Educational Challenges in Kazakhstan

Written by Joseph Kamanga


Kazakhstan, a country in Central Asia, is facing significant educational challenges that hinder its progress toward a thriving and inclusive educational system. These challenges have far-reaching consequences, impacting student outcomes, workforce readiness, and overall socioeconomic development. In this article, we will explore and analyze the key challenges faced by the Kazakhstani educational system and shed light on the obstacles that need to be addressed to ensure a brighter future for the country’s students (Akhmedjanova 2018).

Unequal Access to Quality Education

The unequal access to quality education across different regions of Kazakhstan remains a major challenge. Disparities in infrastructure, resources, and qualified teachers persist, particularly in rural and remote areas. This inequality perpetuates social and economic disparities, hindering overall development and opportunities for students in these regions.

Outdated Curricula and Teaching Methods

The presence of outdated curricula and traditional teaching methods poses a significant obstacle to the Kazakhstani education system. Rote memorization and a lack of emphasis on critical thinking, problem-solving, and practical application of knowledge hinder the development of essential skills required for the modern workforce. The curriculum also needs to be updated to align with the demands of the 21st century. (Mukhametzhanova 2019)

Digital Divide and Technological Challenges:

The digital divide and technological challenges in Kazakhstan’s educational system pose significant obstacles to equitable access to quality education. The availability and accessibility of digital infrastructure, internet connectivity, and digital devices vary across different regions, with rural and remote areas facing greater disparities. This digital divide hampers students’ ability to benefit from online learning resources, digital tools, and educational technologies. Additionally, limited digital literacy skills among teachers and students further exacerbate the challenge. Addressing the digital divide and providing adequate technological support and training to educators and students is crucial to ensure inclusive and effective education in Kazakhstan (Hauge 2019).

UN Women in Kazakhstan launched a new project to strengthen STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). Photo by UN Women.

Shortage of Qualified Teachers

The shortage of qualified teachers in Kazakhstan is a pressing challenge that affects the quality of education. High turnover rates, low salaries, and limited professional development opportunities contribute to difficulties in attracting and retaining highly skilled educators. This shortage leads to larger class sizes, limited individualized attention, and a decline in the overall instructional quality. (OECD 2018)

Insufficient Focus on Vocational Education

The lack of emphasis on vocational education opportunities is another challenge faced by the Kazakhstani educational system. The current system primarily prioritizes academic degrees, neglecting the importance of practical skills training. As a result, there is a shortage of skilled workers in various industries, hindering economic growth and diversification. (Tanirbergenova 2017)

Inclusion of Marginalized and Disadvantaged Groups:

The educational system in Kazakhstan faces the challenge of ensuring the inclusion of marginalized and disadvantaged groups. This challenge encompasses various groups, including children from low-income families, ethnic minority groups, children in remote areas, girls, and children with special educational needs. These groups often encounter barriers that hinder their access to quality education and limit their educational opportunities.

One aspect of this challenge is the limited resources available to support the education of marginalized and disadvantaged groups. Low-income families may struggle to afford educational materials, uniforms, and transportation costs, which can impede their children’s ability to attend school regularly and participate fully in the educational process. Additionally, schools in remote areas may lack sufficient infrastructure, resources, and qualified teachers, further exacerbating educational disparities for children in these regions.

Language barriers also pose a significant challenge for certain marginalized groups, particularly ethnic minority children. Kazakhstan is a diverse country with various ethnic groups, each with its own language and cultural heritage. However, the educational system predominantly operates in Kazakh or Russian, which can create barriers for non-native speakers. Limited access to education in their mother tongue can affect these children’s ability to fully understand and engage with the curriculum, potentially leading to lower educational outcomes.

Cultural biases and discriminatory practices can further hinder the inclusion of marginalized groups in the educational system. Girls, for example, may face traditional gender roles and expectations that prioritize their domestic duties over their education. This can result in lower school enrollment rates and limited educational opportunities for girls, impacting their long-term prospects and perpetuating gender inequalities. Similarly, children with special educational needs may encounter stigmatization, inadequate support, and a lack of inclusive educational settings that cater to their specific needs.

Inadequate Funding and Research

Insufficient funding for education, coupled with limited research opportunities, creates obstacles to progress. Inadequate financial resources hamper infrastructure development, access to learning materials, and the implementation of necessary reforms. Moreover, the lack of research funding limits innovation, knowledge creation, and evidence-based decision-making within the education system. (Rakhmatullayeva 2020)


Recognizing and addressing the educational challenges in Kazakhstan is crucial for the country’s sustainable development and the well-being of its citizens. Unequal access to quality education, outdated curricula, shortage of qualified teachers, insufficient focus on vocational education, and inadequate funding and research are significant hurdles that need to be overcome. By implementing comprehensive reforms, increasing investments in education, prioritizing teacher training and retention, modernizing curricula, expanding vocational education opportunities, and allocating adequate funding for research, Kazakhstan can pave the way for a brighter future. These efforts will empower Kazakhstan’s students to thrive in an ever-evolving world and contribute to the country’s sustainable development.


Akhmedjanova, G. (2018). Challenges facing the education system in Kazakhstan. Journal of Education and Vocational Research, 9(2), 57-62.

Mukhametzhanova, Z. (2019). Outdated Curricula and Teaching Methods in Kazakhstan: Challenges and Solutions. International Journal of Educational Development, 75, 102178.

Rakhmatullayeva, G. (2020). Teacher shortage in Kazakhstan: Causes and solutions. International Journal of Educational Development, 64, 115-120.

Tanirbergenova, A., & Kupeshova, G. (2017). The challenge of vocational education in Kazakhstan. European Journal of Social Sciences Education and Research, 9(2), 37-43.

OECD. (2018). Education in Kazakhstan: Moving towards 2030.

Hauge, T. E., & Prieto, L. P. (2019). Digital inequalities in Kazakhstan: Exploring socio-economic disparities in internet use. Information, Communication & Society, 22(7), 988-1005.

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