Systemic measures to improve status of teachers taken in Kazakhstan — Askhat Aimagambetov

At the briefing on the implementation of the Address of the Head of State of Sep. 1, 2021, held in the press center of the government, the Minister of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan Askhat Aimagambetov answered the questions of journalists regarding education.

The new academic year 2021-2022 has been challenging for educators, parents and students as this is the first academic year in a traditional format since the pandemic. For teachers, it was further complicated by the fact that this year, on Sep. 1, a record number of first-graders from 1 "A" to 1 "U" grades went to schools.

Is there a shortage of primary school teachers and are university trainees involved in the work? In which regions and how many teachers are there?

Answering these questions, the minister said that it is important for the education system to address the shortage of student places and teachers. And if the first problem is solved through the construction of new schools, then the second is also solved in a comprehensive manner.

“There is no such acute shortage of teachers in the country,” Aimagambetov said.

According to him, as a rule, there are not enough teachers in rural areas. But this is partly due to the small number of rural schools.

According to the data of the National Educational Database, currently the need for teachers is 3,733 people, including in urban areas — 1,632, in rural areas — 2,101.

According to the minister, teachers from Atyrau, Almaty and Turkistan regions experience the greatest burden. There are 600 to 400 vacancies.

“The construction of 1,000 schools will solve infrastructure issues, and centers of academic excellence at universities will not create a shortage of qualified personnel,” Aimagambetov informed.

According to him, now the ministry is updating the training program, increasing grants for pedagogical specialties. In general, there is a complex system for resolving the issue.

Regarding trainees in schools, the minister said that when it comes to distance learning or duty classes, their participation is possible there. But the teachers in the school are not replaced by interns at universities. Last year, during a pandemic, when many teachers were sick, there were isolated cases of help from their side. But this year there is no shortage of teachers in the country, the minister assured.

Also, the journalists were interested in the issues of increasing the threshold score for admission to the university for pedagogical specialties, increasing salaries for teachers and scholarships for students.

According to the minister, systematic work is being carried out in these areas. New approaches are being developed to improve the quality of education, including pedagogical.

For example, in 2020, the threshold score for admission to pedagogical training areas was increased from 60 to 70, in 2021 — to 75. Despite this, all grants that were allocated for this specialty were mastered. The competition was much larger. If last year the competition amounted to 14 thousand people for the allocated number of grants, this year it amounted to more than 20 thousand people.

Starting next year, it is planned to increase the threshold score for applicants for reduced training periods.

“In addition, if earlier the average score of school graduates entering pedagogical specialties was about 60 points, now, thanks to the support of the Head of State, the Law ‘On the Status of a Teacher’ and the comprehensive measures taken, the average score has increased and amounted to almost 96. Interest has increased among the best graduates schools,’’ said Aimagambetov.

According to him, the ministry is not only strengthening the requirements for admission to universities, ensuring high-quality selection of personnel, but also increasing motivational support for university graduates and students.

Regarding a possible surge in the incidence of coronavirus infection, the minister noted that the new 2021-2022 academic year in educational institutions began in a traditional (regular) format with strict observance of sanitary and epidemiological measures. There is no spike in the incidence.

About 24 thousand children have not yet returned to school, but are studying remotely. Many parents who, since the beginning of the school year, have decided to study remotely, seeing the stability of the situation, are now writing applications to return to school.

According to the ministry, the contingent of students today is about 3.6 million children.

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