11 SES 13, Paper Session
In Kazakhstan human capital has been identified as one of the cornerstones for achieving the goal “to enter the club of top 30 most developed countries of the world” by 2050 (Nazarbayev, 2012), where the quality of education is considered a focal point (MOES, 2010). In 2008 by the initiative of the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev to improve the secondary education across the country, Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools (NIS) were established as ‘pathfinders’ (OECD, 2014) or ‘flagships’ (Nazarbayev, 2010), which experience is being transferred to the mainstream school system in Kazakhstan.
The first Intellectual School was opened in 2009 in Astana city and had already the first graduating students in 2010. As both the number and size of the schools has grown in the intervening seven years, the number of alumni has grown correspondingly (2010 – 38; 2011- 109; 2012 – 367; 2013 – 433; 2014- 454; 2015- 1699).
This study is concentrated on the first cohort of alumni of the Intellectual School in Astana – 38 students, who are today continuing their study at university or starting their career path. Importantly, those students had only 1.5 years of experience in studying at NIS high school (Grades 10 and 11).
Although today the NIS system has been sufficiently changed in terms of curriculum, assessment, teacher professional development and learning resources, in 2009-2010 the system was a little different from the mainstream school. The Strategy of Intellectual School of the First President (2008) says, “The modern challenges requires from the Kazakhstani education system to bring up active, talented, highly educated, competent and highly qualified leaders” (p.2), which became a vision for NIS at that period.
Students’ or alumni’s’ perceptions related to their school experience are as important as those of other members of the school community, such as teachers, parents and administrators (Brooker and Macdomnald, 1999; Cook-Sather, 2006; Thiessen, 2006). According to Pike (1994), “the role of alumni surveys in evaluating educational programs is particularly significant” (p.105).
Thus, the purpose of the research is to investigate the impact of NIS schools in preparing students for their university studies and future careers in order to inform and improve practice across NIS.
The study was, therefore, guided by the following key research question: How did their school studies influence their university studies and future career? Three sub-questions were posed in order to answer the main research question:
- What is the alumni opinion about their study experience at NIS?
- What have been alumni’s main achievements after leaving school?
- What are alumni’s recommendations and suggestions for improving the quality of education at NIS for better preparedness for their university studies and future career?
The present research shows an attempt to measure educational outcomes based on alumni’s perspectives according to the vision of NIS and contribute to policy implementation. The longitudinal feature of this study will provide with tracking the impact of newly implemented initiatives on alumni’s attitude. There is a limited number of studies in Kazakhstan, which focus on students’ perceptions of their school education and the capacity of schools to prepare successfully them for their university studies and future careers. Moreover, as NIS gains the privileged status, which guarantees with sufficient financial support, including opportunities to employ highly qualified human capital (Shamshidinova, Ayubayeva, & Bridges, 2014), it can give some ideas on the return on investment. However, due to the short period of studying at NIS and selected students and teacher from the mainstream school system, it is questionable whether the contribution of NIS in significant in the achievements of those alumni.
Brooker, R., & MacDonald, D. (1999). Did we hear you?: issues of student voice in a curiuclum innovation. Journal of Curriculum Studies , 31 (1), 83-97. Cohen, L., Manion, L., & Morrison, K. (2011). Research methods in education (seventh edition ed.). London & New York: Routledge. Cook-Sather, A. (2006). Sound, Presence, and Power: "Student Voice" in Educational Research and Reform. Bryn Mawr College, 36 (4), 359-390. Creswell, J. W. (2014). Educational reserach: planning, conducting and evaluating quantitative and qualitative research (fourth edition ed.). London: Pearson. Davies, B. (2006). Leading the Strategically Focused School. London: SAGE Publications Ltd. Isaac, A. (2001). Education reform in the Eastern Caribbean: implications of a policy and decisions making program by an external donor. Mc Gill University. MoES. (2010). State programme of educational development in the Republic of Kazakhstan for 2011-2020. Astana: MoES. Nazarbayev, N. (2010, January). The annual address to the people of Kazakhstan. Nazarbayev, N. (2012, December). The annual address to the people of Kazakhstan. Newby, P. (2010). Research methods for education. London: Pearson. OECD. (2014). Reviews of National Policies for Education: Secondary Education in Kazakhstan . OECD Publishing. Pike, Gary R. (1994). The relationship between alumni satisfaction and work experience. Research in Higher Education. Vol. 35 (1), 105-123. Shamshidinova, K., Ayubayeva, N., & Bridges, D. (2014). Implementing radical change: Nazarbayev Intellectual schools as Agents of Change. In Bridges, Educational reform and internalisation: the case of school reform in Kazakhstan (pp. 71-82). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. The Strategy of Intellectual School of the First President. (2008). Thiessen, D. (2006). Student knowledge, engagement, and voice in educational reform. Curriculum Inquiry , 36 (4), 345-471.
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