Managing change in education: challenges of implementation of trilingual education

Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №8 - 2016

Author: Novitskaya Yuliya, Kazakh-American Free University, Kazakhstan

The system of education in Kazakhstan currently undergoes a broad reform covering many aspects of education that include issues related to the content of contemporary education and the issues of organizational character.

Continuous change and emergence of innovations is also a characteristic of the global education system. At present, the global education system reinforced two trends: rapid development of information and communication technology education (e-learning, smart training, etc.) The education reforms carried out by developed countries can be divided into four main blocks: (1) education system management, (2) duration of training (3) content of education its quality and (4) development of vocational education system

Analysis of educational policies of Kazakhstan shows that its main directions are aligned with the global trend. The main challenges of education in Kazakhstan are defined as follows:

- Transition to using digital technologies in education;

- Training of qualified specialists;

- Developing in students the sense of national identity and bringing up citizens of the country;

- Development of a multilateral personality in students;

- Transition to 12-year school education;

- Introduction of a trilingual education system.

Why do we need a trilingual education? There is a category of the so-called "concerned citizens" who ring the alarm bells about the transition to the trilingual education. This alarm is caused by fears of narrowing the scope of use of the Kazakh language, weakening of its role in the field of natural sciences, etc. But these "concerned citizens" fail to consider that knowledge of only one language considerably limits access to the latest data in the field of IT-technology, engineering, biomedicine, cybernetics, that are so important for the development of the country.

With regard to the English language, not every Kazakhstani family can afford to teach a child to use the services of private tutors, language courses, developing language schools. And the introduction of trilingualism in schools open to every child access to learning English.

English is the first global lingua franca. It is a mother tongue for about 500 million people in 12 countries around the world. This is much less than about 900 million people speaking Mandarin. However, But another 600 million people speak English as a second language and several hundred million have some knowledge of English, which has an official or semi-official status in about 62 countries. Today, about 1.5 billion people in the world speak English. It is the most taught language, not a substitute for other languages, but a complement to them.

English prevails in transport and mass media information. English is a language of travel and communication on international airlines. In all international airports pilots, controllers and flight attendants speak English. In seamanship, flags and light signals are used for communication, but if the ship had to communicate verbally, they would have to find a common language, which probably would be English.

Five of the largest broadcasting companies - CBS, CNN, BBC, ABC, and BBC broadcast in English.

English - the language of the information age. Computers talk to each other in English. More than 80% of the information in more than 150 million computers throughout the world is stored in English. Eighty-five percent of all international calls are made in English, and three quarters of the world's mail, telexes and telegrams are sent in English. Instructions to computer programs and the programs themselves are often only available in English. Some time ago, the language of science was German. Now 85% of all scientific publications are first published in English. More than half of the world's technical and scientific periodicals are published in the English language, which is also is the language of medicine, electronics and space technology.

English is also the language of international business. When Japanese businessman makes a deal anywhere else in Europe, it is very likely that negotiations are conducted in English. Industrial goods manufactured in Germany are labled with the sign "Made in Germany", and not with "Fabriziert in Deutschland". English is the language of multinational corporations. "Datsan" and "Nissan" write international memorandums in English. Even back in 1985, 80% of employees of the Japanese "Mitsui & K" could speak, read and write English. "Toyota" provides courses of English straight at work. All employees of companies "Tetrapak", "IBM" are required to know English well. The international language of "Iveco", the Italian manufacturer of trucks is English. "Philips", the Dutch electronic company conducts all meetings of its Board of Directors in the English language. The French company "Cap Gemini Sogeti Sa", one of the world's largest computer software manufacturers, declared English as their official language. In France, where people hold a low opinion of all languages other than their own, Business Schools now tend to teach in English.

English replaces dominant for many centuries European languages: English has replaced French as the language of diplomacy, it is the official language of international organizations such as UNESCO, NATO and the UN. European Free Trade Association works only in English, despite the fact that all Member States are non-native English speakers.

English is the language of the global youth culture. Worldwide youth sings the words of the songs of "The Beatles", "U-2", Michael Jackson and Madonna without fully understanding them. "Break dance", "Rap music", "bodybuilding", “windsurfing" and "hacking computers" - these words are invading youth jargon all over the world.

The evidence is that the English-language information on a global scale is greater than the data in German, Spanish, Chinese and any other language. To keep up with the latest innovations and developments one must be proficient in English. Meanwhile, according to data of international education center “Education First”, Kazakhstan takes the 54th place (out of 63 countries) in the international ranking on the index of English proficiency («Education First»). To fix this problem and to increase public access to the world's information, the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan set a course for trilingual education.

Any innovation and any change in the habitual operation style requires much effort and skill, that is why it is important to study existing theories of change management and existing experience in implementation of similar endeavors.

