A. Baitursynov’s role in the development of the sociology of culture and education in Kazakhstan

The name of Akhmet Baitursynov forever fixed in the history of independent Kazakhstan. All his life he devoted to the fight against colonialism until his tragic death. He was one of the leaders of the national- liberation movements of the Kazakhs against coloniar czar oppression and the soviet regime, organizer of the national-democratic party “Alash” and the government Alash-Orda, also the editor of the  “Kazakh”  newspaper. As a socio-political activist and enlightener Baitursynov called his people to knowledge  and culture, that’s where he saw the freedom from czar’s oppression and the progression from socio development.

By promoting national culture, he also called on initiation of other cultures, and take what was best and progressive.

In the second half of the 30th he shared tragic fate of the intelligence, by becoming a victim of Stallin’s repressions. He was accused of bourgeois nationalistic ideas and became an “enemy of the state”.

Today, in the era of independent Kazakhstan, in the era of recovering the historical truth, name of A.Baitursynov and his creative activities are becoming the subject of political interest. And now after so many years of silence, distortion of his theoretical views, there is a long way ahead to recover the truth and return his work that political and scientific meaning that it deserves. In that context his views on culture and enlightenment are very interesting.

Socio-political activities of A.Baitursynov were developing in the conditions of two political systems – czarism and socialism, which have finalized his views on culture and education. To note, the main source of  his original views and then of the theoretical concepts were national culture of the Kazakhs, as well as Russian and of the other Turk nationalities. This was the reason how he became one of the first in the Turks world to develop a definitions of art theory and culture. He devoted a lot of time to the problems of language and literature. His work “Introduction to literature” has made a significant contribution in the development of Kazakh literature as well as worldwide literature. Such works as “New grammar”, “New primer”, “First rule”, “First phonetics”, “First grammar”, “First syntax”, “First terminology and spelling” have made s significant contribution in the develop-ment of Kazakh language and overall in Turkology. That way he made a  significant impact in politics of culture.

In the culture he saw the way of keeping the unity of the nation and the development of national statehood, achieving the level of civilized countries.

Akhmet Baitursynov was a major politician of his time, capable of solving daily solutions and forecasting. His strategy was to keep the unity of the nation, national statehood and tactical issues were development of the national language, education and the rise of economics and culture. He urged people to a new life in line of universal civilization; he saw that through cultural progress, he wrote “My ideal – improving the material conditions of the Kazakh people, possibly its culture, being the fundamental basis of its development – I am ready to support that government which will provide this goal” [1]. His first works “ Forty fables” – translation to Kazakh of the main educational plots of the Russian writer I.A. Krylov /1909/ and the compilation of poems “Masa” /1913/ were directed to awakening of the people from darkness and illiteracy, called to Epiphany, turning to newly developing world. M.Dulatov quoted, “He by sing simple Kazakh language sings of freedom of the nation, urging to enlightenment, labor, and freedom from the century of sleep, awakening in each Kazakh feeling of statehood” [2].

Most important part of the development of culture became the production of A.Baiturysnov together with A.Bukeihanov and M.Dulatov of the newspaper “Kazakh”. He wrote “The goal of our newspaper – to protect the interests of people, contribute to the spread of science and culture amongst the Kazakhs, introducing the  life of other people” [3]. The pages showed actual problems of the development of national culture, the problems of education were covered, preparation of the employees, also for the benefit of the people articles that covered mathematics, literature, medicine and history were placed; introduction to agriculture, farming, traditions and customs of Kazakh and other nations were covered as well. Content of the many articles were concentrated on forming a certain impression of the legitimacy of the social development, on patriotic education, civic consciousness and other values, that political culture consists of. Namely, because of the management as an editor A.Baitursynov achieved nationwide awakening of national self consciousness according to M.Auezov.

In the rise of culture and education the thinker saw the freedom from colonial oppression. Low level of cultural development is the key to that holds you back in the fight for your national interests, he thought. Thereby, he wrote: “Cultures of two neighboring countries develops in the single course and at a certain point the strongest one will swallow the weaker culture, and then the weak one will loose itself without a trace, and at the end the merger of two cultures into one will take place on the base of the strength of one”. In order for that not to happen to Kazakhs, he urged his people to rise the cultural knowledge of the nation and he believed that it can only happen by educating them, “Until its not too late you need to learn what others know. Only if you are equally capable there is a possibility of equality of people [4], wrote the politician. At the same time, his characteristic optimism placed belief into people, to achieve those goals, opening that other nations had  been through that may be even in a worse situation, so only to their diligence they succeeded. With sorrow, he wrote that Kazakhs don’t have fabrics and plants, because of which they have to send crudes  outside  of country for pennies, which then came back to the country a lot more expensive. In order to have fabrics and plants, people need to be educated. In order to be on the same page with others, Kazakhs must be educated, rich and strong. In order to be educated there is a need to learn, in order to be rich there is s need to work, and in order to be strong there is a need for unity of the nation, said A.Baitursynov [5]. These thoughts that were said in the beginning of the century are still actual.

