Bottom up and top down: Comparing language-in-education policy in Ukraine and Kazakhstan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Scholars have written about the contentious and conflicted relationship between Russian and the state language in the Soviet republics during Soviet times. Since gaining independence from the Soviet Union, the state language in post-Soviet countries has taken on greater importance as a language of ethnic identity and nation building, although Russian has remained the de facto language of power and prestige in multiple spheres including education. With the rise of globalization and neoliberalism, English is playing an increasingly important role as a desired and necessary language for science and international communication, and integration into the global community. To shed light on how post-Soviet nations manage language policy and language practice in this new era, this chapter compares language-in-education policy of the titular language, Russian, and English in two post-Soviet countries, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. The analysis of policy and practice around three languages shows that despite both countries declaring independence in 1991, Ukraine and Kazakhstan have implemented different approaches to language in language-in-education policy, which reflects the diversity of power and policy transformations in post-Soviet countries.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationComparing post-socialist transformations:
Subtitle of host publicationEducation in Eastern Europe and Former Soviet Union
Place of PublicationOxford, UK
PublisherSymposium Books
Number of pages166
ISBN (Print)978-1-910744-03-1
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Publication series

NameOxford Studies in Comparative Education


  • comparative education
  • Kazakhstan
  • Ukraine
  • Language policy
  • education

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