Gulnaz Kordanova, a math teacher at Best in Class Education Center in the United States sharing her views about education around the world.
When did you start contributing to the society?
I’ve started thinking about social contribution while studying at university. I felt that I had a lack of knowledge, so I joined AIESEC organization where I pumped my knowledge and skills. After graduating from the university, I got a job at the school and the “Interkids Education Center”. Unfortunately, there was no time for AIESEC and other social projects. Soon I joined the international youth organization, Global Shapers Community. The purpose of this organization is the implementation of projects that are needed specifically for different societies. In Almaty the main areas: education, gender equality and the development of the city.
What’s one of the projects you are proud of?
Since I am a teacher and support the Goal #4 of Sustainable Development Goals of the UN providing education for all, I began to get involved in educational projects. For this year, we implemented two very important projects on Environmental Education for schoolchildren and Coding for Children from Orphanage houses (Code for All). With the support of the “Love to Code” programming school, we learned the language of visual programming, Scratch and showed the children on a real example that programming is not a difficult skill and that everyone can master it.
What do you think what’s the major problem youth from Kazakhstan face?
I notice that people understand that it is important to set global goals and to think about the social development of society. Although, at the same time I see that the larger population does not want to develop further. For example, let’s take young professionals, what are their goals? – Buy a house, a car, find a stable job and that’s all. In addition, if we take students from suburbs and settlements of Kazakhstan who have a lot of complexes and who only dream of graduating from the university and that’s all. They do not know how many opportunities are available, both in Kazakhstan and outside of it. And why is all this happening? – Because of weak education or education, which does not exist. I have high school graduates and they are not ready to go to universities, do not understand what they should get there and how. Young people are not aware of the opportunities that they have.
What’s the solution for this?
I think one of the solutions is to go out to the regions, to provide them with opportunities to develop at school on an equal footing with the city schools. For example, organizing such venues as American Corner or opening leadership organizations where they will develop even outside the school will help them to open new opportunities and boundaries after graduation and be ready to go to them. Also, recently, I learned about the program “TeachforAll“, which gives the opportunity to develop professionally to teachers. It is believed that for us there is no further development and the possibility of gaining experience in TOP universities and schools of the country in order to gain knowledge and exchange experience with other countries, but this program allows teachers to look at our domain from the other perspective. There is a chance to develop local and regional schools and at the same time for two years to pump their skills with the help of mentors who are attached to each young teacher. Although we have such programs, I do not see any development of teachers as professionals. I would be happy to open such programs in Kazakhstan and support future teachers in their development. And why all this? – This is for the quality of education to be the same, as in the villages and in the cities.
Also, I notice a kind of race between parents who give their children to every possible course for every day, and I often witness a slight breakdown of children in the classroom. Parents should hear the children and consider their opinion. Stop doing this and give the child freedom of choice.
Your advice to youth?
I will advise students and recent graduates to always think globally and never be afraid and be stubborn. It is not always possible to get into the organization, to get a dream job from the first time, but this is not an excuse to give up. I also had many failures, but if you know why you do all this and do not stop, then the new doors will be opened to you. When you are looking for opportunities, they always appear.