Kazakh Government to spend $47 million on school digitisation in 2018

ASTANA – Schools in Kazakhstan will receive more than 15 billion tenge (US$47.25 million) in 2018 to access broadband Internet and to provide technical equipment for school information systems, said Social and Cultural Development Committee Chair Gulnur Iksanova during a March 19 session in the Mazhilis (lower house of the Parliament).

Снимок экрана 2018-03-29 в 10.42.09

Gulnur Iksanova. Photo Credit: Mazhilis press service

Sixty-two percent of schools in Kazakhstan have access to broadband internet, while 88 schools still have no access, which makes other school systems and education tools mostly useless without the internet.

“Problems with technical equipment are acute. Though there is one computer per 10-11 children on average and this indicator is considered acceptable, computer equipment in schools is by 28 percent outdated. Another 22.3 percent of computers are needed for information technologies classes and other subject classes,” said Iksanova.

The use of funds allocated to provide internet access in schools, she noted, is also ineffective, emphasising 700 million tenge (US$2.198 million) that remained unused last year out of a total of 3.6 billion tenge (US$11.3 million) allocated from the national budget for that purpose.

“Inspection of the quality of internet connection in schools revealed a discrepancy between the stated and serviced channel width of network,” she added.

This year, the government allocated more than 3 billion tenge (US$9.42 million) for the same purpose and Iksakova stressed the need to conduct an audit across all regions meant to check the quality of the implementation of agreements.

Another obstacle, according to her, is lack of standard requirements to equipment and network infrastructure in educational organisations.

“Failure of e-learning projects could partially be explained by the fact that the equipment was purchased without providing access to internet. Interactive boards stood idle in the absence of educational resources. Twelve sets of server equipment purchased for the regions are still not serviced. Meanwhile, the budget for this project was more than 30 billion tenge (US$94.2 million),” said Iksanova.