Change management is currently one of the most popular business management technologies; it is often called the most difficult management skill. This becomes especially true in the context of the modern business, where deep continuous change is very important to ensure that the organization or system can adapt to changing requirements of the market and the global economic situation. [1] The main concept in managing change is the idea that all the changes in the organization does not only affect the primary and secondary processes, but also the staff. The concept assumes that it is possible to create a replicable model of successful changes, and that there are specific processes and tools that allow you to implement change effectively [2].

Effective change management can provide complex systems (and education is certainly a complex system) with the following competitive advantages:

1. Development of a single organizational approach to change, which implies the establishment of all the processes, the use of the necessary tools, the formation of a unified system of goals.

2. Reducing resistance to change, which results in avoidance of performance degradation and conflict.

3. Consistency and stability of changes, accelerated learning, ability to continuously improve the process of implementing change and develop strategies of organizational development.

According to the type of change, there are two fundamentally different approaches to management. The first one is a revolutionary approach of radical change processes, calling into question the existing methods and foundations, thereby achieving an optimal state of affairs. This approach is called reengineering. The second approach is evolutionary change that occurs within the framework of organizational development. The approach is based on the systemic upgrading aimed at improving the efficiency of the organization or system through a change in the prevailing norms and values. Implementation of evolutionary development is based on a modification of the structures and processes underlying the activity of the organization [3].

There are the multiple theories describing the process of change. Here are some of the most frequently used:

1. "Theory O". From the point of view of this theory of organization is an evolving system that can be taught. The changes are aimed at the development of organizational competencies and capabilities. The approach focuses on the behavioral aspects of the organization and the bottom-up changes. The most likely use of this theory in the absence of urgent issues requiring immediate action, which doesn’t seem to be the case in the system of education in Kazakhstan.

2. "Theory E". This approach involves changes affecting the structure of the organization, which provides the main thrust of economic performance. The main aspect of the theory is the implementation of leadership from top to bottom and is applicable in cases where a decision must be taken immediately.

The opposite is the feed-forward control, which allows developing an action plan for the projected change in the future.

3. Kurt Lewin change model. Kurt Lewin identified three stages of change management: "Unfreezing", "Changing" and "Refreezing". “Unfreezing” stage involves recognition of the need, determination of the driving forces and the determination of the final result of changes. The “Change” phase is the introduction of changes and “Freezing” stage is the one that allows you assimilating the changes and stabilizing the situation [4]. This concept is fundamental to the management of change, and to form a basic understanding of the process of change.

Unfreezing stage of this change management model requires conducting a needs analysis. In case of transition to trilingual education, the results of the needs analysis are quoted in the introduction to the Roadmap to trilingual education for 2015-2020.

The document describes the situation in education institutions at three levels – preschools, secondary school and in higher education. At the pre-school level introduction of trilingual education is managed by the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan as of August 23, 2012 № 1080 which provides the model curriculum for pre-school education, including the study of foreign languages. According to the State Educational Standard pre-school curricula provides for 3 hours of study of the Kazakh, Russian and foreign languages. Since September 2013, the kindergartens in Kazakhstan started organizing activities for children with the use of three languages. All pre-school organizations, according to the Roadmap, developed an environment for immersion in trilingualism.

Since 2000, the school subject "Kazakh literature" in secondary schools with non-Kazakh language of instruction is conducted in the Kazakh language, while "Russian literature" in schools with non-Russian language of instruction is conducted in Russian. In the academic year 2013-2014, schools introduced learning English since the 1st grade. In the country there are 33 schools for gifted children that provide instructions in three languages. In 18 Nazarbayev Intellectual schools high school subjects are taught in English and students are required to take international standardized examinations. In 30 Kazakh-Turkish schools, separate subjects like science and math are taught in English.

Here is some more statistical data on implementation of trilingual education:

- Trilingual education is introduced in 110 schools (63 thousand students - 2.3%)

- 1202 teachers (2.4%) teach their subjects in English.

- The need for subject teachers capable of teaching natural sciences and math’s in English is 22.5 thousand.

In the sphere of higher education, since 2013 42 higher education institutions enroll students in trilingual programs: 65 undergraduate majors, 32 master's, 8 doctoral majors.

In 2014-2015, 10800 people were trained in 1002 trilingual groups.

The Road map also provides the major directions for the change implementing stage. Change implementation is supposed to be done in 7 strategic areas:

- Regulatory and legal framework;

- Research;

- Methodological and educational software;

- Training and professional development;

- Institutional support;

- Information support;

- Financing.

Regulatory and legal framework implies development of standards based on comparable levels of learning systems of Kazakh language, Russian and English languages, development of normative legal acts for gradual transition to teaching high school subjects "Information technologies", "Physics", "Chemistry", "Biology" in English, development of professional standards in the field of education.

Research activities according to the Road map should include research in the area of motivational, psychological, organizational and methodological aspects of trilingual education. Research will be carried out in selected higher education institutions. Research results are to be discussed at conferences and seminars.