Analyzing the education in the Kazakh steps, he comes to the conclusion that the main reason for undeveloping education is the nomadic life style that Kazakhs lead, there is no opportunity to open up schools for constant systematic education. For credibility: In Semipalatinsk region 85%, Akmolinsk – 50%, Torgaisk – 60%, Uralsk – 80% of the Kazakhs lead nomadic life style [8]. By urging people to move from nomadic life style to a settle life style, from nomadic cattle breeding to a settle farming, from the mobile tents to a constant constructions, to constructions of villages and urban towns, he revealed double benefit: rise of welfare of the nation, creation of real conditions for construction of schools, and acquisition of knowledge of a young generation.

Next reason for such a low level of knowledge the enlightener saw in the very Russian politics of the czar, that was so against the opening of national schools, by using such excuses as not having the books in the national languages so the kids had no choice as to read in Russian. With that A. Baitursynov wrote: “Government benefits from teaching in one language, one faith, one rules in writing, but each nation needs its own faith, language and writing”. Only on the example of two counties we can see the whole picture: “Torgaysk region until 1st of January 1912 lived 570109 Kazakhs, there were 132 schools to educate Kazakh children, and so for every 3561 people there was one school. In the Kustanai county: in 1909 lived 60594 males, 52063 females, in total of 112657 Kazakhs. Amongst them 6065 had the knowledge of Kazakh grammar and Russian grammar 590, males. Kazakh reading knowledge had 357 females, Russian literacy –

This shows: in Kustani county from 100 males – 6 knew how to read in Kazakh, and Russian reading skills from every 1000 – 6 people” (9).

On the pages of “Kazakh” newspaper, A.Baitursynov raised the question of education: small number of schools, small number of students of Kazakh origins, absence of teaching staff, books, programs of study and so on. With his scientific and practical activities he contributed to solutions of those problems. The teacher- enlightener thought that “Education in the elementary school should be 5 years, first 3 years children must be educated in Kazakh language and the latter 2 years in Russian”. In schools kids must learn how to read, write, and learn such disciplines as mathematics, national language, national history, job training, basis of farming, natural history and geography.

He considered questions of education in tight connection with upbringing. So the upbringing he assigned to the family, school and surroundings. Worrying about the development of state culture, keeping the national features, paid very close attention of the upbringing of the child in the family, where they receive the basis of the national traditions, determine their status in the society, preparing to serve their nation. In his mind “knowing your duty – its the question of knowledge, education; to make you duty – it’s the responsibility of the citizen”. Therefore, the problem of every family, school is to – educate a citizen: “If the kid is brought up  as a citizen, he becomes one, if he is brought up as a slave he becomes one”, wrote the great teacher (10).

High results in education and in the upbringing A.Baitursynov connected with the individuality of the teacher, his moral qualities, knowledge, skills, his relationship to his work, and love for the children. “Teacher is the base of the school, what kind of a teacher that is how the school is going to be” – thought the enlightener. Calling the teacher “heart of the school he convinced that the teacher in the process of teaching activities  serves as the face, authorized by the society to educate children and implementing the goals of educating children.

Teacher – mentor pays attention of the younger generation of teachers to responsibilities and contents of their activities: “First and foremost the teacher must know what he is teaching, second – must be a good psychologist – must know the age and psychological features of the development of the child, must differentiated the inner condition of the child just by his behavior”. However, it is necessary to have appropriate education, for this reason the question of professional training has been numerously brought up. A.Baitursynov was convinced that in order to acquire strong knowledge totally depends on the methods used  to teach, that why he called upon perfection. Teacher must know how to pass his passion of the subject to children, education must be concluded involving the interests of the children, teach the children to use logic, teach them how to memorize, education and upbringing must be directed to give children comprehensive development. Exposing to sharp critique scholastic education, unnecessary memorization, unjustified methods of teaching and upbringing, A. Baitursynov concentrated the attention of the teachers on the czar held politics which consisted of getting read of national traditions and customs, instead he insisted that education and upbringing is directly related to the traditions and psychological thinking of the people. These great thought are actual nowadays. In his works he also talks about qualities such as interests, memory, attention and desires. He thought that it was important from early ages to implement on children to work hard, to persistence, observation and other positive qualities.

Talking about the socium, he concentrated on the children’s relationships, who do they interact  with, because children tend to copying. He believed that children must be raised with humanitarian, patriotic feelings, sincerity, without these simple moral qualities education is impossible.

Thereby, analyzing his work we have witnessed major impact on the development of the national culture, education and upbringing. Ideas of the great thinker, public and political activist are still alifel is because, they were devoted to actual problems not only of that time but give answers to many questions of today.



  1. Kazakh, 1915, # 87.
  2. Dulatov M. Favorites – Almaty, 1991, – c. 295. 3. Kazakh, 1913, # 1.
  3. Baitursynov A. Ak zhol – Almaty: Zhalyn, 1991, – c.
  4. Baitursynov A. Ak zhol, – c.
  5. Baitursynov A. Ak zhol, – c.
  6. Kazakhstanskaya Pravda, 1998,
  7. Baitursynov A. Ak zhol, – c 227,
  8. Baitursynov A. Ak zhol, – c. 45. 10.Baitursynov A. Ak zhol, – c.
Year: 2012
City: Almaty
Category: Sociology