Polylingual Policy In Kazakhstan As Reflection Of Education Globalization


This article examines the problems of multilingual education, while emphasizing the importance and significance of the development of multilingualism for the multinational Kazakhstani society, especially for the young rising generation, since it is the youth that is the future of our independent state. The introduction of multilingual education is a defining strategic direction of the education system in Kazakhstan on the way to increasing the competitiveness of human capital to achieve sustainable economic growth and well-being of society and the country. Multilingualism in the educational environment is one of the main aspects of the work of all educational institutions in the country. The multilingual education program provides for the creation of a new model of education, contributing to the formation of a competitive generation in the context of internationalization, who owns the language culture. Trilingualism gives students the key to world markets, science and new technologies, creates conditions for the formation of a new worldview and familiarization with the cultures of different peoples. The program of introducing multilingualism is considered on the example of the higher educational institution of the Kazakh-American free university.

Keywords: multilingualism, language policy, training, multiculturalism, education, trilingualism


Today, in our colloquial speech, the words "globalization", "multilingualism" are becoming more and more relevant and interrelated concepts. Indeed, these concepts reflect the political course, outlook on the future, the position of the entire country.

Globalization is a bridge leading to world scientific and technological achievements, a direct path to world science and production. This phenomenon affects all spheres of life of the world's population, and especially the world of linguistics. Of course, multilingualism is an advanced phenomenon leading to the progress of the general culture of a person. We know from history that prominent figures in science and culture are fluent in both their native language and foreign languages.

The current processes of globalization are increasing the popularity of many branches of science and society, including the study of languages. It affects the comparison of different languages, as well as issues of interethnic relations, communication, intercultural communication, linguistic competence of the world community.

Languages go through their own life cycle. One of the reasons for the loss of languages is the policy of the government, which considers monotony to be the basis of integrated nation and state. Many researchers believe that languages are a tool of government. In addition, everyday life may remain the same in a multicultural world only if the state is completely isolated from the other world or resists discrimination. The 21st century is characterized by numerous geopolitical changes.

The term "language policy" is widely used to refer to an important part of government policy in the field of language regulation. The first condition for the successful release of a language policy is the dissemination of elementary knowledge of the language among the broad masses and a good theoretical training of the leadership group implementing this policy. A.D. Schweitzer and L.B. Nikolsky, as a language policy, they cite the relationship of measures used by the state, party, class, social group to change existing linguistic norms and introduce new ones or use the functional separation of languages, language systems (Schweitzer, Nikolsky, 1978).

According to A.S. Gerd, language policy includes:

1) principles of spelling, construction of the alphabet, elimination of illiteracy;

2) choice and approval of the state language;

3) determination of other languages’ belonging to the state language;

4) development, standardization and adaptation of national terminology;

5) problems of naming and renaming (cities, streets, squares) (Gerd, 2005).

According to scientists, language policy should take into account several conflicting trends:

1) intention to master the most common languages;

2) the most sustainable preservation of the state language;

3) development and support within the framework of cultural freedoms of other languages, including the languages of small-numbered peoples (Levashov, 2006).

V.T. Klokov notes that “language policy is recognized as an external linguistic factor capable of influencing all aspects of language development: the social functions of the language in the language situation in the region, its functional systems (styles, jargons, dialects, etc.) and, finally, its internal structural phonetic, morpho-syntactic, lexico-semantic levels, as well as writing and graphics" (Klokov, 2000).

Language competence, along with information and communication competence, is recognized as one of the key ones in the global educational space. The relevance of multilingual education is determined by global trends aimed at political, economic and cultural integration. Multilingual education is a purposeful phenomenon as one of the ways to penetrate into world civilization with the help of language, study the cultural, historical and social experience of various countries and peoples, and master the sphere of special knowledge. In the world educational practice, multilingual education is not an innovation, in particular, in the USA and many European countries they have already achieved success in this direction.

Having studied a number of resources, one can be convinced that the policy of a multilingual state also has its own history. 17% of America, 32% of Asian countries, 47% of African countries, 48% of European countries, 71% of Australia and Oceania adhere to a multilingual policy. While in a number of countries two identical languages have obtained the status of a state language, in some countries more than one language is used as the state language. So, in Singapore there are 4 languages: Malay, Chinese, Tamil and English, in South Africa 12 languages possess the status of the state. Behind this phenomenon are ethnolinguistic characteristics of the population, socio-economic reasons, as well as the influence of the languages of the great powers on the former colonies.

