It is widely accepted that education policy and practice need to be based upon principles and values of equity and inclusion to lay the foundations for quality education (OECD, 2017; UNESCO, 2015, 2017). However, terms such as “equity” and “inclusion” can be confusing since they may mean different things to different people (Ainscow 2019, p. 9). This chapter explores recent developments in the understanding of these principles and values in Kazakhstan. These include the actions implemented to increase the presence, equal opportunities, access, and participation of diverse students, and the reasons why some children continue to be excluded and marginalised from schooling in the country. The authors will employ Ainscow’s (2020) whole systems approach about promoting inclusion and equity within education systems as an analytical tool. The analysis will consider efforts to develop equal opportunities and inclusion in schools in terms of three distinctive features of the local Kazakhstani context. These are: i) a traditional medical approach to disability with longstanding practices of categorisation and segregation of children according to deficits that is still influential in legislation, policies, practices, attitudes and beliefs; ii) the wider equity issues including the rural urban divide and policy with reference to children of different ethnicity and socio-economic backgrounds (e.g. provision for children with different languages, ungraded schools); and iii) the impact of educational reforms with a focus on economic competitiveness and a substantial investment in schools for gifted and talented children. The authors will draw on national and international reports on education, diversity, inclusion of children and results of recent research carried by the authors and other colleagues to develop a conceptual framework for understanding diversity, equity and inclusion in the context of Kazakhstan.
|Title of host publication
|Mapping Educational Change in Kazakhstan
|Cambridge University Press
|Accepted/In press - Sept 1 2022