While many countries are still pondering what to do with students come the new school year in September 2020, Kazakhstan – currently under a state imposed quarantine for a second time – has announced its back-to-school plan.
The academic year will start in distance learning format for almost all students. Exceptions will be made for the 4% of students who live in remote rural areas and go to small schools with composite (multi-age) classes.
It may also be possible to have some of the younger primary age children back in school if strict sanitary measures can be maintained. These include limits on movement within the school building, better ventilation and cleaning, limited class sizes, and attending school in shifts.
The government recognizes that the learning needs of these children may make it harder and/or less accessible to attempt remote learning – not only does online learning assume a level of technological capacity that these kids may not yet have mastered, but as any parent who’s been through the last months will tell you, it requires much greater input from an adult to help with the learning process.
However, even if younger children do get back to school, it will not be full-time; some subjects will be offered by distance.
This also informs the medium-term strategy, which is for a hybrid of face-to-face and distance learning as the health situation improves.
For primary aged vulnerable students with additional learning needs or from low-income families, measures will be taken to ensure inclusive and accessible learning. These measures are not specified.
Over the summer, the Ministry of Education has been taking on board feedback from teachers and students to improve the national online learning management system (LMS) and preparing materials for teachers to use in the next academic year. For example, online courses have been prepared to support teachers in IT, cyber pedagogy and teaching methods.
Colleges and universities will also start the new academic year in distance format. At colleges, there will be limited face-to-face provision for students on industry-related courses, those who need to do internships, and students in smaller remote colleges. At universities, there may be some face-to-face provision for lab work and courses requiring internships.
Around 4,000 Indian international students are still stuck in Kyrgyzstan after COVID-19 measures have led to closed borders and calls to return home. This represents almost half of the total number of Indian students in the country – India is the top sending country of international students to Kyrgyzstan (see my 2019 post on this).
Where some governments have provided financial support and chartered flights to help their citizens get home, this has by no means been universal. Individual circumstances and the place where you are stranded may further complicate the options for getting home in the midst of a global pandemic.
Step in Indian film actor/producer and former engineer Sonu Sood, who since COVID-19 began to spread its tentacles has been stepping up and helping out where governments and other organizations have not. From giving out 25,000 face shields to police to distributing food, Sood has become a very modern-day kind of superhero.
He has since turned his attention to helping migrants, arranging buses to get people home to other parts of India. It looks like Sood’s next campaign may be international, trying to bring home Indian students from Kyrgyzstan. In a tweet on July 13, Sood said it was his “next mission” to get them home.
As the COVID-19 situation in Kyrgyzstan intensifies, and with the university summer break now in full swing, let’s hope Sood can do what others have not been able to and help his compatriots return home and stay safe.
Somewhat beyond the Central Asian scope I normally cover, but a topic that is highly relevant around the former Soviet space is academic freedom.
I recently listened to a very interesting podcast on the topic of academic freedom in Russia. The episode focussed on a series of recent events and interventions at the elite Higher School of Economics in Moscow.
The debate centres around a TEN HOUR long Academic Council meeting – not the fact that these poor souls were trapped in the same space for such a long time, but the discussions that arose around proposed changes to internal rules that could impact on the ability of students, faculty and staff to discuss ‘political’ issues. (Political in quote marks as it’s one of the points of contention that politics is not properly defined anywhere).
The podcast is one of the first in the Naked Pravda series by the excellent Meduza news agency, which reports on Russia but safely from the confines of outside the country. It is one of the best sources of news (in Russian and in English) about Russia so as a side note, if you are a Russian reader but don’t currently get Meduza’s daily email, sign up now. It’s always on topic, very smart and funny, and will keep you up to speed on politicking po-russki.
Back to the podcast, which is in English: download it here from the podcast’s website. The link also has a good written summary of what’s discussed in the podcast in case you prefer to read than listen.
I recommend the podcast, although I note with disappointment that there were no female guests on this episode. There are more than enough qualified women out there, and it’s not difficult to find them. Naked Pravda can and should do better on that front.
