Библиографическое описание:

Шарипбаева А. К. The Deficiency of the Trilingual Education Reform in Kazakhstan: Problems and Prospects // Молодой ученый. — 2017. — №10.1. — С. 102-105. — URL https://moluch.ru/archive/144/40412/ (дата обращения: 23.04.2018).

Kazakhstan should be seen in the whole world as highly educated country, whose population uses three languages: Kazakh language — the state, Russian as a language of international communication and English language — the language of successful integration into the global economy.

N. A. Nazarbayev

The aim

The main aim of trinity of language at the present time is not only language, but also development of competencies that should prepare young generation for future society. There are five competencies, required for any twenty first century specialist today, it included — the ability to communicate orally and in writing that means being competitive in several languages.

I think it is necessary to know foreign language beside mother tongue and Russian language in order to be competitive because the whole world is polylingual. Also in order collaborating with other country and in solving the main problems of the twenty first century, maintain understanding between people, overcome the conflicts of intercultural communication.

The actuality

The experience of languages functioning in multinational countries proves bilingualism and multilingualism to be necessary and practically the only way of solving the problem of overcoming language barrier and ensuring easy communication of citizens of one and the same state formation speaking different languages. The bilingualism and multilingualism are important social realities especially in countries including many nationalities, for example there are hundreds of nations and nationalities representatives of which live in Kazakhstan one should take this reality into consideration. The development and forming of bilingualism mustn’t be compulsory and influence mastering of the native language in a negative way. Otherwise ethnically native language can be moved aside to the periphery of communication and it will provide a negative effect on the national self-consciousness.

The bilingualism and multilingualism are not phenomena. It was known in the ancient society. Many outstanding scientists, public figures, writers of the Orient (Makhmud Kashgari, Alisher Navoyi, Al-Farabi, etc) created their works in native and other languages (Arabian, Persian). There are also many modern bilingual and multilingual figures of science and culture, writers.

The bilingualism and multilingualism have been historically thoroughly investigated but nowadays it is studied as lingual essence of everyday lingual life.

The problem of multilingualism is the topic of different investigations in the field of modern linguistics. They are focusing at the interaction of various ethnical groups cultures in the multinational societies. It is caused by intensification of inter-ethnic interaction, bilingualism being one of its main characteristics. The formation of the bilingualism and multilingualism is implemented in the conditions of the cultures mutual penetration which is a norm for a modern civilized society functioning. The interaction of languages predetermines the necessity of wide range practical measures aiming the inter-ethnic interaction improvement development. [1]

In the annual Message of the President of Kazakhstan N. A. Nazarbaev to Kazakhstan people “Socio-economic modernization — main direction of development of Kazakhstan” the relevance of multilingual education was noted, because “one of the most important values and the main advantage of our country is a multicultural and multilingual”. In accordance with the objectives, set by the President in the State Program of Education Development of the Republic of Kazakhstan for 2011–2020, State program of functioning and development of languages for 2011–2020 and cultural program “Trinity of languages” by 2020 all people of Kazakhstan should seize Kazakh language, 95 % — Russian language and 25 % — English. [2]

117 schools of Kazakhstan provide trilingual education of students — in Kazakh, Russian and English, Vice Minister of Education and Science Takir Balykbayev said it yesterday at a briefing in Astana. "63,000 students (2.3 % of the total number of students) are undergoing today trilingual training at 117 schools», Balykbayev said. According to him, these schools provide in-depth study of Kazakh, English and Russian languages. In addition, a number of natural science disciplines are taught in English. 42 universities offer special courses with instruction in English, he added. In November 2015, the country adopted the 2020 Trilingual Education Road Map. Beginning from 2018–2019 academic year, the discipline «History of Kazakhstan» will be studied in Kazakh and «World History» will be taught in Russian at all schools of the country, regardless of the language of instruction. Beginning from 2019–2020 academic year, «Computer Science», «Chemistry», «Biology» and «Physics» will be taught in English. Transition to teaching disciplines in English will be implemented gradually from 2017 to 2023. [3]

Some experts, however, oppose the idea. Director of KIMEP University’s language centre Zhuldyz Smagulova believes the trilingual education system talks are premature, as the practice would be successful only if the teachers were fluent in the languages they were to teach and were using proper study manuals. She added that learning languages also requires individual skill sets.

