Tuesday, 30 June 2020, 11:08:52
At the government conference call chaired by Prime Minister Askar Mamin, the issue of human capital development for the digital economy was considered. Minister of Education and Science Askhat Aimagambetov reported on the ongoing work in education.
As Aimagambetov noted, in the modern world human capital has become the main factor in the competition of any state. The report of the World Economic Forum noted that in the future 9 out of 10 jobs require quantitative skills. And by 2030, it is necessary to retrain at least 1 billion people around the world.
In turn, according to McKinsey forecasts, by 2030 the need for digital skills will increase by at least 55%. The OECD report suggests that more than 32% of jobs will be radically transformed as a result of digitalization. This is not only about computer literacy, but also about advanced digital competencies.
According to the minister, for several years Kazakhstan participated in international studies in the field of education, where it was revealed that the high level of “gadgetization” in the country will not have a significant impact on the high level of digital skills.
According to ICILS, more than 54% of students aged 14 are low in digital literacy. According to the PIAAC study, only 5 citizens between the ages of 6 and 34 have a good level of digital skills.
However, as Aimagambetov noted, the human capital necessary for the digital economy does not require only this digital competence.
“In addition to digital competency for human capital, it is necessary to develop soft skills, which are functional literacy, critical thinking, creativity, the ability to read and analyze. We started the main steps in this direction,” said the minister of education and science.
Since 2016, new educational programs have been introduced in schools that provide for the development of functional literacy. In the next academic year, schools are transitioning to new programs.
The next step is the introduction of digital competencies at all levels of education.
The ministry is faced with such tasks as training IT industry specialists in accordance with international standards, training and retraining specialists in other industries with a digital component and providing basic digital literacy to all citizens.
“In this regard, in accordance with the instructions of the Head of State, we propose to implement the large-scale project ‘Digital Education.’ The project includes three main areas: basic digital competencies, the training of specialized IT personnel and employees of other industries in combination with IT competency. As a result of this project, new specialists with deep IT knowledge will be trained,” Aimagambetov said.
Within the framework of this project, more than 400 thousand personnel with digital competence will be released annually. Thus, by 2030, educational institutions of all levels will train more than 3 million specialists of the new formation.
According to the minister, in secondary education until 2013, the subject of information technology began from the 7th grade and consisted of outdated content, then was lowered to the 5th grade. In these programs, most often using a computer, mastering office applications required the simplest skills and updates. Therefore, now since 2021, the subject of digital literacy has been introduced from grade 1. Children learn the algorithm, information hygiene and security, starting from grade 3 — the Scratch coding language, the basics of STEM, 3D printing, and robotics.
In addition, IOS, Android, as well as the programming languages Python and C++ are being studied. For this, 25 new special IT lyceums were opened in the regional centers of the country, 447 STEM laboratories and about 2 thousand robotics rooms were organized.
At the same time, more than 560 children's technology parks and robotics classrooms are open in the palaces of schoolchildren.
“In extracurricular circles, children learn to program robots, read 3D-printing. Nevertheless, I believe that they are still not enough. Educators will also take IT literacy courses. In particular, it is important that IT teachers receive training in robotics and programming,” the minister said.
In addition, in colleges, the volume of state orders for IT specialties is increasing. As part of a new project, an IT competence center will be opened in each area. The centers organize methodological, analytical, training work for the implementation of international WorldSkills standards.
“This year, starting from the new school year, 31 new programs will be implemented on the basis of leading colleges that train specialists for the digital industry,” the head of the department informed.
In addition, more than 51 thousand students study in the system of higher education in the specialty IT. The volume of state orders is increasing annually. Based on 326 professional standards, 95% of the IT program was updated.
“Now, starting in September 2020, several changes will be introduced. Due to the reduction in requirements, it became possible to attract specialists in production, at the same time, requirements for a scientific degree were relaxed and now qualified IT industry specialists will study at universities and be attracted to a wide range,” Aimagambetov said.
As the minister emphasized, major changes have been made to educational programs. Since 2019, universities have been granted academic freedom. Now, within the framework of this project, 91 innovative programs will be introduced from the new academic year.
For example, new programs such as:
- Big Data Analysis
- Robotic systems
- Artificial Intelligence (VR / AR).
For specialists in interdisciplinary programs: Digital Forensics, Additive Technologies in Medicine, BIM Technologies in Design, Precision Farming.
“Based on international experience, massive open online courses are being conducted. They are perfect for getting affordable and fast new skills. Open University of Kazakhstan — an online platform for teaching free online courses — has been created. To date, 63 higher education institutions will be added to this platform. In the field of science, 49 research projects on these IT technologies are also being implemented. To carry out these works, infrastructure is needed. For example, a PISA study shows that having computers connected to the Internet increases student outcomes by 20 points,” said the minister of education and science.