The Law No. 418-V ZRK of the Republic of Kazakhstan on Informatisation of November 24, 2015 defines information and communication technologies (ICT) as a set of methods for working with electronic information resources and methods of information interaction, implemented with the use of a hardware and software complex and telecommunications networks. It defines digital literacy as an individual’s knowledge and ability to use ICT in daily and professional activities.
The Law No. 319-III of July 27, 2007 defines distance learning as a method of delivering education with teachers and students interacting at a distance, in particular through ICT and telecommunications. It defines online learning as a form of higher and/or postgraduate education in specific areas of personnel training, when students interact with teachers through ICT and the Internet, regardless of spatial and temporal distance.
The Order No. 137 of the Minister of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan on Approval of Requirements for Educational Organisations to Provide Distance Learning and Rules for Organising the Educational Process for Distance Learning of March 20, 2015 defines information system as an institutionalized set of ICT and technical documentation that implements certain technological actions through information interaction and is designed to solve specific functional problems. It defines synchronous learning as a format of distance learning which involves direct real-time communication (streaming) of participants in the educational process, using information systems and other means of communication. It also defines asynchronous learning as a format of distance learning through information systems and other means of communication which does not require direct interaction of participants in the real-time mode. Digital educational resources are defined as didactic materials on the disciplines and/or modules studied used for interactive learning: photographs, videos, static and dynamic models, objects of virtual reality and interactive modelling, sound recordings, etc.
Constitution and laws: Article 30 of the Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan (adopted on August 30, 1995) guarantees every citizen free secondary education in state educational institutions. Every citizen has the right to receive higher education free of charge on a competitive basis at a state higher education institution. According to the Constitution, the activities of any educational institution must comply with state mandatory standards.
According to the Law No. 418-V ZRK of the Republic of Kazakhstan on Informatisation of November 24, 2015, one of the functions of public administration in the field of informatization is to increase digital literacy and provide participants in the educational process with conditions for access to electronic information resources of e-learning.
The Law No. 319-III of July 27, 2007 approves the basic concepts of "distance learning" and "online learning", as well as defines the functions of the authorized body in the development of policies and relevant rules and competencies of educational organizations in logistics, equipment and equipment.
The Order No. 137 of the Minister of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan on Approval of Requirements for Educational Organisations to Provide Distance Learning and Rules for Organising the Educational Process for Distance Learning of March 20, 2015 approved the basic requirements for educational organizations of all levels to provide distance learning and the rules for organizing the educational process for distance learning.
Decree No. 407 of June 30, 2017 defines the main directions of national policy in the field of protecting electronic information resources, information systems and telecommunications networks, and ensuring safe ICT use. The Concept describes the problems of training personnel in the field of information security and identifies several areas for improving this process.
Policies, plans and strategies: In October 2021, the national project "Quality Education "Educated Nation" was adopted, aimed to improve the quality of education at all levels. This project provides for the tasks of implementing the Digital Teacher project for children from socially vulnerable families and providing schools with a comfortable, safe and modern educational environment.
The national project “Technological Breakthrough through Digitalisation, Science and Innovation” was adopted to help Kazakhstan become a modern country with effective public administration through digital transformation, making decisions based on reliable data, and ensuring efficient and safe use of infrastructure in the digital age, enhancing the contribution of science to the socio-economic development of the country.
Digital competency frameworks: Professional standards for students, which will become the main basis for educational programmes of technical, professional, higher and postgraduate education, have been developed. A professional standard is a standard that defines in a specific professional group (field of professional activity) or subgroup (type of work activity) the requirements for the level of qualification and competence, content, quality and working conditions. To create a system of lifelong education ensuring the country's population with formal, non-formal and informal education to increase its competitiveness, the Concept of Lifelong Learning (Lifelong Education) was developed and approved by the Decree No. 471 of the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan of July 8, 2021. The Concept envisages creating a system of continuous education. Its key tools will include mechanisms for recognising non-formal education outcomes, in particular through introducing an accumulative system (bank) of credits and outcomes of non-credit learning to recognise and confirm learning achievements obtained throughout life. Digital competencies will become a mandatory element of all professional standards.
Changes occurred as a result of COVID-19: With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan issued Order No. 135 on Additional Measures to Ensure the Quality of Education during the Transition to Distance Learning Technologies under the COVID-19 Pandemic of April 8, 2020 and the Guidelines on Organising Distance Learning.
Significant changes after the start of the Covid-2019 Pandemic were immediately made to the Rules for the organization of the educational process on distance learning technologies, which were subsequently renamed the Requirements for Educational organizations to provide distance learning and the rules for organizing the educational process for distance learning.
2.2.1. Technology infrastructure and digital capacity of schools
Electricity: The country does not have laws to ensure equitable access to electricity in schools. The Law on Electronic Power Industry dated 9 June 2004 No. 588. regulates social relations arising in the process of production, transfer and consumption of electrical and heat energy. Article 3 aims to ensure an energy delivery in remote areas of the state.