Currently, the question of the state language in Kazakhstan has a political and linguistic connotation, because Kazakhstan is a multinational country.

We believe that one should not ignore multilingualism, but accept it as a gate to the world. In today's era of globalization, multilingualism and its inclusion in public policy is a necessity of the time.

Today's phenomena of globalization and active integration have penetrated not only into the socio-economic, political and cultural spheres of people’s lives, but also into the education system.

Multilingual education has become one of the priority areas in the field of education in the country.

Multilingual education is a requirement of the time, since the goal of multilingual education is to form a multicultural personality who speaks Kazakh, Russian and English at the academic level, therefore, it is necessary to pay special attention to improving the language competence of teachers. At the same time, the lack of scientific and methodological literature and textbooks, problems arising in the organization of the educational process, methods of teaching special disciplines in a foreign language, impede the provision of a multilingual person with a quality education.

Problem Statement

In the Message of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan N.A. Nazarbayev to the people of Kazakhstan emphasizes the relevance of multilingual education, since "one of the important values and advantage of our country is multinationalism and multilingualism" (Nazarbayev, 2018). The multilingual education program provides for the creation of a new model of education, contributing to the formation of a generation that is aware of language culture and competitive in the context of globalization. Knowledge of the Kazakh, English and Russian languages of young people will give the key to world markets, science and new technology, create conditions for the formation of an ideological attitude towards constructive cooperation based on familiarization with ethnic, Kazakhstani and world culture. This year, the first steps have been taken towards introducing an education model in universities: education standards are being reformed, special departments have been opened in universities, where teaching is conducted in three languages.

Research Questions

The multilingual education program introduced in Kazakhstan is unique and implies, in contrast to Western counterparts, parallel and simultaneous teaching in three languages.

According to the President K-Zh.K. Tokayev: “... Kazakhstan is unique and strong in its multinationalism. A unique polycultural space has formed on its land ... The multiculturalism of Kazakhstan is a progressive factor in the development of society. The Eurasian roots of the peoples of Kazakhstan make it possible to combine eastern, Asian, western, European flows and create a unique Kazakhstani version of the development of multiculturalism."

The processes of globalization, active integration processes taking place in the modern world, have affected not only the socio-economic, socio-political, but also the socio-cultural spheres of human activity. The globalization of the world in the field of culture and education, at present, is characterized by an intensive convergence of countries and peoples, an increase in their interaction and mutual influence. In these conditions, the problem of modernization of education is actualized, including the problem of language education.

Purpose of the Study

Multiculturalism, multilingualism, along with communicative and informational competencies, are defined by the world educational community as the basic competence of education and one of the main directions of the world educational space.

Multicultural education in the Republic of Kazakhstan is one of the priority areas in the education system, including higher professional education; is an important part of modern education, contributing to the acquisition of knowledge about spiritual and cultural values, traditions of other nations. It is education that is the most important stage in the formation and development of a multicultural, tolerant person who respects not only his own, but also the culture of other peoples; a stage when value orientations, life principles and priorities of the young generation are consciously and purposefully formed.

Research Methods

Language teaching linked with acquaintance with the cultural, historical, social values of each language should serve as a means of mutual understanding between nations. The development of linguistic competence is valuable in enriching your own culture as a whole.


From the 2013-2014 academic year, the Kazakh American Free University (hereinafter KAFU) is included in the program for the training of multilingual personnel in the pedagogical, engineering and technical and natural sciences. KAFU, implementing the principles of the Bologna process, carries out training in a three-level education system: bachelor's, master's and doctoral studies.

The introduction of multilingual education gives great prospects to universities and especially students in realizing their potential, in applying their knowledge and skills to improve their own well-being and the well-being of their country.

What is an innovative multilingual education model? Multilingualism in the educational environment is one of the main aspects of the work of all educational institutions in the country. The multilingual education program provides for the creation of a new model of education, contributing to the formation of a competitive generation that owns the language culture in the context of internationalization. Trilingualism gives students the key to world markets, science and new technologies, creates conditions for the formation of a new worldview and familiarization with the cultures of different nations.

The preparation of multilingual teaching staff in universities has been functioning starting from the 2012-2013 academic year. In this regard, 20 universities of the country have opened special departments for the training of multilingual personnel in priority specialties of engineering and natural sciences.

