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Quality of Education in Kazakhstani Rural Schools: Opportunities, Problems and Possible Solutions

Quality of Education in Kazakhstani Rural Schools: Opportunities, Problems and Possible Solutions
Funded by the Nazarbayev University’s Faculty Development Competitive Grant, a three-year long research study is being
conducted in purposefully selected mainstream rural schools in Kazakhstan to explore the following research questions by
modifying the UNICEF’s Quality of Education Framework: the quality of learners, curriculum / content, processes,
environments and outcomes (UNICEF, 2000):
- What do the Kazakhstani rural school leaders, teachers, students, and parents understand by quality of education?
- What opportunities, resources, and support are available to these rural schools for achieving their perceived quality
of education?
- What issues and challenges do these rural schools face in achieving the perceived quality of education?
- What possible solutions can be found to the issues hindering the quality of education in these schools?
The purpose of the study is to contribute to developing a contextually relevant, culturally sensitive, and sustainable approach
to improving quality of education in rural schools by taking into account the voices and experiences of key stakeholders such
as principals, vice principals, teachers, students, parents, and school education officials from the MOES and regions in
Kazakhstan. Specifically, the study intends to explore key stakeholders’ understanding and aspirations of quality of
education; identify issues and challenges rural schools face in achieving their aspired quality of education; and suggest
possible solutions to the problems being faced and ways to improve the quality of education in rural schools in Kazakhstan.
A mixed-methods approach, having both a quantitative survey and qualitative individual interviews and focus group
discussions, is being employed. The quantitative survey is used to obtain data from large number of teachers from rural
schools and qualitative interviews are used to obtain in-depth, rich and descriptive data from a relatively smaller sample.
This research project is led by Dr. Mir Afzal Tajik and Dr. Duishon Shamatov as the Principal Investigator and Co-Principal
Investigator respectively. The research assistants who have so far contributed to this project include, Darina Sadvakassova,
Moldir Ablayeva, Bakhyt Zhumatay, Gulden Suyundikova, Lyudmila FillipovaSymbat Mazhikov and  Alyona Kaus.

The results of the study may be beneficial to educational policy makers, school leaders and practitioners to address some of
the critical issues hindering, as well as opportunities available for, provision and quality of education in rural schools in
Kazakhstan. The study will provide a set of recommendations, based on the empirical data collected from the keystakeholders for enhancing provision and quality of education in rural schools.