Computers and devices: According to the Standard Rules of Activity of Secondary Education Organisations (primary, basic secondary and general secondary) approved by the Order No. 385 of the Minister of Education of the Republic of Kazakhstan of August 31, 2022, each school should ensure the availability of tangible assets: classrooms, equipment and furniture, as well as equipment with computer classes, computers connected to the Internet.
In parallel, the Order No. 70 of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan of January 22, 2016 provides regulations on equipping pre-school and secondary school educational organisations as well as special education organisations with technology infrastructure and resources, including computer and multimedia equipment with Internet access. Special emphasis is given to equipping classrooms for digital literacy, ICT and robotics lessons, as well as digital laboratories for primary and secondary schools.
In March 2020, the so-called Digital Portfolio was approved by the Order No. 79 of the Minister of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan on Determining the Minimum Requirements for the Hardware and Software System and Application Software Used in Educational Organisations of March 02, 2020. It defined the minimum requirements for the software and hardware complex and application software used in educational organisations, in particular for computer and peripheral equipment, data transmission networks, access control and management systems, information systems and software.
There is no law, policy, plan, strategy or initiative to provide a device to every student/family or to provide grants/deductions/transfers of funds to parents and/or students for the purchase of laptops/tablets.
Internet connectivity: Task 3 of the national project “Technological Breakthrough through Digitalisation, Science and Innovation” aims at expanding the share of secondary education organisations provided with at least 100 Mb/s Internet for internal content (within Kazakhstan) and 8 Mb/s for external content from 80% in 2021 to 100% by 2025 and 20 Mb/s for external content from 85% in 2021 to 87% by 2025.
2.2.2. Technology and learning environments
Order No. 135 on Additional Measures to Ensure the Quality of Education during the Transition to Distance Learning Technologies under the COVID-19 Pandemic of April 8, 2020 and the Guidelines on Organising Distance Learning stipulate that distance learning was organised via TV and Internet platforms or with the help of printed materials transferred through KazPost during the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the moment, distance education is carried out in compliance with the Rules for Organising the Educational Process with the Use of Distance Technologies developed in accordance with the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan on Education and approved by the Order No. 137 of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan of March 20, 2015 (with amendments of November 3, 2021).
According to the official Prime Minister’s information resource “Distance education, surveillance in schools, provision of villages with the Internet – how the educational process is organized in Kazakhstan”, during the pandemic, 2.6 million schoolchildren (77%) switched to distance learning. 435,000 computers were provided by the Ministry of Education and Science through its subordinate authorities for temporary use for distance learning. Mobile operators (Beeline, Activ and Kazakhtelecom JSC) provided free access to distance learning resources.
Finally, before the COVID-19 pandemic, Task 3 of the national project “Technological Breakthrough through Digitalisation, Science and Innovation” provided for expanding the share of digitised textbooks from 80% in 2021 to 100% by 2025.
Since 2017, a course on Information and Communication Technologies has been introduced in the curriculum of grades 3-4 to form basic skills for working with modern information technologies for their effective use in education and everyday life. It was announced that the Committee of Open Educational Resources to be established in Kazakhstan.
As stated by the Order No. 348 of the Minister of Education of the Republic of Kazakhstan on Approval of National Compulsory Standards of Preschool Education and Training, Primary, Basic Secondary and General Secondary, Technical and Vocational, Post-Secondary Education of August 3, 2022, courses on Digital Literacy (for grades 1 to 4 – regulated by the Ministerial Guidance on the Peculiarities of the Educational Process in Secondary Education Organisations of the Republic of Kazakhstan in the 2022-2023 Academic Year) and Computer Science (for grades 5 to 9) have been introduced since 2022.
The Order No. 348 of the Minister of Education of the Republic of Kazakhstan of August 3, 2022 introduces Digital Literacy (in grades 1 to 4) and Information and Communication Technologies (in grades 5 to 11) as compulsory courses in primary and secondary schools. In addition, curricula include elective courses such as robotics (in grades 4 to 11), programming (in grades 6 and 8 to 11) and 3D modelling (in grades 8 to 9) aimed at developing ICT skills and competencies at a more advanced level. These courses contribute to the development of information literacy by mastering and using modern ICT in all areas of students’ life and activities.
General basics of programming are taught within 372 robotics courses.
A course on Information and Communication Technologies has been introduced in the curriculum of three college majors to develop student's basic skills of ICT use in practice within the chosen profession. Finally, professional standards, which will become the main basis for educational programmes of technical, professional, higher and postgraduate education, have been developed. A professional standard is a standard that defines in a specific professional group (field of professional activity) or subgroup (type of work activity) the requirements for the level of qualification and competence, content, quality and working conditions.
No laws, policies or strategies supporting STEM and the inclusion of girls were found
Regarding the development of the school and university teachers’ competencies, every teacher has the right for attending professional development courses at least once every five years, which is stated in the Law No. 293-VI PHR of the Republic of Kazakhstan on the Teacher’s Status of December 27, 2019
Special rules stated in the Order No. 95 of the Minister of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan of January 28, 2016 define the procedure of organising and conducting training courses, as well as for post-course support of teachers' activities.
