Education • 06 August, 2020

2.6 million students to study in distance

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At the selector government session chaired by Prime Minister Askar Mamin, preparations for the beginning of the new 2020-2021 academic year were considered. Minister of Education and Science Askhat Aimagambetov reported on the work carried out.

The country is actively preparing for the new academic year. Due to the sanitary and epidemiological situation, from Sep. 1, the academic year will begin in the format of distance learning.

According to the minister, the decision has two features. Due to the epidemic situation, remote rural small schools will begin training in a regular mode, and duty classes will be opened for primary school students on the basis of parental statements in compliance with strict sanitary requirements. Applications for duty classes will be accepted electronically using available means of communication.

Thus, according to preliminary forecasts, 2.6 million students (79%) will be trained in distance learning format using Internet platforms and television, 530 thousand children (17%) in duty classes, and more than 157 thousand in the villages (4%).

“In preschool organizations, at the request of parents, admission of children to duty groups is organized. Accordingly, the number of children in these groups should not exceed fifteen. Children on the basis of their parents' statements will attend classes remotely or individually, as well as circles in small groups, no more than five children,” Aimagambetov said.

The work of special educational organizations is of particular importance for the ministry. Children with special needs in modern conditions require special attention. Therefore, at the choice of the parents, special online consultations or personal reception of specialists are organized. Children with complex disabilities are admitted individually, by appointment.

As for colleges, distance learning is offered in the specialties of pedagogical, IT, social, humanitarian, technological, agricultural, medical, art.

“Accordingly, we provide an opportunity to conduct laboratory work and industrial practice in a regular mode. Today, 102 colleges, located in remote rural areas and small towns, are operating in a regular mode, with a contingent of students of one group of no more than 15 students,” the minister said.

Education in higher educational institutions will be carried out mainly remotely.

“Lectures and seminars on technical, agricultural and natural areas, specialties of medicine and art (70%) are conducted online, and laboratory and practical classes (30%) — in a traditional format with strict observance of sanitary standards,” Aimagambetov noted.

Classes in master's and doctoral studies will be conducted on a mixed basis. Within this format, each organization will independently make decisions.

“With distance learning, the principles and technologies of the educational process will change accordingly. In this regard, we are working on changing the assessment norms, teaching methods and feedback on the results of the fourth quarter passed,” the minister stressed.

Along with this, since July, daily webinars have been held to explain the main directions of the distance learning system, the transition to various formats, depending on the sanitary and epidemiological situation. According to a separate schedule, explanatory seminars on organizing distance learning were held for 7 thousand school principals, 12 thousand deputy principals and about 2 thousand methodologists.

For all teachers in the country, advanced training courses in distance learning technologies have begun. They will cover 100% of teachers.

As Aimagambetov noted, it is important for parents and students to provide methodological support. Therefore, in August for children and parents will be held uniform class hours and parent meetings on the topics: "How to study at home?", "Basics of hygiene", "Cyberculture", "How to learn using the Internet?", "The value of physical exercise."

Knowledge Day is planned to be held on Sep. 1 online.

Together with local executive bodies, active work is underway to purchase computers for schools.

“In general, there is a deficit. We need to talk about this openly. Today 185 thousand students in the republic do not have computers. The deficit is observed especially in large, low-income families. Until Sep. 1, more than 500,000 children in this category will be provided with computer equipment,’’ Aimagambetov said.

24 thousand teachers do not have personal computers and 2 thousand teachers do not have access to the Internet. This issue will be resolved by transferring school computers for temporary use.

IT companies that presented their Internet platforms in the fourth quarter, in the summer, carried out a number of works on the proposals made, to improve the quality of distance learning, and also developed new functionalities necessary for the educational process.

Along with supplementing the content of the materials, IT companies have prepared modules for streaming video conferencing with the ability to record lessons. Automated systems for managing the educational process, analytics, assessments, etc.

Today, each school has the right to choose any platform that meets the needs of teachers on the Internet platforms of IT companies. In this short period of time, several new platforms are entering the market, competition and choice have appeared.

TV lessons are being developed in accordance with the spring experience. Television lessons are a very accessible tool. In total, more than 6 thousand TV lessons are filmed.

Classes will be broadcast on the Al-Farabi and El-Arna channels. The TV lessons will be broadcast 9 hours a day. In addition, all tele-lessons will be posted on the Internet and made available to all students.

Now, together with the Ministry of Information and Social Development, akimats have developed a coverage map for these channels. On its basis, it was established that in 604 settlements these channels are not available, but only 314 of them have students. This issue is being resolved through retransmission on local TV channels, installation of satellite dishes.

Work is underway to provide textbooks. 160,239 sets of textbooks were purchased for 11 classes. A dispatch schedule has been drawn up and agreed, the total dispatch rate is 50%, delivery is 35%. Since July, they began to issue textbooks to students.

The electronic version of the textbooks is available to students and teachers through QR codes.

In conclusion, Aimagambetov noted that in connection with a stable decrease in the incidence of the pandemic, educational organizations will gradually transition to a mixed and regular format of training in compliance with sanitary requirements.

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