text: Elina Alkova , exclusively for Gazeta.kz
Kazakhstani cultural space is going to be enriched in the new year. At the expense of Russia. The year 2003 has been announced the Year of Kazakhstan.
The president of the association of Russian language schools, Olga Victorovna Sarmanova, relates big hopes with this fact to improve "the great and powerful" language in our country. It's not a secret that pupils have always had a lot of problems with Russian and during the last year the bad knowledge of Russian has started to pose a threat of a real mass scale epidemics of illiteracy.
In the last year among 15 A-pupils, who aspired for the Russian University quotas at the testing exams held in Southern capital, there haven's been anyone, who would receive an A mark for the literacy. A single B mark and with a thick minus. Four persons got the worst marks! It is just scary to talk about average pupils or those below the average level. They write only punctuation without mistakes, and as many pupils say they put it on intuition.
Annually, a huge amount of literature in Russian arrives to Kazakhstan: schoolbooks, historical, psychological books, didactic materials. The intellectual wealth is distributed to schools for free! True, the interested schools must make an application for literature and get hold of it by their own force, because there are only few people working in the Association, and even those - are rather volunteers, than employees. In general, the friendship between the two States in the educational area is held up by the enthusiasm of a few people… and now everything's gonna change!
The Russian side started to act on its own initiative and it proposed its cooperation not only to the Association (that is to Almaty schools), but to all educational institutions of Kazakhstan.
In the last days of the past year a valuable shipment - books - came from Russia. Valeriy Komarov, assistant of the deputy of State Duma of RF, Gennady Churkin says that the action has been organised within the framework of the Year of Kazakhstan in RF, and there is going to be a lot of such events ahead. In Russia a program of suppport of the Russian-speaking population has been passed. It has been developed for all CIS countries, former Soviet Republics, and it's being realised in the Baltic countries, some States of the Far Abroad. And now it's Kazakhstan's turn.
What Russia gave us?
The union of the Russian-speaking Abroad brought scholl-books to Kazakhstan! More than 12 thousand books on precise sciences for 7-11 forms, plus Russian literature classics. The Russian side also presented new narrow profile textbooks for pupils, such as "Main notions and terms of mathematic analysis", as well as those dealing with the general development - "How long do animals live"? Those are useful books, intelligent ones for sure. Must be useful for us.
As for the fiction literature, proposed from that side, it appeared surprisingly strange or excessively "modernised", if one can say so. Nevertheless, our pupils, taking "War and peace" by Tolstoy shrinked into 450 pages into their hands, will probably remain content. As for those, who happened to read the original, which is four times more thick, they just wonder. What's that, a new compromise that Russia has found with its public unwilling to read? So it seems.
Gift horse's mouth!
So, the literature has become a real New Year surprise. Leo and Alexei Tolstoys, Gogol, Pushkin somehow found themselves published in a reduced form. Such adapted editions, which only give an idea and not more. Obviously, on the general background of falling interest to reading the publishers decided that if children decide to read at least "THIS!", it will be enough! Moreover, close to the novels in the same books there are reviews of those opuses, as well as didactic materials to help teachers carry out full fledged lessons and explain to the children how to write their compositions on the basis of those fragments. Each book by the "cut" classics is concluded by a list of recommended literature. It appears that previously the schoolbook in literature was accompanied by full novels and now such a pamhlet will do instead.
By the way, the duped Russian classics went to the directors of orphanages and boarding schools. The latter were happy because half a loaf is better than no bread. Russian side - from bad to worse, promised specially for us to publish in the nearest future an anthology of Kazakh classics: Abai, Musrepov, Valikhanov, Jambul.
Passports are preferred to quotas
In May 2002 in the ministries of Education of RoK and RF the issue of increasing quotas for Kazakhstani students received through Kazakhstani Association of Russian language schools was raised. Up to this day there were only two vacancies, to which our school graduates could aspire. Starting from this year the quotas will be increased to four. The educational cooperation program between the two States has been approved by the municipal Institute of Teachers Skills Improvement and by the Department of Education of Almaty. It is also expected that our teachers will be able to go to Russia to improve their skills. Actually, Kazakhstani delegations had never had a lack of these opportunities in the previous years, but in the current year the training in Omsk and Novosibirsk will be especially symbolic.
As for the "Law on ompatriots" passed in Russia, it doesn't promise anything good or new to our Russians. In due time the Association of Russian schools in Kazakhstan and Kazakhstani Russian community worked hard on its development. It was planned that the Duma would pass an enactment on some sort of ID for those, who are Russian, but live beyond the limits of Russian State.
This ID had to increase the rights of Russian speaking citizens significantly. In particular the schoole leavers would enter the Universities on equal conditions with Russians and would not be considered foreigners. The procedure of crossing the Russian border would be simplified. In general, the foreign Russians would not differ from Russian citizens with an exception that they would not have a right to participate in the elections. Alas. Today the law has been passed, and a compatriot ID has not become legal. In the resolution of any issues in Russia everything depends on citizenship. You got citizenship - you are a human being in RF, no citizenship - you're a foreigner, Russian or not - nobody cares. Kazakhstani Russians were very much disappointed about it, but there's nothing else to do. Again they got conolation from the cooperation and by hte fact that Kazakhstan will have to enter the world educational space anyway, and it won't do it without a friendhip with RF.
However, in Moscow they plan to open a general information centre for compatriots. Lately, New Russians want their children to study in RF not only in Universities, but in schools as well. In Russia there is still a network of professional schools, after which children get a profession. There are Production Training Compexes by the public schools - which are also oriented towards preparing the young working class to the working life. (Our PTC died during the optimisation period and are unlikely to be reanimated in the nearest future). The educational system of Russia presents a serious interest for an average (not rich) Kazakhstani Russian. How to satisfy this interest within the framework of the laws of two countries especially today, when the standards of Kazakhstani and Russian educational programs have grown so different? It's not a secret that to study in Omsk, Tomsk or any other Russian schools you have to know impeccably not only Russian language, but the history of Russian State and its geography as well.
The Centre will provide all interesting information. By the way, in the Southern capital there are two schools, whose charter provides a rapprochement of the curriculae of hte two States. At the expense of the invariant part Russian language and literature studies part is increased. However the teachers stress the fact that it is only a drop in the sea of decline of the general humanitarian culture and literacy. If the situation doesn't change, than communicative relations between the people will be destroyed. From the personal point of view there will be problems with self-realisation. It's good that not only Kazakhstani teachers, but politicians as well understand it. Otherwise would 2003 be the Year of Kazakhstan in Russia?
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