The Orleu National Centre for Advanced Training has branch offices in all regions of Kazakhstan. The Centre implements programmes for advanced training in: Digital literacy and digital competencies; Organisation of the educational process on the basis of distance learning technologies; Subject competencies of computer science teachers on complex discipline topics in grades 5 to 9; Robotics, fundamentals of the Internet of Things (IOT), 3D modelling and printing; Professional competencies of computer science teachers; and Professional competencies of teachers on the use of ICT for updating the content of preschool education.
The Representative Office of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Kazakhstan, together with the Astana Hub international technopark of IT start-ups, trained more than 12,000 teachers in 11 regions of the Republic in the basics of digital inclusive education in a blended format. The training was conducted jointly with regional departments and departments of education of the Kazakh Ministry of Education and Science for teachers from both urban and rural schools.
From August 2 to October 31, 2021, digital courses for teachers were held by the Ministry of Education and Science. Students of teacher training universities also had an opportunity to learn online. Each module was accompanied by video lessons, lectures, presentations, as well as interactive tasks and tests to consolidate skills. The courses were developed in cooperation with the European Training Foundation (ETF). ETF representatives trained teachers in digital pedagogy and in creating video materials to make it easier for children to absorb information. The courses were posted on the platform of the Ministry of Education and Science www.edu.kz. Training video lectures were developed for teachers by Microsoft Kazakhstan, Bilim Media Group and Kundelik.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan held weekly video conferences with employees and teachers of universities on the organisation of training, conducting formative and summative assessments, evaluating knowledge, and creating digital courses for distance education. All materials are accessible at the website of the Bologna Process and Academic Mobility Centre.
No additional information was found on initial teacher training.
2.4.1. Data privacy
In 2017, the Cyber Security Concept (Cyber Shield of Kazakhstan) was approved by the Decree No. 407 of the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan of June 30, 2017 to define the main directions of national policy in the field of protecting electronic information resources, information systems and telecommunications networks, and ensuring safe ICT use. The Concept was designed to ensure a unified approach to monitoring the information security of public authorities, individuals and legal entities, as well as the development of mechanisms for preventing and promptly responding to information security incidents, in particular emergencies of social, natural and technogenic character or the imposition of a state of emergency or martial law.
2.4.2. Online abuse and cyberbullying
In May 2022, amendments to some legislative acts on the protection of children’s rights, education, information and informatisation were approved by the Law No. 118-VII ZRK of the Republic of Kazakhstan of May 3, 2022. The concept of bullying, including through the use of mass media and (or) telecommunications networks (cyberbullying), was introduced in the Law No. 345 of the Republic of Kazakhstan on the Rights of the Child in the Republic of Kazakhstan of August 8, 2002 and the regulations aimed at ensuring children’s rights, protecting them from cruel, rude or degrading treatment or bullying were defined in the Order No. 365 of the Minister of Information and Public Development of the Republic of Kazakhstan of September 6, 2022. These measures were taken following the instructions of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, announced in the 2020 Address and the speech at the opening of the first session of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan of the VII convocation in January 2021.
According to the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan on Education, the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan (at the time of preparation of this country profile, the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan is being restructured into two ministries: the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Science and Higher Education) is the main regulatory authority for education responsible for: Implementing a unified state policy in the field of education, ensuring intersectoral coordination, development and implementation of international programmes in the field of education and science; Implementing educational monitoring and information support of the education management system; Managing the quality of education, providing guidelines on assuring the quality of educational services provided by educational organisations; Approving qualification requirements for educational activities; and Managing and coordinating teaching, instructional support and research, approving the requirements for educational organisations to provide distance learning and the rules of organising the educational process for distance learning (online learning – for higher and/or postgraduate education programmes).
According to the Government Decree of the Republic of Kazakhstan No. 501 of 12 July 2019 "Regulations on the Ministry of Digital Development, Innovation and Aerospace Industry of the Republic of Kazakhstan", the key national regulator of the digitalisation of the economy is the Ministry of Digital Development, Innovation and Aerospace Industry of the Republic of Kazakhstan. It is engaged in the elaboration and implementation of the state policy in the field of digital transformation, innovation, communications, provision of public services, electronic industry, as well as in the development of e-governance.
The Department of Digital Transformation of Education under the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan carries out examinations or provides expert assessment of technical specifications for the informatisation, and modernisation of the information and computing complex and telecommunications systems, including software and computer equipment.
Another organization under the Ministry of Education and Science is the Information and Analytical Centre. The Centre’s mission is to provide high-quality analytical support for national education policy and create mechanisms for studying and implementing the world’s best practices in national education. This Center conducts research and summarizes the best international practices in the development of the education system, conducts sociological research on the results of the activities of educational organizations, provides information and media support for the development of education, analyzes business processes and develops IT solutions, processes, accumulates and stores electronic databases of administrative records of education indicators and bringing them into compliance with the requirements International Education Statistics (UNESCO, OECD, etc.).
No laws, policies or strategies prohibiting the use of mobile phones in schools/classrooms were found.