Another direction in implementing changes in trilingual education is development of methodological and educational software. Here, it is planned to design and publish textbooks and teaching materials in subjects to be taught in English and adopt foreign textbooks and teaching materials in English in four subjects (computer science, physics, chemistry, biology) for senior and high school.

Training and skills development section of the Road map involves monitoring requirements for teachers for the implementation of trilingual education. Regional education authorities are to design professional development plans and programs to train teachers for the implementation of trilingual education at all levels of education.

Another important thing in ensuring success in change is overcoming resistance to change, which is to be done with mass media support. The Road map prescribes development of a mechanism of social partnership of all stakeholders involved in the implementation of trilingual education and extensive media coverage of trilingual education policy.

Implementation of the proposed measures will take approximately 31.9 billion tenge (6.38 billion tenge annually over a 5-year period).

4. "Force field" Change Model. This model is based on the analysis of the factors (forces) that may contribute to changes or to slow them. It is assumed that under all conditions there are two groups of forces: drivers and constraints, and these forces are possible within the organization, for example, the behavior of people, resources, and outside of it - in the processes that occur in the country[5].

3. ADKAR Model. ADKAR (abbreviation from Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, Reinforcement) is a model of changes consisting of five consecutive steps: (1) Awareness of the need for change. This stage involves understanding of the need for change. (2) The desire and willingness to change. This is when the decision related to the support of certain changes is made that can only be achieved in the case of understanding their necessity. (3) Knowledge of how to change. This stage involves realizing what exactly is to be changed and how, what skills and what type of expertise is required to implement the change successfully. (4) The ability to implement changes. This stage involves demonstrating the applicability and attractiveness of the changes, as well as determining the barriers that may prevent changes. (5) Providing support for the changes and making changes sustainable[6].

The sphere of change management due to its extreme complexity and relevance has been widely researched by western and Russian scientists. Some of the recent publications on the topic include “Change management” by Cameron and Green (2006), “Business process re-engineering” by Hammer and Champy (2006), “The heart of change”: real life stories of how people change their organizations by Kotter and Cohen (2012), “The innovator’s dillema” by Christensen (2012), “Revealing the secrets of effective change” by Tsarenko (2010), “Cange management” by Gerassimov (2011). The only problem is that all these books describe the approaches to change in organizations with tight management coupling, while education is a system with loose coupling and one can never know for sure how exactly the system will react to introduction of certain innovations. Thus, we consider it a critical gap in current research.

The list of countries in which there are two or more official languages used in different spheres of activity, including education, is quite lengthy. Among European countries we can mention Austria (which uses Croatian and Slavonic languages in administration and education), Belorussia, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Great Britain(where besides English, Scottish and Welsh are also extensively used), Basque country, which is one of the widely known examples of trilingual education, Cyprus (Greek and Turkish), Latvia, Malta , Russia, where in many administrative and territorial areas a local language is used on an equal foot with Russian, France, Italy, Spain., Estonia. Among Asian countries with multilingual population and, thus, more than one official or administrative language we can mention Israel, India, Kazakhstan, China, Singapore , Malaysia, the Philippines. On the American continent, these are Canada, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Mexico, the United States and others.

Despite this, еhe situation with describing implementation of multilingual education in the countries across the globe is even worse – research in this area is limited, scarce and insufficiently described. Most of the publications in bilingual education are related to the content and methodology of using non-native language as the language of instruction. There are no well researched and described models of transition to multilingual education, which makes research in this field even more relevant.

As a conclusion there are several points that need to be mentioned:

- transition to a trilingual education is an urgent need and a condition of successful development of a country;

- successful transition to trilingual system of education requires study and acquisition of change management skills;

- the process of implementing trilingual education in Kazakhstan is still in the stage of “Unfreezing” according to the change model by Kurt Lewin;

- as in any type of change management much work should be done to overcome resistance, implement change and make it sustainable;

- research in managing change in education is limited and research in the sphere of introducing multilingual education is next to non-existent.


1. Guniar F., Kelly D. preobrazovanie organizatsii [Reforming the organization]. - М.: Delo, 2000.

2. Tashlykova, Y.V., Cheremnykh D.N. Podkhody I modeli k upravleniyu izmeneniyami [Change management models and approaches] - М.: Delo, 2011.

3. Shirokova G.V. Teoriya O I teoriya E kak strategiya organizatsionnykh izmeneniy [Theory O and Theory E as a strategy of organizational change]. Molodoi uchennyy. Issue 1, 2014, p. 432-435. Retrievedfrom http: // www. mevriz. ru/ articles/ 2005/ 1/ 3521. html

4. Vez, José Manuel. Multilingual Education in Europe: Policy Developments Atrium Linguarum Observatory, Institute of Education Sciences, University of Santiago de Compostela, 2006.

Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №8 - 2016

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