of using digital tools that transform learning processes. This year, AITAS Holding became the general sponsor of the conference, and the Fund for Sustainable Development of Education became the general partner.