22 SES 13 C, Understanding Challenges of Student Transition from School to Tertiary Education in Post-Soviet States: cases of Russia, Kyrgyz Republic and Kazakhstan
The paper is a part of a larger study looking at the social aspects of transition from school to higher education in Kazakhstan. Understanding the factors influencing students’ retention and dropout remains high on the governmental agenda across many parts of Europe. The link between rural/urban inequalities and difficulties in transiting to HE are highlighted in national and international reports including the ‘Reviews for National Policies in Education: Higher Education in Kazakhstan’ (OECD & World Bank 2007), ‘Analysis of Common National Testing Results’ (MES 2012a) and the ‘Road Map diagnostic report on the strategic directions for education reforms in Kazakhstan for 2015-2020’ (Ayubayeva et. al. 2013). Statistical data available shows a correlation between the number of students (out of the total number of 18-24 year olds) and oblast (regional) per capita income. The numbers vary from as high as 60% of 18-24 year olds in Almaty city to 25-30% of the same age cohort in other oblasts with significantly lower per capita regional product, hitting the lowest of 5% of enrolment ratio in Almaty oblast (2013 p. 127). According to the ‘National Report on the Status and Development of Education’, dropout rates across the country, while decreasing steadily in 2007-2010, rose by 1% to 11.9% in 2010-2011, with 13.6% of students withdrawing from privately-funded and 10.2 % withdrawing from state-funded higher educational institutions (MES 2012b, p. 68). This study is set against the above described national dynamics, regional differences and rural/urban structural inequalities. It uses Bourdieu’s theoretical framework detailed in Yorke and Thomas (2003), and the Special issues of the Cambridge Journal of Education (2015) to provide a sociological explanation of the official drop out rates in Kazakhstani higher education. It bridges the literature on ‘institutional habitus’ (Bourdieu & Passeron, 1977; Reay, 1998; Reay, David, & Ball, 2001), psychosocial aspects of class identity and development of learner identity (Briggs, Clark, & Hall 2012) The mixed-method study explores how students from different socio-economic backgrounds adjust to the course of study in higher education. By synthesising the findings from four regional case studies in Kazakhstan, the study seeks to assist governmental strategies in Kazakhstan and internationally aimed at reverting dropout rates and easing rural/urban inequalities.
Ayubayeva, N., Bridges, D., Gasskov, V., Canning, M., McLaughlin, C. (2013). Road Map Diagnostic Report on the Strategic Directions for Education Reforms in Kazakhstan for 2015-2020. Astana. Bourdieu, P. & Passeron, J. C. (1977) Reproduction in Education, Society and Culture. Beverly Hills: Sage. Briggs, A., Clark, J.., & Hall, I. (2012). Building bridges: Understanding student transition to university, Quality in Higher Education, 18 (1), 3-21. Driver, D., Jette, K., & Lira, L. (2008). Student Learning Identities: Developing a Learning Taxonomy for the Political Science Classroom, Journal of Political Science Education, 4:1, 61-85 Ministry of Education and Science of Kazakhstan (MES) (2012a). Analysis of the Common National Testing Results (UNT-2012), Astana. Ministry of Education and Science of Kazakhstan (MES) (2012b). National Report on the Status and Development of Education. Astana. OCED & World Bank (2007). Reviews for National Policies in Education: Higher Education in Kazakhstan http://www.oecd.org/edu/skills-beyond-school/reviewsofnationalpoliciesforeducationhighereducationinkazakhstan.htm Reay, D. (1998) Rethinking social class: Qualitative perspectives on gender and social class Sociology 32 (2), 259-275. Yorke, M., & Thomas, L. (2003). Improving the retention of students from lower socio-economic groups. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 25 (1), 63-74.
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