“I have seen many children who first studied in Kazakh and then studied Russian, then they travelled abroad to learn a foreign language. As a result, these children can’t speak any of these languages properly,” said Smagulova. “We need to conduct a detailed analysis of all the pros and cons of all interested parties. Educational policy and effective methodology must be based on scientific data and not personal experience.”

The idea of trilingual education also garnered positive feedback, however. Senior educator of the National Institute of Qualification Upgrades for the managing and scientific staff of the Kazakh education sector Kulpash Sariyeva used the Daryn scientific-practical centre as an example of the system.

“Children in these schools speak Kazakh, Russian and English well,” she said.

“I think the policy of trilingualism will open up new opportunities. I would like to note that the representatives of the Ministry of Education and Science are introducing this methodology not because it was someone’s ambition, but because it has been tested and tried scientifically,” said Sariyeva.

CIPD is an organisation with a mission to foster open and effective cooperation among the government, society, business, scientific and expert communities. The group promotes the values of civil society and cultural political dialogue, according to its website.

In August, Minister of Science and Education Aslan Sarinzhipov announced the Kazakh education system will undergo major changes until 2020, with subjects like Kazakh literature, history and geography to be taught in Kazakh. High school informational technology, physics, chemistry and biology will be taught in English, while elementary school students will learn Kazakh and Russian from first grade. [4]

Based on personal experiences of my parents, I suppose the implementation of trilingual education in kindergartens is showing good results. They say that it was extremely effective to teach three languages at the age of 3–5 when children can acquire languages easily and quickly. Especially, the foundation of English was built in the kindergarten: my brother still remembers the vocabulary which he learned 3–4 years ago in the public kindergarten. Meanwhile, Kazakh and Russian were not ignored, both in the junior and medium groups children learned by heart tongue twisters, watched cartoon and played different games, consequently, the learning process was not supposed to be boring. In my opinion, the reform initiative is working successfully and achieving its intended outcomes, however, there are still some challenges, including absence of guidance, teacher training, discrepancy between rural and urban area.

Firstly, I want to highlight that there is no one specific reform dedicated for implementation of trilingual education in preschool level, which guides teachers, informs parents, and states the clear goals and tasks. Even after launching the program “Development of trinity of languages in preschool organizations”, there is still no unified program for teaching English in preschool organizations (“Metody i priemy razvitiya”, 2016). Teachers, who are the key stakeholders to implement teaching in three languages in the preschool organizations, cannot make it feasible without knowing where they are aiming and what their clear tasks are. Because of this challenge, we do not know whether the intended outcomes are achieved or not, so it also cannot be assessed.

Secondly, in order to succeed in the implementation of trilingual education teachers should undergo training programs because without being aware of the certain methods and techniques of teaching they possibly may end up with failure of policy. Particularly, teachers should know psychological and physical characteristics of preschool children, and they should be able to approach each student individually. For example, in the kindergarten “Mary Poppins”, which is situated in Almaty, teacher of English undergo training for qualification every year in London, as a result the children show good results (“Stranichka prepodavatelya”, 2016).

Thirdly, we should consider the discrepancy in language proficiency between urban and rural areas. As Fierman (2006) and Smagulova (2008) claim the level mastering Kazakh and Russian is not equal in rural and urban areas: in urban areas Kazakhstani people tend to be more proficient in Russian, and in rural in Kazakh. So, I assume that adding English to preschool education will lead to sharpening of the discrepancy. In cities preschool children have more chances to learn languages while in rural areas some children even do not attend any preschool organization. This discrepancy which starts from preschool level will increase in the next levels of education.

