On the status of the Kazakh, Russian and English languages in the education system of the Republic of Kazakhstan

The article presents the results of the normative and conceptual documents study which define strategic objectives and language policy of the Republic of Kazakhstan in the field of education. The main tendencies of strengthening of the consolidating role and the status of Kazakh as the state language, determination of the status of Russian as language of international communication and status of English as language of successful integration into global world economy are reflected in contents of the article. The necessity of development of foreign-language and multilingual education is proved in order that the Kazakhstan education system could provide the complete, high quality, competitive education, focused on result through formation and development of basic competences: trilingualism, Eurasian multiculturalism, communicativeness. Analysis of the basic provision of language policy in education, its core ideas emphasize the recognition of the importance of all languages and creation of the necessary conditions for the development of multilingualism, following its general line ensures equal and free development of the languages and cultures of all ethnic groups living in our state.

Introduction. The objective reality of the global society in the late 20th-early 21st centuries are the globalization of the world economy and increasing integration of the various aspects of countries' activities. This is especially evident in Europe, in the European Union.

At present, a unified European labor market has been formed. In its structure, the proportion of intellect-intensive industries has increased, which immediately reflected in the structure of the labor market needs in highly educated workforce.

Globalization of the economy is also reflected in the structure of national economies where foreign companies are present; therefore, the situation causes corresponding changes in the education policy of our country, whose national education systems cannot develop without integration into the world education space.

Today, internationalization of education and its intensive reformation are the reality in almost all developed countries. The Republic of Kazakhstan is in step with the world using the best global practices in its education system for the formation of a society based on knowledge.

The goal that our state sets for itself is to form a national model of competitive multi-level education integrated into the global education environment and meeting the needs of individuals and the society.

The success and optimality of this integration depend on the nature and extent of cross-cultural communication, or equal dialogue of cultures.

At the same time, there are two distinct lines of cross-cultural communication: the first one is related to the expansion of international cooperation, the second - with the cultural diversity of the society; whereas the first line is the strategy of a country's external competitiveness, the second reflects the policy of consolidation within the multicultural society. Modern countries are mainly multiethnic: there are about 3,500 ethnic groups in the world and only about 200 countries. In Kazakhstan, there are more than 100 ethnic groups, which means that the vast majority of people live in two cultural dimensions: on the one hand, they are within the framework of their native culture, on the other – there is a broad context of intercultural communication. It is well known that in the world there are four basic ways of coexistence of different cultural communities: assimilation, isolation, marginalization and integration, each having its own specific features, and only the integration strategy allows for optimal consolidation of a society.

In this situation, the problem of the dialogue of cultures can be solved in the framework of the language policy of the state legally defined in a number of documents, including the Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Republic of Kazakhstan Law «On Languages», «The Language Policy Concept of the Republic of Kazakhstan», «The Education Development Concept of the Republic of Kazakhstan in force for 2011-2020» [1-4].

Methods. It is generally recognized that a language is not only the most important means of international communication, but also an essential tool of understanding reality and consolidating its results in a mind, the basic form of a national culture existence and development; therefore, in the conditions of the developing education system in Kazakhstan, there is a demand today for a polylingual and polycultural person capable of free navigation in the megainformation environment. The main institutions to create conditions for the development and self-development of a person with such a status are the education ones: schools, colleges, universities.

In accordance with the subject and the objectives of the article, we have studied a number of normative and conceptual documents defining the strategic goals of the education in our country: the Law «On Languages in the Republic of Kazakhstan»; «The Foreign Language Education Concept of the Republic of Ka- zakhstan» (S.S. Kunanbayeva, М.К. Karmysova, А.М. Ivanova, T.D. Arenova, B.S. Zhumagulova, Т.D. Kuznetsova, S.К. Abdygapparova ); the Cultural Project «Triunity of Languages»; «The Polylingual Education Development Concept of the Republic of Kazakhstan (E.K. Kubeyev, L.А. Shkutina, B.А. Zhetpisbayeva, L.S. Syrymbetova, B. Zh. Zhankina) [2, 5-7].

Discussion. Results. Currently in the multiethnic Kazakhstan, the place and role of education in the context of the society development as a whole are being deeply analyzed. The Education Development Concept adopted in the Republic of Kazakhstan laid the foundation for the development of the education policy till 2015. According to the Concept, Kazakhstan's education system should «provide a complete, high-quality, competitive education, which would be oriented to a result achievable by developing the basic competencies: trilingualism, Eurasian polyculturalism, communicativeness ...» [2; 214].

