SHYMKENT – To alleviate overcrowding in South Kazakhstan’s schools, 17.9 billion tenge ($117 million) was allocated for the construction of 88 new educational institutions in the region last year, according to Albina Elshieva, head of the regional department of education. 50 of the new facilities were put into operation in 2012.
This year, 19.6 billion (about $128 million) has been invested in the construction of 83 educational facilities. Construction is planned to be completed on 46 of these by the end of the year, including 28 schools, seven kindergartens, six annexes, two technical colleges while three schools will be renovated.
Additional funds were allotted from district budgets for the construction of four schools and a kindergarten. An additional kindergarten will be built by sponsors.
Due to active financing by the state in recent years, the number of adobe schools has been reduced from 270 to 209. However, schools in the south of the republic are still overcrowded: 35 schools are working in three shifts, while the number of students in the region increased by 4,000 last year to reach 534,195. This year there are already 7,000 new schoolchildren. Record birth rates in South Kazakhstan will only exacerbate this problem.
Efforts are being made to meet the the growing number of students’ requirements as well as to improve material and technical equipment at schools. In 2012, the region purchased 11,200 computers for one billion tenge ($6.5 million).
One of the main directions of the State Programme for the Development of Education up to 2020 is the introduction of e-learning. Also, the number of schools with trilingual education will increase from four to 125 and pupils in first through nine grades will be provided with free textbooks for all subjects. For these purposes, the regional budget has allocated 28.2 million tenge ($184,000) and districts’ and cities’ budgets, 1.4 billion (about $9 million).