Schools in Kazakhstan to conduct first term online

Schools in Kazakhstan to conduct first term online
According to Kazakh Minister of Education and Science Askhat Aimagambetov, the first term of the new school year will be conducted online. He said that health of children and teachers are the priority.
“There is a difficult sanitary and epidemiological situation at the moment. Accroding to Kazakh Health Ministry, approximately 70 percent of children get infected with seasonal viral respiratory infections every fall. We made a decision to conduct the first term online starting September 1, given that children, their parents and our fellow teachers are at risk of catching the disease,” he informed.
The minister said that students in remote ungraded rural schools will study in normal mode. Duty groups will be organized for elementary school students, so parents of the first graders can decide whether they want their children to attend a school.
All lessons will be conducted in one class; recess will take place at different times; the temperature will be measured at the entrance; the airing, disinfection and wet cleaning will be held more often.
“To organize social distance, classes will be divided into small groups with no more than 10 to 15 children, which will work in shifts and alternate study days. Some subjects will be conducted online,” said Askhat Aimagambetov.
Over the summer, the Education Ministry has worked on the modernization of internet platforms, content support and preparation of TV lessons. The minister noted that teachers, starting July 20, after their vacations, will have a lot of work. Online courses with five modules were developed to retrain teachers. They are aimed at developing Information Technology (IT) competence, studying cyber pedagogy and teaching methodology. The work is underway with the relevant ministry to prepare the broadcast of lessons on television.
Aimagambetov also dwelled on the fact that there is a shortage of computers. According to Kazakh Ministry of Education and Science, to date there are 405,000 computers in schools and many of them are outdated. In total, there are 21 students per one computer. The goal has been set to ensure the ratio of one to five within the next two years. 
"Local authorities must provide schools, teachers and students with computers. I think that this work will already be carried out in the near future. 36,000 computers have already been purchased and an additional purchase is planned. This work will be continued in the new school year. The loan received from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development was included in the budget for the next year. Together with the relevant ministry, we are now working with the World Bank to transfer this money to the budget for the current year so that we can additionally purchase the computers," Aimagambetov said.
In addition, university students will also start the new academic year in a distance learning format. Visiting universities and vocational education institutions will be allowed only in exceptional cases.
"The traditional learning format will be considered individually during the organization of industrial training and professional practice for the first-year and final-year students, as well as in remote vocational education institutions with a small contingent of students, with reinforced sanitary regime," Aimagambetov said.
He concluded that when the epidemiological situation in the country improves, the return of schoolchildren and students to the offline learning will be considered.