«The Law on Languages in the Republic of Kazakhstan» adopted on 11 July, 1997 provides the legal basis for the functioning of languages in the Republic of Kazakhstan, the state's obligation to create conditions for studying and developing them, provides equal respect to all the languages used in our country, without exception. The language legislation shall apply to the citizens of the Republic of Kazakhstan, foreigners and stateless persons permanently residing in the Republic of Kazakhstan.

The law establishes that the state language of the Republic of Kazakhstan is the Kazakh language, which applies to public authorities, legislation, legal proceedings and record keeping, functioning in all the spheres of social relations throughout the country.

The law emphasizes that the duty of every citizen of the Republic of Kazakhstan is to learn the state language, which is an important factor in the consolidation of the people of Kazakhstan, and, in the state and local self-government bodies, on a par with the Kazakh language the Russian one is officially used.

The legislative consolidation of the following main provisions is of great importance:

  • – every citizen of the Republic of Kazakhstan has the right to use their native language, freely choose the language of communication, education, learning and creativity;
  • – in the Republic of Kazakhstan, it is prohibited to infringe the rights of the citizens on linguistic grounds;
  • – in areas densely populated by ethnic groups, their languages may be used in official events;
  • – the state shall promote conditions for the study and development of the languages of the people of Kazakhstan [2; 215].

Thus, even in the early years of the sovereignty and independence of our country, it showed respect and tolerance towards all the ethnic groups living in it and strongly expressed the need for the development of the languages and thus the cultures of all the peoples of our Republic. The adoption of this law, undoubtedly, was of great historic significance as it revealed the ideology and policy of the state in this sphere, on the one hand, and, due to the polyethnic nature of the Kazakhstani society, on the other hand, emphasized the importance of a culture of inter-ethnic interactions that contribute to the recognition of the idea that humans differing in their appearance, position, speech, behavior, and values have the right to live and coexist peacefully, preserving their native language and their ethnic identity.

The Concept of Foreign Language Education of the Republic of Kazakhstan (S.S. Kunanbayeva and others) points out that the integration processes that have been rapidly developing in the last decade, the growth of professional and academic exchanges, the deepening international cooperation have stimulated the progressive development of the foreign language education [5; 2].

The analysis of the Concept provides evidence of the appropriateness of the authors' conclusion that in the present conditions a foreign language has the status of an effective instrument for the formation of theintellectual potential of the society, which becomes an essential resource for the new state development at this point in history.

However, analyzing the condition of the foreign language education in Kazakhstan at the present stage, the researchers note that, despite some progress in this area, in general «the level of foreign language learning both in secondary and higher education does not meet the contemporary social needs» [5; 4].

The strategic course of foreign language education development in our country is determined by the above-mentioned group of researchers through the study of foreign languages as a reflection of the social and cultural reality, as a cultural phenomenon, national and universal, which promotes the following:

  • – formation of ideas about «a foreign world view»;
  • – development of the ability to communicate harmoniously in our own and other societies;
  • – preventing and overcoming conflicts arising from the historical, political and religious differences of cultures;
  • – creation of an effective framework for international and intercultural understanding through language [5; 8].

It is very important that the Concept was developed in line with the humanistic paradigm in which «a fundamentally new methodological direction is formed with a strong intercultural dominant implemented through the objective, the choice of the content and technology of foreign language education adequate to the formation and development of a personality able to participate effectively in intercultural communication». Therefore, in the transition to a new culture-forming system of foreign language education, it is natural, in our opinion, not to limit the learning process only to linguistic and cultural parameters of the country where the language studied is spoken, but to contribute to the definition of the place and role of the student's language and ethnic culture in the learning process. The characteristics of the objective and content of foreign language education in the context of the intercultural paradigm are due to the fact that the central element of the level model is the learner as the subject of the education process and intercultural communication.

Developing this idea, we would like to note that for us this means that the training of foreign language teachers should include formation of knowledge and skills that would contribute to the perception of students both as members of a particular social and ethnic group and representatives of a certain language and culture.

In accordance with this Concept, «the objectives of learning a foreign language are being reoriented». The main objective of foreign language education is to form a secondary language identity willing and able to communicate interculturally in another language. Among the major objectives, there is not «learning a foreign language» as such, but «foreign language education» aimed not only at the formation of pragmatic knowledge and skills, but rather at the development of «a personality by means of a foreign language», the language and culture being studied in parallel and interconnection, which is also very important for our research.