I’m really happy to share an article published in University World News by my colleague Svetlana Shakirova. Dr Shakirova is an expert on gender issues (and many other things), is Director of the Department for Research and Innovation at the Kazakh National Women’s Teacher Training University, and is also co-founder and director of the Almaty-based NGOs ‘Feminist League’ and ‘Center for Gender Studies’.
Her article discusses why gender remains an issue in Kazakhstan’s universities, even though women are well represented in numeric terms and gender issues have been taught and researched for over two decades.
Find out more at https://www.universityworldnews.com/post.php?story=20190315083034424.
Call for proposals: Beyond Competition? The Future Geopolitics of Knowledge (Panel to be held at ECPR 2019)
Below is a call for paper proposals to join a panel I am co-organizing that has been selected for inclusion at the 2019 General Conference of the European Consortium of Political Researchers. Please share this call with your contacts and consider sending us your abstract by January 10th! A pdf version of the proposal is available to download: CfP Geopolitics of Knowledge – ECPR 2019_forcirculation.
Call for proposals to a panel:
Beyond Competition? The Future Geopolitics of Knowledge
(Part of the ECPR Section Knowledge Politics and Policies)
The geopolitics of knowledge is commonly seen through the lens of global competition (e.g. Marginson, 2010; Rust & Kim, 2012; Hazelkorn, 2017). In this frame, higher education institutions and national/global governance actors compete for prestige both within and between nations, aiming to climb up the global rankings, recruit the best students and scholars and publish in top journals. The rules of the competition have to date been set by the institutions and actors in the North American-European axis and have created ‘universalized, delocalized and depoliticized’ (Shahjahan and Morgan, 2016, 93) spaces into which assimilation may be sought.
Nevertheless, recent global, regional and national developments are challenging the established rules of the game, doing so both by adapting global trends to different locations – emphasizing new places – and by seeking to create new knowledge or employ alternative knowledge traditions – suggesting new power relations.
This panel provides a platform for new thinking and discussion around the shifting dimensions of place and power in the future geopolitics of knowledge. We welcome papers that examine the role of emerging ‘centres’, regions and places of knowledge production, investigate the possibilities for regional associations and organizations to reshape the world academic order, analyse the impact of contemporary political transformations on international knowledge relations, and explore the scope for new or non-conventional theories and methods on researching the geopolitics of knowledge that take us beyond the usual competition lens.
Hazelkorn, E. (Ed.). (2017). Global rankings and the geopolitics of higher education: understanding the influence and impact of rankings on higher education, policy and society. London; New York, NY: Routledge
Marginson, S. (2010). Global Comparisons and the University Knowledge Economy. In L. M. Portnoi, V. D. Rust, & S. S. Bagley (Eds.), Higher education, policy, and the global competition phenomenon (pp. 29–41). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Rust, V. D., & Kim, S. (2012). The global competition in higher education. World Studies in education, 13(1), 5-20.
Shahjahan, R. A., & Morgan, C. (2016). Global competition, coloniality, and the geopolitics of knowledge in higher education. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 37(1), 92–109.
Panel Chair and Discussants
Chair: Dr Miguel Antonio Lim, University of Manchester, UK
How to apply
We will preliminarily select four papers for inclusion in this panel.
Email a Word document to the two panel Discussants – email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org – by midnight Eastern Standard Time on Thursday January 10, 2019 with the following information:
Title of your paper:
Abstract (maximum 500 words):
Keywords (3-8) indicating the subject, theme and scope of the paper:
Presenter’s email address:
If you have a co-author(s), please also include their name(s), email address(es) and institution(s).
Late or incomplete applications will not be accepted.
Section abstract for the Special Interest Group Knowledge Politics and Policies
Knowledge, understood to be the foundation on which societies coalesce and economies thrive, has become central to contemporary politics and policymaking across governance levels. This section is interested in theoretical, empirical, and comparative contributions that investigate the role of politics and policy in the multi-level, multi-issue, and multi-actor governance of knowledge. In focusing on role, we refer to effects that ideas (including political ideologies), actors (both individual and organisational, including political parties and transnational entities), policy instruments, and institutions have on the governance, creation, dissemination, and transfer of knowledge. Panels will be oriented around these roles, key empirical questions, theories or methodologies. The Section continues the work on knowledge policy domains from the past 7 ECPR conferences (previously under the titles ‘Politics of Higher Education, Research and Innovation’ and ‘Europe of Knowledge’). It continues to welcome scholars, globally and interdisciplinarily, from all theoretical and methodological approaches.
