Program for adapting educational process to post-COVID stage developed in Kazakhstan — Askhat Aimagambetov

At the government session chaired by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan Askar Mamin, the preparations for the start of the academic year was considered. The reports were made by Minister of Education and Science Askhat Aimagambetov, Minister of Healthcare Alexey Tsoy, akims of the Mangystau region Serikbay Trumov and Turkistan region — Umirzak Shukeyev.

As the Minister of Education and Science Askhat Aimagambetov noted in the main report, preparations for the new academic year are being carried out according to the plan. The academic year is traditionally scheduled to begin on Sep. 1.

According to the plan, the duration of the academic year is 34 weeks. Summer school programs are also planned for another 4 weeks.

There is a growth in the network of new schools, among which, along with the state, there are also private ones. Today in Kazakhstan the network of public schools is 7,475 institutions, private — 298.

The total number of students is 3.6 million people.

The contingent of colleges is 470 thousand, universities — 650 thousand students.

According to the minister, sanitary and epidemiological measures will be taken in all educational institutions to ensure the safety and health of participants in the educational process:

- daily thermometry, ventilation, quartzing, disinfection; application of the Ashyq system, 100% vaccination of students over 18 years of age, teachers and other workers.

“The entrance of unauthorized persons into the school and public events are prohibited. The system will work one class — one office. In colleges and universities, breaks are organized at different times, a mask regime is observed,” Aimagambetov noted.

Regarding kindergartens, according to the minister, in the new academic year they will work normally with groups of 20-25 children.

Education in grades 1-11 in schools is carried out in a traditional format, subject to sanitary restrictions. Students from all college and university courses will also be taught in the traditional format. Additional shifts will be organized at schools, time for breaks will be determined and measures will be taken to transfer to distance learning in case of illness of a student or illness of parents.

The central theme of the year — the 30th anniversary of Independence of the Republic of Kazakhstan will be dedicated to the Day of Knowledge on Sep. 1. The solemn line will be held outdoors in a traditional format only for 1st grade students. In a solemn atmosphere, they will be awarded Alippe (Primer). For students in grades 2-11, classroom hours will be held in classrooms.

As for the requirements for school uniforms, they will also be observed in the new academic year. But at the same time, it is allowed to come to school in comfortable classical style clothes.

On digitalization issues, the minister assured that all educational institutions will have access to digital platforms. Today, 13 thousand video lessons in all subjects for grades 1-11 are posted on youtube, aitube and in the Kundelik system. Video tutorials contain over 100,000 exercises and test tasks. It is supposed to use 8 digital platforms with educational content.

On the portals, according to the minister, there are lessons from leading teachers, virtual laboratories for intensive immersion, etc. To adapt the educational process to the postform stage, a program is being implemented to fill the gaps in students' knowledge.

The duration of the lessons is traditionally 45 minutes long.

Of course, special attention in the education system is paid to vaccination issues. Today, according to the minister, 93.1% of teachers and 88.4% of other workers are vaccinated against CVI in educational organizations.

As for the staffing of educational institutions, according to the minister, more than 12 thousand young specialists will join the ranks of teachers in the new academic year. Most of them are expected in Aktobe, Turkistan and Zhambyl regions.

The approximate contingent of first-graders in the new academic year is 380 thousand children, of which 97% are already enrolled in grade 1.

Reporting on the readiness of the educational institutions themselves for the academic year, the minister noted that today major repairs are underway in 268 schools. In most of them, repairs will be completed by the beginning of the school year. At the same time, there is a risk of non-completion of major renovations in 36 schools.

The largest number of schools, the repair of which will not be completed before Sep. 1, is in Almaty and Kostanay regions. The minister asked akims to pay attention to this. In the rest of the regions, current repairs will be carried out in all schools and will be completed before the start of the school year.

As the minister further noted, in the new academic year, 100% will be provided access to the textbooks of grade 1 students, including their free electronic versions. In Turkistan, Pavlodar regions, there is a shortage of textbooks for additional purchases for students in grades 2-11.

The contingent of children from socially vulnerable families, according to the minister, is 385 thousand children. They are assisted in purchasing clothes and office supplies from the general education fund.

At the same time, in the Atyrau region, the amount of funds allocated for the provision of material assistance to children from socially vulnerable families has decreased.

For some regional schools, the problem of transport for children is still relevant. Today, more than 31 thousand school students need transportation. Currently, there are 1,058 buses for organizing transportation. The bus fleet was renewed by 454 buses.

“The Roadmap for providing schools with buses has been approved, and it is planned to purchase 515 new buses through leasing,” Aimagambetov reported.

In colleges, according to the minister, for the 2021-2022 academic year, a state order will be placed for 96 thousand places in 10 directions and more than 200 demanded specialties. But despite the high proportion of young people in the NEET category, in the Turkistan and Zhambyl regions, a decrease in the state order for training personnel with technical and vocational education was allowed.

Summing up the results of his speech, Aimagambetov drew the attention of akimats of regions, the cities of Nur-Sultan, Almaty and Shymkent to the following issues:

- ensuring timely delivery of textbooks for all students;

- timely completion of capital and current repairs of educational organizations;

- providing educational organizations with the necessary sanitary and disinfectants;

- organization of transportation, food and support for needy children from socially vulnerable families from the universal education fund;

- providing educational organizations with the Internet and connection to digital educational platforms;

- provision of educational organizations with teaching staff;

- completion of the introduction of Ashyq and vaccination of teachers and other workers in all educational institutions;

- updating video surveillance cameras for the safety of children in educational organizations, connecting video cameras of educational organizations in cities and regional centers to the central educational center, installing alarm buttons and turnstiles, installing warm toilets.

