Education and Schools in Kazakhstan
The quality of public schools and education in Kazakhstan varies. The country has a literacy rate of close to 100 percent, but due to a history of underfunding, local schools may have a shortage of facilities and teachers. In addition, teaching is done in local languages.
For these reasons, most expats prefer to make use of Kazakhstan's international schools, most of which are based in Almaty and Astana.
Public schools in Kazakhstan
Education in Kazakhstan is divided into three stages: primary school, lower secondary school and higher secondary school. Tuition for state schools is free of charge for citizens and residents. Classes are taught in either Russian or Kazakh – for most expat parents, this is a dealbreaker.
Those who do decide to make use of the country's public school system should be aware that school is typically run in two sessions a day, with one session held in the morning and the other in the afternoon. Each child attends only one of the sessions per day, although some schools have homework programmes so that learners can stay at school while their parents are at work.
International schools in Kazakhstan
Expats who are concerned that sending their child to an international school in Kazakhstan will cut them off from the local culture need not worry too much, as many of Kazakhstan's international schools are favoured by well-off local families. Popular curricula on offer include the International Baccalaureate as well as the British and American curricula.
There is often a high demand for spaces in international schools, so expats should apply as far in advance as possible. Schools should be contacted directly for information about application requirements and processes.
International schools worldwide are renowned for having extremely high fees, so prospective expats with children should endeavour to negotiate an education allowance as part of their relocation package.