Хотите знать по больше о моем исследовании на русском языке? Читайте дальше! Вышел на свет русский перевод статьи о нашем с руководителем проекте о глобалной конкуренции за международных студентов. Ну вот, статья на русском.
This blog post is letting Russian language readers know about a new Russian translation of an article my supervisor wrote about our project on the global competition for international students. Don’t read Russian? No problem: here’s the article in English!
И для тех, которые умеют читать на обеих languages, let me know ваши мнения about both versions!
The original article that this more recent version draws from is published as The great brain race: Public policy and international student recruitment in Australia, Canada, England and the USA. (In English only unless someone would like to volunteer to translate it…)
I realized I didn’t blog about a recently published article I co-authored with Prof Creso Sá, my supervisor at the University of Toronto. How remiss of me! (?!)
So, let me tell you about our article, The politics of the great brain race: Public policy and international student recruitment in Australia, Canada, England and the USA, which was published in leading journal Higher Education in February 2018.
For regular readers of the blog, the first thing you may notice is that this is not about Central Asia or indeed anywhere in the former Soviet space. Keep breathing!
The rationale for looking in depth at Australia, England, Canada and the US, four majority Anglophone jurisdictions, was based on their historic ability to attract significant numbers of international students – just under 40% of the world’s total in 2015. The fact that all have similar linguistic and cultural characteristics in their higher education systems was a deliberate choice to compare similar cases (take a look at this article by Chris Pickvance for more on types of comparative analysis).
We wanted to find out how governments in these four jurisdictions have used public policy to deal with (I wouldn’t go as far as to say ‘manage’) international students in the period 2000-2016. To do this, we looked at legislation that had been passed, new programmes, and other policy changes. Overall, I read somewhere around 200 articles, books, reports and other publications to learn more about student mobility in the four case study jurisdictions.
A nice addition to this was a comprehensive table I compiled that gives you a side-by-side comparison across the four jurisdictions in the policy areas of immigration, labour market, family and health, finance, education and quality assurance, and promotion/marketing. So if you want to know, for example, which is the only jurisdiction that has legislation protecting the (financial) rights of international students, check it out!
Creso has written up a very nice summary of our findings in the most recent issue of International Higher Education. This is open access and the article, with the excellent title, Forget the Competition Trope, can be downloaded here.
The title of his piece makes the key idea pretty clear. As he notes in the article (page 11):
we argue that none of these major countries have dealt coherently with international student attraction and retention. Furthermore, the long-term outlook required to cope with the assumed global competition for students is glaringly absent.
International student growth has been fairly consistent over the 16 years we studied (despite the odd dip e.g. after violence against a small number of students from South Asia studying in Australia).
That was a real surprise to us.
Not only is policy towards international students fragmented across a range of goverment ministries and agencies, but there were no clear patterns of governments facilitating international student mobility. This is not the kind of behaviour you would expect to see of a truly competitive jurisidiction engaging in the so-called ‘great brain race’.
This led us to the conclusion that international student enrolments are likely to continue to grow and that this happens despite not because of political and policy changes.
This article was the result of a nine month long project funded by the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities under their OHCRIF scheme. Miigwetch / Thanks / Merci!
Sá, Creso M. 2018. “Forget the Competition Trope.” International Higher Education 0 (95): 11–12.
After a break from blogging to attend the recent and quite fantastic World Cup in Russia, I’m back with the good news that I have a new publication out.
This is a book chapter co-written with my supervisor Professor Creso Sá and is titled Scientific nationalism in a globalizing world.
It’s part of a hefty new Handbook on the Politics of Higher Education, which also features chapters by luminaries in the field such as Susan Robertson, Rosemary Deem, Roger King and many, many others. The aim of the Handbook is straightforward: to address the growing politicization of higher education and offer a variety of perspectives on the politics of higher education that will improve our understanding and analysis.
Our chapter, part of a section on political economy and global governance, dives deeper into the politics of academic science. We take two notions – scientific nationalism and scientific globalism – that have different ways of conceptualising the purpose of science as well as how and why it is supported (and by whom) – but which both in different ways help to explain patterns seen in science policies around the world.
