University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Kazakhstan Programme Research Seminar Series > The social aspects of transition from school to higher education: The focus on rural multi-ethnic communities in Kazakhstan

The social aspects of transition from school to higher education: The focus on rural multi-ethnic communities in Kazakhstan

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This paper is a part of a larger study looking at the social aspects of transition from school to higher education in Kazakhstan. Understanding the factors influencing student retention and dropout remains high on the government’s agenda. The link between rural/urban inequalities and difficulties in transitioning to higher education are highlighted in national and international reports, including the Reviews for National Policies in Education: Higher Education in Kazakhstan (OECD and World Bank, 2007), Analysis of Common National Testing Results (MES, 2012a) and the Roadmap Diagnostic Report on the Strategic Directions for Education Reforms in Kazakhstan for 2015–2020 (Ayubayeva et al., 2013). According to the National Report on the Status and Development of Education, dropout rates across the country, while decreasing steadily between 2007 and 2010, rose by 1 per cent to 11.9 per cent in 2010/11, with 13.6 per cent of students withdrawing from privately-funded higher educational institutions and 10.2 per cent withdrawing from state-funded higher educational institutions (MES, 2012b, p. 68). The key question that the study aims to address is: what factors affect student retention in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects in higher education in Kazakhstan? The study uses Bourdieu’s theoretical framework detailed in Reay (2004), and the special issues of the Cambridge Journal of Education (Gale and Lingard, 2015) to provide a sociological explanation of the official dropout rates in Kazakhstani higher education. By synthesising the findings from five Kazakhstani universities and twelve schools visited in the course of the study, the study seeks to assist governmental strategies aimed at reversing dropout rates and easing rural/urban inequalities, both in Kazakhstan and internationally.

Authors: Olena Fimyar (Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, UK); Carole Faucher (Graduate School of Education, Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan); Aimzhan Iztayeva (Graduate School of Education Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan); Alfira Makhmutova (Graduate School of Education, Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan), Olga Mun (Central European University, Hungary and Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, UK) and Aray Saniyazova (Graduate School of Education Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan)

This talk is part of the Kazakhstan Programme Research Seminar Series series.

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