Kazakh Government to Distribute 500,000 Computers to Children From Disadvantaged Families to Start New Academic Year

NUR-SULTAN – The Kazakh government plans to prepare school students and teachers by Aug. 25 for them to start the 2020-2021 academic year in virtual classrooms. The government will ensure children from the most needy families are equipped with 500,000 personal computers, Kazakh Prime Minister Askar Mamin said during the Aug. 4 government meeting.

Photo credit: inform.kz.

For the vast majority of more than 3.3 million Kazakh students distance education will be the only option to study in the first quarter of the academic year. This includes more than 396,000 first graders who have never had a normal school experience.

The privilege of a traditional classroom education will be available at small schools with up to 50 students in total and in special classes for up to 10-15 elementary school children. The special classes will be organized only with parental requests for elementary school goers who cannot study at home.

Mamin instructed the government to finalize the new education methodology by Aug. 20. The education ministry will issue school textbooks by Aug. 25. The students will have online access to all hard copy textbooks.

Mamin also instructed the Ministry of Education and Science, and the akimats (city and regional administrations) to ensure the full preparedness of students and teachers for distance learning, as well as to prepare the educational internet resources and television programs by Aug. 25.

Exactly 4,422 schools, which is nearly 60 percent of all Kazakh schools, have high-speed internet connection – over 8 megabits per second, said Bagdat Musin, the first deputy minister of digital development, innovation and aerospace industry. According to him, the akimats can ensure high speed internet at 1,086 more schools because they have “the technical ability.”

The Kazakh government has plans to provide 928 villages with internet by the end of the year. Ninety seven of them should have internet access by September. As of today, 118 cities and 4,273 villages have high-speed internet and use 3G and 4G technologies while cities and large settlements use optical communication.

The government built 306 base stations and modernized 1,802 since March to expand the coverage area and the speed of internet connection. It allowed more than 105,000 new homes to be connected to the internet.

The ministry also decentralized educational resources in Kazakhtelecom national company’s data processing centers. This will localize educational resources by region. The centralized system has caused difficulties in the past with managing internet traffic. The new system will solve the problem of overloading.

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