Educational organisations in Kazakhstan 100% provided with video surveillance systems — Beisembayev

The first part of the Government session, chaired by Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov, two important issues were considered, security in educational organizations and the digitalization of the educational process. Reports were made by Minister of Education Gani Beisembayev and Minister Internal Affairs Marat Akhmetzhanov, Depury Minister of Digital Development, Innovation and Aerospace Industry Askhat Orazbek.

Minister of Education Gani Beisembayev reported on the current security situation in educational institutions. For example, he said, the agency is taking a comprehensive approach to ensuring the safety of children in educational establishments, which includes installing a video surveillance system, connecting them to the Central Education Centre, providing licensed security guards and alarm buttons.

A number of regulations have been adopted for this purpose:

  • Instruction on the organisation of anti-terrorist protection of facilities vulnerable to terrorism in the field of education;
  • A list of items and substances prohibited to be brought into and on the premises of educational institutions;
  • Standards for equipping pre-schools and secondary schools with video surveillance systems.

In addition, a new draft model regulation on the pass regime of educational organisations was developed in February this year.

"On a quarterly basis, the Ministry monitors compliance with safety requirements in educational organisations, the results of which are systematically reviewed at government level. The results of the monitoring show that there is a positive trend in ensuring safety systems in educational organisations," the head of the Ministry of Education said.

Thus, compared to 2020:

- The number of educational institutions equipped with video surveillance systems has increased by 2.5 times;

- The number of educational institutions connected to the CLC has increased 11-fold;

- The number of educational organisations with licensed security guards has increased sevenfold;

- The number of educational institutions with a panic button for notification has been increased 21-fold.

The results of monitoring as of March 1 this year showed that educational institutions in the country are 100% provided with video surveillance systems, of which more than 6 thousand educational organizations are connected to DSC. Nevertheless, the akimats are continuing work on bringing the video surveillance systems in line with the new requirements of the instructions. According to the requirements of the instructions, more than 1,900 thousand educational organizations in major cities have signed contracts with licensed security guards, and panic buttons have been installed in more than 2,400.

In February of this year, the issue of conducting a complete survey of educational organisations in terms of their safety was considered. As of today, 162 monitoring groups comprising staff from the Ministries of Education, Internal Affairs, Emergency Situations and Akimats are working in the regions. To date, more than 7,000 educational institutions have been assessed for safety.

The practice of signing Regional Education Development Roadmaps between the Ministry of Education and regional Akimats, where child safety is one of the priority areas, has been introduced.

To further improve the child safety system, plans are in place:

  • Strengthen the personal accountability of the first heads of educational organisations;
  • Continue to monitor the security systems of educational organisations with the involvement of internal affairs bodies;
  • amend the Instruction to include an order for access control;
  • Reformat the educational work with a focus on the development of safe behaviour skills among the participants in the educational process;
  • Include a new module on child safety in teacher training and retraining.

As for the digitalisation of the learning process in secondary education, the Head of State's election programme envisages the introduction of innovative ways of teaching disciplines and the digitalisation of essential learning materials. The aim is to bring the teaching process, content and assessment in line with global standards and to improve digital literacy.

The challenges ahead are to train teachers in innovative ways to use digital learning materials, introduce digital learning materials, digitise in-school and national external assessments and provide schools with technology and high-speed internet access.

In order to regulate this area, relevant rules, requirements and lists have been approved by ministerial orders.

"At present, digital educational platforms have been introduced, the National Educational Database is being maintained, digital textbooks and digital educational resources are being used, computer equipment has been purchased and transferred to schools, and work has been done to develop the internet," Gani Beisembayev said.

In order to digitally manage the learning process, educational platforms (Kundelik, Bilimal, EDUS, etc.) have been introduced in 7,000 schools across the country, containing basic services for maintaining electronic journals and diaries, grading, homework assignments, formation of plans and distance learning. There are also additional services such as mobile applications, analytical dashboards, table menus and online professional development courses.

At present, 79% of textbooks have been digitised, subjected to state evaluation and included in the list of textbooks. Eleven publishers have been involved in the development of digital textbooks. In order to introduce innovative ways of teaching disciplines, methodological guidelines have been developed for use by teachers and training is planned for this year. In 2024, 100% coverage of subjects with digital textbooks is planned.

In addition to digital textbooks, schools actively use digital educational resources as supplementary teaching material with multimedia content. More than 50,000 digital learning resources have been created. Since the beginning of this year, 6,700 schools have been connected to DERs. Every day, 3 million pupils and teachers are connected to DERs. DERs cover practically 100% of subjects at all levels of education with over 50,000 video lessons.