Updating and development of foreign language education, as envisioned by its authors, in secondary school may be aimed at teaching foreign languages in the context of the intercultural paradigm, which has a large student-growing potential; developing skills to represent one's native country and culture, as well as the culture of the country whose language is studied in a foreign language intercultural communication; teaching the basics of self-observation and self-evaluation in the sphere of foreign language learning; developing self-education potential, intellectual and creative abilities in the process of language learning and dialogue of cultures - the national culture and the one of the language studied [5; 14].

Thus, education in general and foreign language education are considered at the present stage of pedagogical science and practice development as one of the main conditions for the young generation to succeed in life in the rapidly changing world.

It should be noted that the functions of foreign languages cannot be reduced only to their use in professional activities; they perform other important socio-cultural and ethno-cultural functions, among which N.D. Galskova and N.I. Gez distinguish:

  • – establishing mutual understanding among peoples representing different languages and cultures;
  • – ensuring access to the variety of world politics and culture [8, 9].

We believe that achievement of the objectives set in the process of the Concept implementation and development of foreign language education will enhance the cultural and spiritual level of the future foreign language teachers and their preparation for the ethnic education of students, because a foreign language is an important tool of students' secondary socialization, which enables modeling the socio-cultural environment of schoolchildren - formation of their ideas about the world and determination of their place in it.

This conclusion is confirmed by the results of the study by B.M. Doshchanov. According to the author, the study of a foreign language is the basis of polycultural education, which is possible in a system of continuous education when there is a continuity of the approaches to foreign language teaching in secondary schools and universities helping solve problems associated with the formation of ideas:

  • – of culture as a social construct;
  • – on the diversity of modern polycultural societies of both the native and foreign language countries;
  • – of the similarities and differences among the various ethnic, social, linguistic, territorial, religious and cultural groups within a particular region or country;
  • – of the development of skills of positive interaction with other cultures and cultural self-identity by means of the native and foreign languages [10; 39].

To achieve the country's objective of becoming one of the most successful and developed countries of the world economy, the Cultural Project «Triunity of Languages» was adopted. It had been proposed by the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev. According to the Project, it is necessary to develop Kazakh as the state language, Russian as the language of interethnic communication, and English as the language of successful integration into the global economy [6].

This is due to the fact that learning languages is of utmost importance and is a compulsory and integral component of a comprehensive general professional training based on the psycholinguistic grounds of polylingualism perception.

Development of this project is related to the cooperation and integration of our country into the world education space, which is one of the main directions in the domestic and foreign policy of Kazakhstan. The objectives of implementing this cultural project outlined by the President have defined the key areas of the language policy, its pivotal idea of the harmonization of the society's spiritual sphere on the basis of tolerant coexistence of ethnic groups and languages [6].

The Cultural Project «Trinity of Languages» aims to provide polycultural and spiritual growth of the nation, strengthening the role of the state language as a factor of strengthening the Kazakhstani statehood, as well as Russian and English languages. Formation of the polycultural orientation of a person depends on the process of integration, the desire to create a society in which interpersonal and inter-ethnic relations are cultivated. In this situation, a native language is perceived as the most important value, and respect for it by speakers of other languages becomes a mandatory norm.

The analysis of the modern world realities convinces us that the function of a language reflects all the facets of the dialectic social development, manifested both in the preservation of national cultural traditions and ethnic roots and in the dynamics of information-integration processes. The role of a language in the context of globalization, economic, political and cross-cultural coordination is determined by the strategic objectives of establishing a common information, education and intellectual space opening new horizons for cooperation and interaction of peoples and countries.

Consequently, a language, being an integral part of a culture reflecting and preserving ancestral knowledge, shows their ethnic uniqueness and originality. A language embodies the pages of people's history, their traditions, represents a unique world declaring the value and uniqueness of each ethnic group, where preservation of the national language and culture is a prerequisite for its existence and development in today's multi-ethnic world, and the inevitable processes of globalization and integration expanding spatial boundaries and overcoming cultural and language barriers cannot absorb or destroy peoples' languages and cultures and prevent their tolerance, balanced, and harmonious coexistence.

The real basis for the implementation of the Cultural Project «Triunity of Languages» proposed by the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan N.A. Nazarbayev is the «Polylingual Education Development Concept of the Republic of Kazakhstan» developed by a group of researchers of the Y.A. Buketov Karaganda State University (E.K. Kubeyev, L.А. Shkutina, B.А. Zhetpisbayeva, L.S. Syrymbetova, B.Zh. Zhankina) [7].

The Concept is based on the realization by the authors of the social importance of language education «as a state, social, personal value and the need to strengthen its consolidating role and expand the functioning of Kazakh as the state language, Russian as the language of interethnic communication, and English as the language of successful integration into the global economy» [7; 2].

