There are significant regional disparities in students’ outcomes in Kazakhstan. Whilst there has been progress in the overall quality of secondary education, large-scale assessments demonstrate a gap in knowledge of several years between certain Southern and Western regions when compared to the top-performing city of Almaty.
The author analyzed country data from timss 2015 using the Learning-adjusted years of schooling (lays) measure developed by the World Bank along with an expert survey to understand the factors behind this disparity across the country. The author’s analysis suggests that this situation can be caused by the lack of specific regional education development policies, the language of instruction in school, and the poor socioeconomic development of the region in the first place. There are also indications that students in the disadvantaged regions might be less motivated, which can affect their academic achievement. The author proposes a two-stage policy intervention to improve the chances for good childhood education across regions.