The Minister of Internal Affairs Marat Akhmetzhanov also reported on the security of educational institutions in Kazakhstan. Starting his speech, the Interior Minister noted that previously educational institutions of 200 people or more were considered vulnerable to terrorism. There were 6,500 such facilities nationwide. In 2021, the criteria changed to 100 students. As a result, the number of such educational facilities increased to 9,884.

The Instruction on anti-terrorist protection of facilities has been approved:

  • Institutions with up to 300 students should have video surveillance and public address systems;
  • Facilities of up to 700 students are also required to connect video cameras to the ESC and install panic buttons;
  • Educational organisations with more than 700 pupils and all schools in regional centres additionally need to have a contract with a licensed security guard and turnstiles.

"A comprehensive inspection of organisations is now being carried out together with the Ministry of Emergency Situations. 60% of all institutions are schools. That is why we started the inspections with them. Today most schools in major cities are equipped with panic buttons (93%), turnstiles (73%), and video surveillance (100%)," Akhmetzhanov informed.

At the same time, a detailed study showed that only 62% of the cameras were integrated with the DSP.

The Minister also said that since the beginning of this year, a number of education facilities have not concluded contracts with service providers for the maintenance of communication channels. Public procurement procedures have been dragged out and, as a result, the CLCs have not been granted access to their CCTV systems.

The head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs drew attention to the fact that legislation allows contracts for the provision of security guards, alarm systems and other security devices for 2 months from a single source to be concluded before the results of public procurement are summarised. However, this is not practiced on the ground.

With regard to the security of these facilities, schools with more than 700 pupils should engage licensed security structures with

- radio communication,

- service weapons,

- mobile rapid response teams.

They are now guarding 84% of these schools.

"Often educational establishments are guarded by non-professional specialists, or simply by 'janitors', so there is no hope of preventing them from sneaking hazardous substances and items," Akhmetzhanov said, adding that administrations of institutions have the right to specify in technical specifications the requirements for the way of guarding, the age limit of employees and the level of their special training. 

Checks show that in major cities the DSC is connected:

  • 51% of kindergartens
  • 65% of colleges
  • 35% of universities

Panic buttons have been installed:

  • 82% of kindergartens
  • 90% of colleges
  • 45% of universities

Security organisations provide security:

  • 51% of kindergartens,
  • 79% of colleges, 
  • 54% of higher education institutions.

In 2022, the police detected violations in 3,195 education facilities during inspections. Administrations have been issued with orders to eliminate them.

The Ministry of Education, in cooperation with local executive bodies, shall be instructed to:

1) complete the work to equip schools with safety systems and remedy deficiencies as soon as possible;

2) provide for crisis response training exercises;

3) improve the quality of training of psychologists in educational organisations.

"International practice shows that it is not uncommon for aggressors to be bullied by their peers. A methodology for the early identification of problem children and individual interventions with them needs to be developed. We believe that these measures will help establish a security architecture in educational institutions," the Minister of Internal Affairs said.

Askhat Orazbek, Deputy Minister of Digital Development, Innovation and the Aerospace Industry, further reported on how Kazakhstan is implementing the task of digitalisation of the educational process.

Thus, he said, of the country's 7098 public schools, 7078 schools are currently connected to the Internet using various technologies (FOCL, satellite, microwave, ADSL). Of these:

  • 664 schools have Internet speeds in line with ITU recommendations;
  • 6,414 schools need to bring their internet speed up to the level recommended by the ITU.

The International Telecommunication Union recommends that the internet speed should be 20 Mbps per school. The download speed should be at least 20Mb/s and the upload speed should be 5Mb/s. For schools with more than 400 pupils, a minimum of 1Mb/s per 20 pupils is recommended.

As the current situation shows, some schools have fibre optic lines, but do not have full access to the internet. This is because the local network in schools is not properly organised.

In this regard, model technical specifications for a public procurement contract between a telecommunications operator and a school have been developed on the basis of ITU recommendations. They stipulate the requirements for the speed of Internet in schools, the provision of a local and wireless network in schools at an adequate level, as well as coverage of the entire school territory.

Also at the session of the Government the Akim of North Kazakhstan region Aidarbek Saparov made a report. First of all, the head of the region spoke about the condition of children injured during the attack of a teenager on pupils of school No. 4 in Petropavlovsk.

"As of today, they have all been discharged from the hospital. Their condition is satisfactory. The medical-consultation commission recommended that they should be educated at home. The issue is under constant contro,l" Saparov briefly informed.

The region has 630 educational facilities, including 465 schools with 75,000 students and 76 kindergartens. According to the akim, the organisations are equipped with video surveillance systems.

In Petropavlovsk, 79 facilities are connected to the Police Department's Operational Control Centre and cameras are also installed in the district centres. Alarm buttons have been installed at 178 sites. Additional alarm buttons are also being installed.

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