Qazaqstan Halqyna Fund bets on rural schools

The fund will support an educational project
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Each project or program by the Qazaqstan Halqyna Fund is implemented in conjunction with a specific partner. For example, under the project on the development of hub schools in rural areas the fund is partnering with the Foundation for Sustainable Development of Education (FSDE), which has been working on improving education in rural schools since 2019.

The hub school in rural areas project is one of 11 other ongoing projects and programs by the Qazaqstan Halqyna Fund. The total budget of the program is $8.9 million. Let’s take a look at how these funds are spent.

Each project or program by the Qazaqstan Halqyna Fund is implemented in conjunction with a specific partner. For example, under the project on the development of hub schools in rural areas the fund is partnering with the Foundation for Sustainable Development of Education (FSDE), which has been working on improving education in rural schools since 2019.

The project of hub schools in rural areas is one of 11 ongoing projects and programs by the Qazaqstan Halqyna Fund. The total budget of the program is $8.9 million. Let’s take a look at how these funds are spent.

Each project or program by the Qazaqstan Halqyna Fund is implemented in conjunction with a specific partner. For example, under the project on the development of hub schools in rural areas the fund is partnering with the Foundation for Sustainable Development of Education (FSDE).

However, there are some other participants of the project, including Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools (center for the art of teaching and center of educational programs), the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Kazakhstan, regional departments of education and Beeline Kazakhstan.

The main goal of the project is to make hub schools in rural areas more effective in providing education to their pupils. The foundation is going to achieve this goal by cooperating with leading schools from big cities and by reducing the infrastructural and technological gap between rural and urban schools. Also, the project is aimed at providing equal conditions for teachers wherever they work.

The very first educational project of the FSDE started in 2019 in the Katon-Karagai district of the East Kazakhstan region. The foundation had provided funds for five schools in the East-Kazakhstan and Akmola regions. Feedback the foundation received shows that these efforts were quite successful. Now, the FSDE wants to expand this program to other regions of the country. That is why the foundation applied for the Qazaqstan Halqyna Fund. The fund’s expert committee reviewed the application, examined FSDE experience and approved the project. The Qazaqstan Halqyna Fund has allocated about $8.9 million for the development of 17 rural schools. It is planned that these funds will be spent on improving the facilities and resources in those schools all over the country except the cities of Nur-Sultan, Almaty and Shymkent.

“We reviewed different options and found out that if we want to make this project sustainable we have to put together three factors – the society, the authority and business. Thus, Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools are going to invest in the project with their resources, methodology, knowledge and experience. Our sponsor is going to provide the project with new equipment and all material stuff, while the authorities represent public schools which must be open for every child, as we believe,” said Daniyar Toktarbayev, head of the FSDE.

How does the project work?

The Hub School in Rural Areas development project is going to be implemented in several stages. At the very first stage, the project measures all 17 rural schools participating in the project by a range of parameters from the condition of buildings, classes, and other facilities to the quality of teaching and student grades.

The funds provided by the Qazaqstan Halkyna Fund are going to improve facilities and resources in those rural schools. The project is going to allocate about $525,000 for each school with these funds paid directly to suppliers, not schools. It is expected that once the project is implemented, each school will be equipped with new classes, including classes for preschool education, robotic engineering, multimedia classes, STEAM labs and modern classes for chemistry and physics.

The FSDE wants the improvement of facilities and resources in rural schools to be completed by this December.

It is worth noting that the Qazaqstan Halqyna Fund isn’t going to spend a penny for any sort of renovation or upgrading of administrative parts of these schools. The FSDE will do that by itself if needed. The education foundation also pays for business trips and rental fees for regional offices; it covers transportation and operational costs of its employees and representatives of Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools, which are direct participants in the project’s next stage.

The second stage of the project is a three-year long training for teachers by specialists from NIS. The project owners hope that once these teachers improve their skills, they will be able to share the knowledge they received with other teachers from rural schools. This would help the project to cover much more than 17 schools after all.

“During the following three-year period we are going to guide these schools. We need this time because all of these sites are located in remote areas. Also, we can’t take teachers away from doing their work. They will visit our training after work. We are going to discuss these issues with them and the school,” said the head of the FSDE.

What kind of result is expected?

The three-year period is a period when a project might yield steady results, FSDE says. “We have reached very good results in our first five pilot schools. I mean, when you start a project just take your time and make no long pause in this work. The results will come, there is no doubt. That is the reason we have set a three-year deadline for this project,” explained Toktarbayev.

He also noted that the FSDE usually assesses a project at the beginning and at the end of it to get better knowledge about the efficacy of a project. The foundation measures parameters such as the professional level of teachers, student grades, quality of education and national testing results. In order to get this data, the FSDE measures the 4th and 8th grades of a school and surveys students, parents and teachers.

“When we visit schools where we had implemented our projects, we see incredible results. Those schools, which rarely or even never participated in national contests, are now very active and take part even in the international Olympiads,” said the head of the educational foundation.

Beeline Kazakhstan also promises to keep an eye on the project and monitor its efficacy in terms of student marks and the professional growth of teachers.

“Together with our partners we are getting familiar with every school as we want to know what specific needs every school possesses,” said Beeline. Under the project, this mobile operator is going to provide funds for eight schools. According to the company, it has chosen the project on the development of hub schools in rural areas because it believes in the huge potential of equal opportunities.

“This joint project is exactly about this. Good results shown by pupils are the strong side of NIS and rural schools must seek the same goals. It’s vital that children in rural areas have access to high-quality education as it is going to help them in competing with their peers from big cities while appealing for grants in universities or colleges,” said Beeline Kazakhstan.

The Qazaqstan Halqyna Fund is expected to approve its new concept and a Prospect of Charity Programs. This is expected to happen at the National Charity Conference scheduled for September 2022. Currently, the fund is discussing with civil society, NGOs and local authorities what kind of programs it should support. To get the most relevant ideas, the Qazaqstan Halqyna Fund has launched an online survey for non-governmental organizations.

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