This article is describes the development of a poly-lingual program in Kazakhstan based on the example of Kh. Dosmukhamedov Atyrau State University where since 2010 English language training has been introduced to pilot groups of teachers. We researched a number of curriculum areas taught by teachers enrolled in the pilot poly-lingual training programme. It was found that the number of credits awarded for bachelors the poly-lingual programme was minimal. Only 18 credits out of 71 available were awarded for language and specialist subject modules. The specialist modules were allocated only 5 credits for courses whose objectives were the preparation of highly qualified specialists with a knowledge of several languages. At the same time there was a successful training programme for teachers of English which opened in 2010 in order to promote the successful transition of the university to the poly-lingual programme. The results showed that the preparation of students for poly-lingual programme has a number of benefits, but problems which require addressing.
A poly-lingual programme can stimulate the study of humanities in the national educational system. The implementation of the cultural project «Trinity of languages» in Kazakhstan requires the development of three languages: Kazakh the state language, Russian a language of international communication and English the language of successful integration into the global economy. Learning a foreign language forms, communicative skills, which are necessary for a person as a member of society, a member of a team, a member of a family. It implies the ability to listen and to communicate. English as a medium of international communication occupies a leading position in the world.
Knowledge of Kazakh, Russian and foreign languages is becoming an integral component of personal and professional activities in modern Kazakh society for both personal and professional activities. All this creates the need for a large number of citizens who are proficient in several languages and who therefore have a real opportunity to gain a more prestigious position in society both socially and professionally.
The most important strategic objective of education in Kazakhstan is the preservation of the best of Kazakhstani educational traditions, whilst providing graduates with international qualification skills, developing their linguistic skills, which are the mastery of the State, the native and foreign languages.
The content of poly-cultural education is multidimensional and interdisciplinary and allows students to consider the problems of poly-cultural education as a part of subject areas. Use by teachers of innovative methods, which will promote an interest in learning, duty and responsibility in training, will intensify the process of language training and promote efficiency of assimilation the Kazakh, Russian and foreign languages.
On instructions from the President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, since 2013, in the country’s schools the study of English has begun from the first year. After 5 years, these students will learn modules delivered in English. By 2021 it will be necessary to prepare qualified personnel to carry out such work.
From 2010 the Atyrau State University has begun to train teachers in the English language and has been begun selecting students with a basic knowledge of English to further their training on an experimental basis for a number of specialties, such as 5B060800 – «Ecology», 5B011200 – Chemistry, 5B011000 – «Physics», 5B010900 – «Mathematics».
Aims. Foreign languages can be used to teach other disciplines. To achieve an international standard of proficiency in several languages, it is necessary to formulate the concept of poly-lingual education. It involves the formation of poly-lingual person by using a certain selection of content, principles of training, development of a special technique using poly-lingual phrasebooks, dictionaries and educational literature, which would indicate similarities and differences in basic, intermediate and new language learning.
The study aims to examine the introduction of poly-lingual programmes in higher educational institutions of Kazakhstan such as Atyrau State University. These studies are of practical interest, which will allow for further planning to take into account the shortcomings encountered and to make changes to the full implementation of poly-lingual education programmes.
Results. The poly-lingual person is an active speaker of several languages representing: the speech persona complex of the psycho-physiological properties allowing the individual to carry out speech activity in several languages simultaneously; the communicative persona set of abilities for verbal behavior and the use of several languages as means of dialogue with representatives of different linguistic societies; and an understanding of the outlook and attitudes of other linguistic societies,
Poly-lingual competence can be considered not only as a possession of several foreign languages, but also as the ability to learn foreign languages, knowledge of «a sense of language», and the desire and ability to independently learn foreign languages.
In order to increase interest in the study of foreign languages by university teachers, including English in Kazakhstan, universities have begun to open special departments for the study of foreign languages. In addition the government is working to attract teachers to university internships in foreign universities. «The State Programme of Educational Development of the Republic of Kazakhstan for 2011-2020” has given special attention to this problem». Since 2011: in the international scholarship of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan «Bolashak» training will be provided for English language teachers of secondary, technical and vocational education, higher education ... It is planned that each year up to 2020 training courses will be held for 73,3 thousand people.