“Preparation for the new academic year will be under the constant control of the ministry,” Aimagambetov assured.

Minister of Healthcare Alexey Tsoy in his report focused on the current sanitary and epidemiological requirements for organizations and institutions of the education system.

According to the minister, as part of improving the legal framework, the ministry has carried out work to update the current sanitary and epidemiological requirements for the organization of anti-epidemic measures during the quarantine period at educational facilities. On Aug. 5, 2021, new sanitary rules "Sanitary and Epidemiological Requirements for Educational Objects" were approved.

The sanitary rules contain requirements:

- to the formats of education (distance, mixed and traditional);

- to the organization of meals (seating of students in the dining room is ensured with a social distance between them of at least 2 m);

- to the occupancy rate of premises in buildings, auditoriums, sports and assembly halls (no more than 40-50% of the design capacity);

- to laboratory, practical and studio classes (carried out with the provision of at least 5 m2 per 1 student);

- occupancy of rooms in dormitories (up to 50%).

“The vaccination of teachers and school personnel is nearing completion. Vaccination of students aged 18 and over has begun,” noted Tsoy.

Territorial health departments as part of regional interdepartmental commissions continue to monitor the readiness of schools for the new academic year. Taking into account the current legislation and the epidemiological situation, the transition to the traditional format of teaching in schools is possible with 100% vaccination of teachers and staff, with the exception of persons with permanent medical contraindications who have recovered within 3 months after recovery.

“Taking into account the positive experience, we believe it is advisable to use the Ashyq application at the entrance to schools in order to control infected, unvaccinated and contact persons from among teachers, staff and parents,” said Tsoy.

It is necessary, according to the minister, to ensure strict observance of sanitary and anti-epidemic measures, including a daily morning filter for all employees and students; ban on holding mass events; the abolition of the armchair learning system; dissociation of classes and distribution of change for different classes; strengthening control over the organization of meals in canteens.

“Transfer to distance learning in cases of introduction of quarantine in schools will be carried out differentially, depending on the number of cases in 1 incubation period; identified violations of the sanitary and epidemiological regime, as well as the number of close contact persons,’’ said Tsoy.

With the transition of universities and colleges to the traditional format of education, according to the minister, it is also necessary to ensure 100% vaccination of teachers and employees, staff of hostels and canteens, students aged 18 and over.

In order to prevent the spread of coronavirus infection, it is imperative to introduce the Ashyq application at the entrance to educational buildings, libraries and hostels. In addition, it is necessary to comply with sanitary and anti-epidemic measures, including a daily morning filter for all employees and students; a ban on holding mass events, installing recirculators in lecture halls or airing.

“It is necessary to strengthen control over living conditions in hostels. In addition, within the framework of the current moratorium on inspections, it is necessary to organize internal self-control over the organization of meals for students in canteens,” said Tsoy.

The minister also reported that in order to monitor compliance with the quarantine regime, it is necessary to expand the powers of mobile groups to monitor compliance with the requirements for vaccination of teachers and employees of educational facilities, student residence in dormitories, canteens of educational institutions. In this regard, the ministry has prepared a draft amendments to the algorithm of actions of officials on the application of administrative measures when violations of the requirements for compliance with restrictive measures, including quarantine, are detected, approved by the IAC protocol of Dec. 7, 2020.

In this regard, akimats of regions, Nur-Sultan, Almaty and Shymkent should be organized and ensured:

1) the work of monitoring groups to ensure compliance with quarantine measures at educational facilities, in student residences in hostels, in canteens;

2) timely purchase of a stock of disinfectants, detergents and antiseptic agents, cleaning equipment, sanitizers, protective masks, recirculators, thermal imagers;

3) the readiness of educational buildings and hostels in accordance with the requirements;

4) using the Ashyq application when entering schools, educational buildings, libraries and hostels.

Further, the regional akim Serikbay Trumov reported on the preparation for the academic year in the Mangystau region.

“In the new academic year, 143 educational facilities will start operating in the Mangystau region. The total contingent of school students in comparison with last year increased by 8 thousand and is 166 thousand students. 19 thousand children will come to the 1st grade,” Trumov noted.

Two schools for 1,500 places and 1 private school for 100 places will open on Sep. 1. By the end of the year, it is planned to put into operation annexes to 3 schools for 887 places and a private school for 670 places. All schools underwent routine repairs, including renewed heating systems for 37 schools.

Within the framework of the electoral program of the Nur Otan party, comprehensive renovations are being carried out in 22 schools.

For the amount of 108 million tenge, all schools are equipped with disinfecting tunnels, quartz, sanitizers and masks. The schedule of classes is compiled in compliance with sanitary standards. Also, students of the same class will study in the same classroom. All organizations have implemented the Ashyq program.

85 million tenge was allocated for compliance with the requirements of the video surveillance system of schools. Video surveillance systems are connected to the center of the Police Department, alarm buttons are installed. For a phased transfer to the specialized security of all schools, funds in the amount of 564 million tenge are provided from the local budget.

In the new academic year, 644 young specialists will arrive at schools. To date, 77.5% of educators have been vaccinated.

All other teachers will receive the vaccine by the end of next week. Textbooks are purchased for 2.3 billion tenge, they will be delivered to schools by Aug. 25.

The organization of sponsorship support has begun for 25 thousand students from families in need of support, and more than 6 thousand children from families belonging to vulnerable groups of the population have received financial assistance in the amount of 25 thousand tenge from the local budget.

“Work in this direction will continue and appropriate measures will be taken to timely prepare educational organizations for the new academic year,” Trumov noted.

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