To sum up, I would like to say that it is too early to anticipate for the results of the trilingual education policy at preschool level. It is only emerging, and supposed to be on the right track. In order to make it successful we should first understand what trilingual education is, then thoroughly plan implementation. [5]

The reformers refer to the fact that the system operates in «Nazarbayev intellectual schools». But these schools can be counted on the fingers, and where can government recruit English-speaking teachers for schools in small cities, villages and towns? The Director of the Almaty school № 48 Irina Smirnova in comments to the Agency KazTAG said it is a problem for the largest cities of the Republic. «We wanted to introduce the teaching of the elective component of some subjects in English — could not find professionals in Almaty. The current teaching staff will not be able to read the items in English. They offer courses, but they are unlikely even six months will be able to learn the language at this level to teach», she said. And the English teacher of one of universities of Kazakhstan Svetlana Baturina says a specialist that can teach in English, should definitely get a second degree in the faculty of foreign languages or to spend a few years abroad. «Last year in my group, graduated from the Institute for the mathematics teacher. English she needed in order to guide math and physics in Astana at some advanced school», she says. Remains to be glad for the teacher who managed to pay for my second degree. That's just enough for all the teachers time and resources for such self-education? Not a task for the Ministry is first to prepare the footage, and then reform to declare? Otherwise, the cart is before the horse. And then, where in Mont supposed to do with Russian historians and geographers, who should speak in Kazakh language? They, too, in the Institute of languages learn to send? So schools have no teachers left.

Great plans and performance — But in Kazakh-Turkish “Kazakh Inovational” high schools, before teaching the subject in a foreign language students study only English language six months, moreover, to overcome the language barrier pupil study in a boarding school environment, said the Director. As a solution to the problems she offers the following way: the main block of subjects should be taught in Russian and Kazakh and English — some additional component. And S. Baturina does not agree with trilingualism in the school. «In terms of language, I would give the minimal communicative course with the same topics for all classes, so pupil could communicate at the household level and had a basic level of grammar. A specialization is an individual matter. It has Tutors, courses, Internet» she said. Everything else, in the opinion of S. Baturina is the waste of money. The chemistry is very difficult subject, so some students do not understand it even in native language. Now imagine that the subject is taught in English! The child is not robot and if he will translate each paragraph to learn, and there are no textbooks. So he will not want to learn, because it will be difficult for him. How much work and money will be lost in vain, says the teacher. First of all the Minister of education should enter courses of logic in curriculum to improve student’s memory, which quickly begin fall with the emergence of a large number of gadgets. [6]

The conclusion

In conclusion, one of the important aim of all these countries` education systems can be the communication of the younger generation to the world, development of school children and student`s ability to communicate and maintain relationship with representatives of neighboring countries. Kazakh is the official state language, and Russian is considered as the language of interethnic communication and foreign language in language education of students. Twenty first century young generation should know three languages in order to be competitive in global sphere. It is known that if student did not learn at least one foreign language or doing it not good so as a result it is not only educational but also psychological gap in education. By history in Kazakhstan it is studied foreign language, native and Russian languages enter into the complex interaction, which stimulates to the process of learning a new language. Comparing three languages, you can pre-identify challenges, develop critical and analytical thinking. For example pupils in rural school, where is usually taught in mother tongue and in urban area where is taught in three languages. Practice shows that children from urban are have more opportunity to get knowledge abroad and allow use of language, not only in its communicative, but also in cognitive function. In my opinion trinity of language is not only the development of the country but also the maintenance of intercultural peace and can contribute in solving word wide problem altogether. Development of itself, as a man of the twenty first century. If you want to know the culture of the country you have to learn its language.


  1. http://www.rusnauka.com/27_SSN_2012/Pedagogica/2_117383.doc.htm
  2. http://www.world-science.ru/en/article/view?id=33292
  3. http://www.inform.kz/ru/ministry-of-education-and-science_t4544
  4. stanatimes.com/2015/10/experts-discuss-challenges-of-introducing-trilingual-education-system-in-schools/
  5. https://nuwritersguild.wordpress.com/2017/01/28/the-implementation-of-trilingual-education-in-kazakhstani-preschool-organizations/
  6. https://zonakz.net/view-trekhjazychie-ne-vse-goditsja-chto-govoritsja.html
Основные термины (генерируются автоматически): trilingual education, Kazakh, language, foreign language, Kazakh language, languages, Kazakh education sector, level mastering Kazakh, native language, Russian language, English language, Trilingual Education Road, trilingual education policy, foreign language students, Kazakh literature, language centre Zhuldyz, Kazakh Inovational, language barrier, Russian languages, official state language.


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