On the one hand, scientific nationalism offers a viewpoint of science as being of critical importance to nation states – even as they are increasingly intertwined in global affairs, the idea is that support for academic science will enhance national competitiveness or innovation.
On the other hand, the idea of scientific globalism is one that derives from universalist ideas of the pursuit of science being borderless and not something that can or should be privatized or commercialized. Cross-national academic communities of scientists working together on ‘grand challenges’ would be an excellent example of scientific globalism.
We studied national science policies in twenty countries across all continents and with a very wide range of economic and political contexts. Despite this diversity, we found the depth of commonalities across the policies remarkable. For instance, almost all of the policies expressed a desire to become (or remain) globally competitive, with great importance placed on science as a tool to achieve that goal. From Saudi Arabia to South Africa and from Canada to China, this positioning was embraced around the world.
In addition to similarities across the policies, we also identified a number of tensions that arise from the dual existence of both logics of scientific nationalism and scientific globalism. Whilst scientific nationalism is well anchored in a global institutional order, there was clear friction with ideas stemming from more globalist thinking. This is encapsulated well in how the policies talk about the mobility of scientists and researchers. Nations want their scientists to cooperate globally and to be able to travel around the world, but many countries also expressed a desire for said scientists to ultimately return to their home country to utilize the skills and experience gained abroad.
Written at the end of 2016 and start of 2017, we end the chapter by considering some areas for future research in this topic. For example, how will science policy making be affected by the emerging politics of neo-nationalism or nativism (e.g. Brexit in the UK, Trump in the US to name just two mid-2010s events)? And – worryingly – could scientific globalism be under threat from the rise of xenophobic right-wing populism?
The Handbook has had some very nice reviews already, being described by Simon Marginson as ‘much the best available collection of its kind’ (praise indeed!).
The attached flyer – Handbook on the Politics of Higher Education – gives more details about the book and how to buy it with a 20% discount. You can also access details on the publisher’s website at https://www.e-elgar.com/shop/handbook-on-the-politics-of-higher-education. If you’re based at a university/HEI, do please encourage your library to get a copy either of the heavyweight hardback or the e-book.
I’ve had a small gallery of my pictures of Central Asia’s universities up on this site for a while, and have been meaning to update it after taking lots more photos this summer.
So here we are, for your viewing pleasure (well, mainly for mine), here is a new and updated gallery showcasing just a few of the many and varied universities and colleges in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan:
Дорогие читатели моего блога!
Мне нужна ваша помощь найти участников для интервью. Читаете дальше…
Летом 2017 г. я буду проводить исследование для своей кандидатской диссертации. Название моей диссертации: Как реагирует высшее образование на крупные институциональные изменения? Падение Советского Союза и университеты в Казахстане, Кыргызстане и Таджикистане.
Я ищу нынешних и бывших преподавателей для интервью (на русском или на английском языках).
Дата: Июль или август 2017г
Место: Алматы, Астана, Бишкек, Душанбе или Хорог
Для интервью есть две группы:
- У вас была преподавательская работа в одном или нескольких университетах, который(е) был(и) основан(ы) во время Советского Союза, включая период 1988-1994 гг; и
- Университет(ы), в котором(ых) вы работали, находится в Казахстане, Кыргызстане или Таджикистане.
- Вы работали в новом университете, который был основан в период с 1991 по 1996 гг; и
- Вы начали работать там в первые два года с момента открытия университета; и
- Вы работали там не менее пяти лет; и
- Этот университет находится в Казахстане, Кыргызстане или Таджикистане.
ЗНАЕТЕ ЛИ ВЫ ПРЕПОДАВАТЕЛЯ, КОТОРЫЙ ПОДХОДИТ КРИТЕРИИ ГРУППЫ 1 ИЛИ 2?
Если да, пожалуйста, отпраляйте им ссылку на страницу, где можно найти подробную информацию об исследовании – www.emmasabzalieva.com/thesis.
Вы сможете им дать мой эл. адрес (email@example.com) чтобы они связывались со мной.
Также я хочу попросить вас поделиться этой информации на социальных сетях.