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Kazakhstan Institute for Strategic Studies

under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan

Address of the President to the people of Kazakhstan

Third Modernization of Kazakhstan

"Only those nations who manage to set the future goals and proceed resolutely facing the challenges,

instead of sitting on the hedge and waiting, are the winners."

Modernization of Kazakh Alphabet: Tools, Methods, and Outcomes

On May 19, 2017, Kazakhstan Institute of Strategic Studies under the President of Kazakhstan held the expert meeting on "Modernization of the Kazakh alphabet: tools, methods, and outcomes" at the Public Academic Center of the National Academy of Kazakhstan in Almaty.

According to the programmatic article "Seeing the future: modernization of values and attitudes" of President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan, the transition to the Latin alphabet is logical in historic sense. Moreover, it is prompted by the current technological and communicational developments in the world as well as by the nature of the contemporary academia and education. Therefore, President Nursultan Nazarbayev urged the Cabinet to design a precise timetable for the transition of the Kazakh language to the Latin alphabet that is to be fulfilled by 2025.

Transition of the Kazakh language to the Latin alphabet requires serious work of linguistic and culturological character as well as thorough organizational and information preparation. In this regard, it important to discuss its methods, tools, criteria, and stages and to analyze the experience of the other nations in order to offer some practical recommendations to fulfill successfully the task.

The expert meeting was attended by the professors and faculty members of the leading universities of Kazakhstan, young academics and doctoral students of the Institute of Linguistics of the National Academy, Al-Farabi Kazakh National University, and other universities who major in "Philology" and "Literary Studies", IT professionals and teachers of Kazakh, Russian, and English languages of schools in Almaty.

The speakers at the event were Director of Baytursynov Institute of Linguistics, Doctor Professor Erden Kazhybek; Deputy Director of Baytursynov Institute of Linguistics Anara Fazilzhan; Advisor to Director of National Library of Kazakhstan, political expert Aidos Sarym; Chief Research Fellow at Institute of Philosophy, Political Science and Religious Studies of Ministry of Education and Science of Kazakhstan,  Professor, Corresponding Member of National Academy of Kazakhstan, Doctor Natalia Seytakhmetova; Associate Professor of al-Farabi KazNU, cinematographer Oleg Boretsky; Head of Oriental Languages Department ​​of Abai KazNPU, Member of  International Academy of Higher Education, Council Member of People's Assembly of Kazakhstan Mirzoev; President of “Wikibilim” Foundation Nurbek Matzhani; Doctor Professor, Member of International Academy of Pedagogical Education Tanat Ayapova; Doctor Professor Nurgeldi Ueli; Chief Research Fellow at Institute of Philosophy, Political Science and Religious Studies Rustem Kadyrzhanov, and others.

In the course of an informative vigorous discussion, convincing examples and profound arguments were given. For instance, referring to Whorf’s concept of language as the determinant of the way of thinking, a well-known philosopher, Oleg Boretsky emphasized that the current language reform should stimulate greater creativity and mobility through changing consciousness of the people living in Kazakhstan.

Summing up the meeting, the KazISS Director Zarema Shaukenova stressed the complex nature of the transition to the Latin alphabet. Kazakhstan successfully completed the first stage of the reform when the experience of foreign countries was being studied and immense amount of work was done by academics and experts, including those of Baytursynov Institute of Linguistics. The next stage is to design the alphabet itself. This shall enable Kazakhstan to proceed further to print new school and university textbooks and to issue newspapers and magazines followed by the transition of the entire educational system into the modernized Kazakh alphabet. Then, a comprehensive work aimed at translation of scholarly materials of primary significance as well as the texts of the classics of the Kazakh literature shall be carried out.