The purpose of the Concept is to develop the strategy and tactics of the implementation of the polylingualism ideas under the new education paradigm of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

In accordance with the purpose, the researchers identified the following objectives: analysis of the conditions and capabilities of the modern education system to implement the idea of the triunity of languages; definition of priorities in the development of polylingual education [7; 9].

The aim and expected outcome of polylingual education is a polylingual person. To substantiate and define this category, the researchers analyzed the correlation of the related concepts, such as: language identity, secondary linguistic identity, polycultural identity, an ethnic culture subject, an ethnic group subject, explaining that «polylingual education is an organic part of language education in general, the basic concept of which is a language identity. «In the Concept of foreign language education, this category is developed in the elaboration on the concept of a secondary language identity, which is indicated by the formation of intercul- tural competence» [7; 15].

Analyzing the concept of «polycultural identity», the researchers conclude that in the national pedagogical science it was born and developed in the context of ethno-cultural education, which is closely linked with ethnopedagogical concepts where «the key positions are occupied by the categories of an ethnic group subject and an ethnic culture subject».

Analysis of the correlation of the above concepts allows the Concept authors to justify and develop the concept of «a polylingual identity» mastering several languages in parallel. This is not a bilingual identity and not a secondary language identity.

Considering the Concept as a system which defines the legal, theoretical-methodological, scientific- methodological and organizational support of the implementation of the idea of polylingual education in different types of education institutions and regarding polylingual education as a purposeful, organized, and unified process of forming a polylingual identity based on the parallel acquisition of three and more languages, the researchers defined the concept of polylingual identity as an active speaker of multiple languages: the native language; the languages functioning in the society of residence; one or more foreign languages.

The following are the important provisions of the Concept:

  • – taking into account the cross-cultural paradigm of social relations, the definition of a polylingual person was supplemented by the Concept authors as follows: a polylingual person is a subject of dialogue of cultures, which is formed in a multi-ethnic education environment;
  • – the language in a native (natural) or artificial (deliberately organized educational) environment is always ethnic; therefore, in the process of a language transmission and acquisition the ethnic specificity of linguodidactics should be considered;
  • – the problem of distinguishing ethnolinguodidactics as a branch of linguodidactics studying the theory of parallel acquisition of several languages in an ethnocultural education environment becomes topical [7; 13].

Finally, the problem of polylingualism, because of its multidimensional, multifaceted nature and objective difficulties, as the Concept authors claim, creates the need for a new scientific discipline, which may be «actualized at the junction of sciences such as didactics, linguistics, linguodidactics, ethnopedagogics, ethnodidacticsm and ethnolinguistics, because is about learning, it is a matter of didactics; language learning is impossible without knowing the language, and it is linguistics; since we are talking about teaching a language, we should include linguodidactics; any subject of education represents a particular ethnic community, therefore, there is reason to talk about ethnopedagogical reality and, consequently, about ethnic pedagogics; education as part of ethnic pedagogics is etnodidactics; because a language always has an ethnic background, is the «plane of content» of an ethnic culture and ethnic psychology, it is ethnolinguistics» [7; 5-6].

The analysis of the Concept of polylingual education development leads to the conclusion that implementation of its main provisions is aimed at training future teachers of a foreign language, as it is the students of foreign languages departments have the opportunity, because of the nature of learning within their specialty, to deeply and fully understand and accept the idea polylingualism and optimally use real and potential opportunities and advantages of a foreign language.

Conclusion. Thus, the analysis of a number of state and conceptual documents of the RK leads to the conclusion that they actualize the problems of education related to the integration of our country into the world education environment. All the documents in the field of language policy contain the core idea of the necessity of mastering several languages.

The state language policy in education is based on the recognition of the importance of the development of all languages and creation of the necessary conditions for the development of multilingualism in the country. People communicate, along with the Russian and Kazakh languages, in more than a hundred languages, including the languages of national minorities. These circumstances form a solid foundation for the development of polylingualism of an individual and the society as a whole, as well as for learning foreign languages, for the «successful integration into the global economy».

The study and analysis of the key directions of the language policy of our state, its core idea show that following its general line guarantees equal and free development of languages and, consequently, the cultures of all the ethnic groups living in our country. At present, speaking several languages in our country is seen as a necessary component of the cultural development of an individual, and polylingualism is recognized as a compulsory component of the professional competence of a modern specialist and thus an essential component of the modern higher education.



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Year: 2018
City: Karaganda
Category: Pedagogy