New Institute Seeks to Develop Well-Rounded Kazakh Women

ASTANA – Qazaq qyzy (Kazakh girl), the first women’s institute of cultural and moral education, opened its doors on Sept. 18. The institute aims to provide behavioural education, teaching the best of Kazakh and European social and moral traditions so that its graduates can demonstrate Kazakhstan as a developed socio-economic and cultural country.

Kazakh TraditionsVice-Speaker of Parliament Dariga Nazarbayeva, Astana Mayor Imangali Tasmagambetov, Mazhilis member Zagipa Baliyeva, Senator Byrganym Aitimova, Chairman of the National Commission for Women, Family and Demographic Policy under the President Makhabbat Bekbossynova and other officials attended the opening ceremony. The founders of the institute hope the project will promote Kazakh culture and revive cultural norms and principles, traditional customs and family traditions.

According to the project initiators, such institutions can help prevent many of the problems of society, such as orphans, abandoned seniors and excessive emancipation, as well as the detachment of young people from their roots.

“When we read in the news that young women abandon their children in the trash, it makes you wonder how this could happen to us because our traditions and our ways never imagined such a development of events,” said Gauhar Myssaeva, the director of educational work of the institute. “I’m not saying to go all in with tradition and say that you need to do such and such and never otherwise, but there are those traditions that just need to be revived. A girl learns to understand the world through the beauty that she creates with her own hands. Through this inner state she learns to love the world. And when it all comes from the heart, the girl changes completely. She becomes purer and higher and she thinks completely different thoughts that do not lead her to such actions. We raise our girls to love everything around them and this combination of the internal and external will give us what we call ‘Qazaq qyzy.’”

“We now see that our Kazakh girls have some misunderstandings and we want to promote our culture and revive our traditions,” said Zarina Akhmetzhanova, director of public relations for Qazaq qyzy. “It is necessary to instill a love of work and love for their culture in our girls from an early age. Our mission is to promote Kazakh traditions and we want to create an image of the Kazakh girl. We are at the crossroads of Europe and Asia and a lady from Kazakhstan must combine all these qualities,” she added.

The institute will be enlisting girls from age 8 to 17. It will provide summer courses in June and July for older girls. The curriculum of the new education establishment will include etiquette, history of art, literature, public speaking, applied skills, drawing, floral design, music lessons and homemaking.

“Our goal is to bring up real Kazakh girls who are strong willed, rich in the wisdom of the Kazakh steppe, successful, educated, refined, elegant, proud and feminine,” continued Myssaeva. “We teach general culture and harmonious overall development. Our modules are a testimony to this. For example, the ethics module includes such subjects as the contemporary moral and ethical world, Kazakh moral norms and principles, customs and traditions in the Kazakh family and philosophy of motherhood.”

According to Myssaeva, Qazaq qyzy is designed for 300 pupils. The girls will be able to come before or after their main schooling so it is an additional system of education to broaden their worldview. There will be several areas of focus, including creativity, music and secular direction. It will also provide activities outside the walls of the institute for horseback riding and golf. Tuition fees will be 50,000 tenge (US$275) per month and will include six lessons per week, although pupils may take as many more supplementary classes as they would like.

The stakeholders of the Qazaq qyzy project note that their institute is aimed at implementing the Kazakhstan 2050 strategy, namely promoting an understanding of Kazakh culture and reviving moral norms and principles, customs and family traditions. The project is supported by the National Commission for Women, Family and Demographic Policy under the President, the Nur Otan Party, the city’s akimat (administration) and the Damu Entrepreneurship Development Fund.

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