Inclusive Education Reform in Kazakhstan: Civil Society Activism from the Bottom-Up

Реформа Инклюзивного Образования в Казахстане: Активизм Гражданского Общества «Снизу Вверх»

Michelle Somerton, Kamila Rollan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

It is a common discourse in Kazakhstan that policy-making is state-driven and top-down with weak engagement by civil society. One of the educational reform initiatives announced by the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan is a transition to an inclusive education model by 2020. The present study sought to challenge the traditional perspectives on the policy-making process and to investigate to what extent and how civil society in Kazakhstan contributes to inclusive education reform. Described as a phenomenological inquiry, this study employed a qualitative approach, interviewing seven representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) about their contribution to inclusive education reform in Kazakhstan. The findings show that the NGOs actively engage in revising the policies and ensuring their implementation. Furthermore, they facilitate the provision of methodological support to schools and professionals, contribute to promoting cultural change about perceptions of people with special needs, and inform parents, the state, and the general public more broadly about the needs of children requiring additional educational supports. These findings give credit to the leadership of NGOs and suggest the need for government and schools to support and to cooperate more closely with civil society organizations, which serve as change-agents in facilitating inclusive education in Kazakhstan.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Inclusive Education
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 9 2019

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Kazakhstan
civil society
reform
education
Ministry of Education
cultural change
educational reform
school
republic
credit
parents
Inclusive Education
Education Reform
Activism
Civil Society
Bottom-up
leadership
discourse
science
Non-governmental Organizations

Keywords

  • Key words: policy, inclusive education, educational reform, NGO’s, civil society

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)

Cite this

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title = "Inclusive Education Reform in Kazakhstan: Civil Society Activism from the Bottom-Up: Реформа Инклюзивного Образования в Казахстане: Активизм Гражданского Общества «Снизу Вверх»",
abstract = "It is a common discourse in Kazakhstan that policy-making is state-driven and top-down with weak engagement by civil society. One of the educational reform initiatives announced by the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan is a transition to an inclusive education model by 2020. The present study sought to challenge the traditional perspectives on the policy-making process and to investigate to what extent and how civil society in Kazakhstan contributes to inclusive education reform. Described as a phenomenological inquiry, this study employed a qualitative approach, interviewing seven representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) about their contribution to inclusive education reform in Kazakhstan. The findings show that the NGOs actively engage in revising the policies and ensuring their implementation. Furthermore, they facilitate the provision of methodological support to schools and professionals, contribute to promoting cultural change about perceptions of people with special needs, and inform parents, the state, and the general public more broadly about the needs of children requiring additional educational supports. These findings give credit to the leadership of NGOs and suggest the need for government and schools to support and to cooperate more closely with civil society organizations, which serve as change-agents in facilitating inclusive education in Kazakhstan.",
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