Today, in the country and in our university, active measures are being taken to create conditions for students, along with the state and Russian, to actively study English and other world languages. From the 2013-2014 academic year at the Kazakh American free university, a multilingual education model has been applied, in the same year two multilingual groups were formed in the majors 5B070300 "Information systems" and 5B010200 "Pedagogy and methods of primary education." In the 2015-2016 academic year, six multilingual groups were formed in the same specialties - 5B070300 "Information systems" and 5B010200 "Pedagogy and methods of primary education." For the purpose of high-quality organization of the educational process, the curriculum of specialties that carry out multilingual training, syllabuses of disciplines in Kazakh, Russian and English, Catalogues of elective courses, structures of multilingual educational programs have been developed. According to these structures, the disciplines of the working curricula of specialties that train multilingual personnel are divided into three groups: disciplines read in Kazakh, disciplines read in Russian, disciplines read in English. Teachers of foreign universities - partners of KAFU take part in the training of multilingual specialists: Concordia University (USA), Warner Pacific College (USA), Northwest Nazarene University (USA) and others. The university has an appropriate material and technical base for organizing the process of learning languages: there is a language laboratory equipped with special equipment for one-way sound transmission and is actively used in practical classes in English and an office for studying the state language.

Every year, the university increases the disciplines taught in three languages, and also increases the qualitative and quantitative cast of teachers leading classes in multilingual groups. At the same time, the university prepares teachers at its base who will teach the disciplines of the basic and major block in English in the future, providing them with English courses at different levels.

What problems do universities face in introducing multilingual education? Any reforms, innovations in education are objected, first of all, by certain problems and contradictions. Currently, the problem is in the development of regulatory and theoretical issues of multilingual education, its scientific, educational, methodological and organizational support. The problem lies in the quantitative as well as the qualitative characteristics of the teaching staff, teaching classes in three languages, as well as in the professional development of teaching staff in accordance with the requirements of multilingual education. In order to provide high-quality multilingual education with teaching staff, it is necessary to plan their participation in international and intra-republican academic mobility programs, in seminars and trainings on multilingual education, organize the publication of textbooks, teaching aids, dictionaries in three languages, invite foreign and Kazakhstani specialists in the field of multilingualism to conduct lectures and master classes. All these problems require not only a correct organizational and methodological approach, but also rather high financial costs.

Naturally, our university has also faced similar problems. Further measures for the implementation of multilingual education in our university are:

- development and implementation of new elective courses in three languages in accordance with international standards;

- development of innovative methods of multilingual education based on the study of the advanced experience of foreign countries;

- development of a model for multilingual distance learning;

- increase of the number of teaching staff for exchange internships;

-development of a program for the publication of educational, methodological and scientific literature in accordance with multilingual education.


Proficiency in Kazakh, Russian and foreign languages is becoming an integral component of personal and professional activities in modern society. All this as a whole causes the need for a large number of citizens who practically and professionally speak several languages and thus receive real chances to occupy a more prestigious position in society, both socially and professionally.

One of the main tasks of introducing young people to universal, global values, the formation of students' skills to communicate and interact with representatives of other cultures in the world community. In this regard, understanding the role of languages at this stage raises the issue of teaching languages and increasing the level of language training of students, as well as university teachers who must know the state language, Russian as the language of interethnic communication and English as the language of international communication.

The implementation of multilingual education requires expanding the educational space, sharing experience, increasing the linguistic knowledge of Kazakhstanis and the formation of a multicultural personality that effectively functions in the context of internationalization in the field of education and globalization of the world.

Acknowledgments [if any]


  • Gerd, A. S. (2005). Introduction to Ethnolinguistics: A Course of Lectures and Readings. Saint-Petersburg State University.

  • Klokov, V. T. (2000). The main directions of linguoculturological research in the framework of the semiotic approach. Theoretical and Applied Linguistics. Language and Social environment, 2, 7987.

  • Levashov, Y. A. (2006). Proceedings of the Institute for Linguistic Research. Nauka.

  • Nazarbayev, N. A. (2018). Ambassador of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan N. Nazarbayev to the people of Kazakhstan. https://www.akorda.kz/ru/addresses/addresses_of_president/poslanie-prezidenta-respubliki-kazahstan-n-nazarbaeva-narodu-kazahstana-10-yanvarya-2018-g

  • Schweitzer, A. D., & Nikolsky, L. B. (1978). Introduction to Sociolinguistics. Vysshaya Shkola.

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31 March 2022

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Nurlanova, A. N., Oskolkova, A. A., & Chunkurova, Z. K. (2022). Polylingual Policy In Kazakhstan As Reflection Of Education Globalization. In I. Savchenko (Ed.), Freedom and Responsibility in Pivotal Times, vol 125. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 1164-1169). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2022.03.139