By Milena Melnikova*
TARAZ (IDN) – Since 2016, the educational system in Kazakhstan has undergone numerous reforms, and in October 2018 President Nursultan Nazarbayev announced further reforms, including a pledge to increase spending in education along with science and healthcare to 10 percent of national GDP within five years.
With the aim of making Kazakhstan one of the 30 most developed countries in the world by 2050, the education budget will be boosted dramatically and a Law on the Status of Teachers will be developed to make teaching an attractive profession.
In the city of Taraz, Zhambyl region, an annual job fair was held in August. Taraz is a regional center with a population of 358,806 people as of 2017. Currently, the city has 425 schools. Educational reforms mean that schools need new teachers and young graduates need to be attracted to the profession.
“When I studied, we often lacked teachers. Temporary substitutes came in their place. This was one of the reasons why I decided to become a teacher,” Aigul Zharaskan told IDN.
Aigul graduated from a pedagogical university in biology in 2018 and has already managed to complete practice in two large schools of the city. “I came from the village, where at that time there was only one school. Now there are three. I like to be in the city, but I want to go to my native village to work. They are sorely lacking teachers.”
Aigul came to the job fair held in a city school to meet with other promising young teachers and offer her candidacy for practice in large city schools.
The education reforms include changes to both the school curriculum for the middle level and the number of class hours. It is also planned to introduce multilingual instruction in such subjects as computer science, mathematics, history and biology. This policy is designed to position Kazakhstan as a leader in developing Artificial Intelligence technology in the future.
Kazakhstan is slowly moving away from the Soviet Union education system to a more American style one with collaborations with universities in the West. Yet, Soviet education system gave priority to the sector and thus, from the very beginning of the republic, the country’s education was distinguished by a strong teaching staff, as well as a stable system that allows many graduates to apply their knowledge not only when entering national universities, but also when entering universities abroad.
Educational reforms include updated education content in all grades, criteria in assessment and electronic school journals. In addition, reducing the workload and time for homework, more English in high school with transition to the Kazakh language of instruction and the Latin alphabet. New subjects and electronic textbooks would also be introduced.
Such reforms require updating the teaching staff, which was the main goal of the annual job fair in the Zhambyl region. About 400 graduates of universities and colleges took part in the fair. They met with representatives of 78 educational institutions, offering them 278 vacant places in colleges, schools and kindergartens, according to the organizers of the event.
“The job fair is mainly held for employees of educational institutions, but we also provide an opportunity for other areas,” Tolegenov Baurzhan Kadyrbaevich, director of the Taraz Employment Center, one of the organizers of the event told IDN, adding that” throughout the year we also organize events for people with disabilities and for people registered with probation”.
Photo: Visitors scanning lists of vacancies. Credit: Milena Melnikova | INPS-IDN.
Out of 278 vacancies 251 vacancies were in the educational field, according to Tolegenov. The organizations that have vacancies leave a request on the portal of electronic labour exchange enbek.kz. After the acceptance of application is completed, the Taraz Population Employment Center (PEC) processes the received applications and, based on their number, holds a job fair.
To take part in the job fair, young professionals need to bring their resume and, having found the school which has vacancies, go to the representatives and leave their data. School representatives go through the portfolios and make an appointment for each applicant in the school. Everything else depends on how the young teacher presents him/herself.
In addition to such events for young professionals, there are also special programs which are called “Enbek” (Enbek means “labour”) and a youth employment program, which also deals with the PEC. These programs involve graduates of universities and colleges, as well as students yet to graduate.
Natalia Ivanovna Iseeva is a representative of educational system workers. She has been working at the school since 1989 and has been the principal director since 200. Their school has been participating for many years, and every year young and knowledgeable professionals are recruited to work with them through the job fair.
Thus, the job fair has been successful both among organizations and among young professionals. The organization of such events reduces the time for schools to fill up vacancies, while young prospective teachers could interact with a variety of potential employers.
As education reforms gather momentum, with the technological progress, schools more than ever need young and fresh minds who want to work with children and adolescents, share their knowledge and educate future generations of the nation.
“For us, for directors, this is a very useful event, where we find a lot of promising people for ourselves. It is also a huge plus for graduates who get the opportunity to find employers in one place.” Natalya also notes that each participant of the fair who approached her leaves contacts, and then comes directly to the school to get an interview.
“It’s good when several people come to one position. Then you can select the best participant and invite him to work at school, but there are situations when there is no choice as well,” she added.
*The writer is a student of the media studies program of the University of Central Asia who has been doing a summer internship with IDN-INPS as a correspondent in Kazakhstan. [IDN-InDepthNews – 12 September 2019]
Top Photo: Job Fair. Photo in text: Visitors scanning lists of vacancies. Credit: Milena Melnikova | INPS-IDN.
IDN is flagship agency of the International Press Syndicate.