From 1993 to 2013 the ‘Bolashak’ International Scholarship was awarded to 10,025 Kazakhs funding their study on the top universities of 33 countries. For this purpose the center of the «Bolashak» international has awarded scholarships since 2011.
Atyrau State University joined this programme in 2009 and started to prepare for the transition to the poly-lingual system of education. Since 2010, it has run a number of specialist courses preparing specialists in three languages: Kazakh, Russian and English, in subject areas such as ecology, chemistry, tourism, etc. In order to educate students performed to a high level in the center has been opened to train poly-lingual educational personnel. Personnel from each had the opportunity to improve their knowledge of English by attending free classes at this center. In addition, five teachers were awarded the Bolashak international scholarship and trained at the University of Northampton (England) that will enable them to teach at the appropriate level in English.
For the purpose of scientific and methodological support poly-lingual education it has been necessary to amend the curricula and develop educationally methodologically complex disciplines in areas of training undergraduates in a foreign language, and to consider the use of foreign teaching materials on the subjects. In Atyrau State University of poly-lingual programme was introduced for specialties 5B060800 – «Ecology», 5B011200 – «Chemistry», 5B011000 – «Physics», 5B010900 – «Mathematics», 5B011100 – «IT», 5B050800 – «Finance», and 5B090200 – «Tourism». In order to study this programme students are tested in English proficiency and those students who gain the appropriate level of training continue studying a variety of modules in English. All students study common to all modules that make up the 15 credits, such as:
- Kazakh language (for groups of Russian speakers) or Russian (for groups of the Kazakh speakers) – B1 – Intermediate, B1 – extending average levels.
- Foreign Language (English) – B2-initial, continuing levels of B2.
- Specific professional foreign language.
- Kazakh language or Russian language for special purposes.
- General professional foreign language.
A list of specialty study modules on the poly-lingual programme:
Bachelors 5B060800 – «Ecology» study subjects such as Ecology of water ecosystems.
Assessment of an ecological condition of oil fields, Social ecology and sustainable development.
Bachelors 5B010900 – «Mathematics» – Equation of the partial derivative, Differential geometry and topology, Mat Lab, Mat Cat.
Bachelors 5B011000 – «Physics» – Computer methods in Physics, Electrodynamics AST.
It is interesting to note that the number of credits for the poly-lingual module make up a small part of the total available being only 18 credits out of 71 credits. Thus only 5 credits are allocated for specialized modules in English, the Kazakh language (for Russian speakers) or in Russian (for Kazakh speakers).
It is suggested the number of credits be distributed the following proportions: from 71 credits of components at the choice of the basic and specialized modules 15 credits are the share of the general for all specialties of module, then it is the share of specialized modules of 56 credits or till 17–20 the credits for modules of the corresponding language (Kazakh, Russian and English).
Table showing suggested credits for a Trinity of Languages Course
- Kazakh for Russian speakers or Russian for Kazakh speakers
- English language 15 credits
Subject modules taught in a foreign language 17–20 credits
e.g. English/Russian/Kazakh sub-total 56 credits
Total for the complete course 71 credits.
Another problem is the time allowed for students whose level of English is low to study the language. Currently only about 10 % who begin an English language course reach the required level and are able to continue their studies in this programme. The small amount credits allocated does not encourage them to continue until they have achieved the standard necessary.
Conclusions. The State language policy in Kazakhstan is regulated by legal documents, including the Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Laws of the Republic of Kazakhstan «On Languages», «On Education», The State programme of functioning of languages in the Republic of Kazakhstan for 2011–2020. Concept of development of foreign language education of the Republic of Kazakhstan and others, which constitute its legal basis.
In terms of theoretical and methodological support it will be necessary to carry out research and educational research on the development of poly-lingual education. First of all, the creation of a scientific laboratory will be required. Its objectives would be an analysis of the language situation in educational institutions, the development of the conceptual foundations of multilingual education, the organization of pedagogical experiment to introduce training in three languages.
In conclusion, despite the difficulties and challenges of multilingual programme will prepare competent specialists acting as the main factor of economic and social modernization of our society and contribute to the achievement of the three objectives: knowledge of languages, outlook integration, education worthy citizens.
The work is submitted to the International Scientific Conference «Content and technology management education in the context of the competency approach», UAE (Dubai), March, 4–11, 2014, came to the editorial office оn 05.02.2014.