Rauan Kenzhekhanuly, Head of National bureau of translations

- Can you provide a brief overview of the 100 New Textbooks project.

- Two years ago, Kazakhstan’s First President initiated a large-scale Modernization of Kazakhstan’s Identity State Program. The program consists of several segments, such as introduction of the Latin script to the Kazakh language, the New Humanitarian Education program, 100 New Textbooks in the Kazakh language, including Tugan Zher, the Sacred Map and the Modern Kazakh Culture in the Global World. Among these projects, there is the New Humanitarian Education project which is aimed to translate 100 new textbooks into Kazakh. The project’s main idea is to translate the most advanced textbooks used in the world’s top universities into Kazakh and disseminate them in Kazakhstan’s universities and educational institutions for free in order to help improve the quality of humanities education in the Kazakh educational institutions. This unique project has no equivalents in other countries, and is being implemented only in Kazakhstan. The major translation-related science and education project is aimed to improve the quality of education in Kazakhstan and make the new textbooks available to everyone. We visited large publishing houses and prominent universities worldwide in order to present this project and everybody was impressed that the Kazakh First President initiated the project and that the initiative is thoroughly supported by the Government.      

- How many books have been translated so far and which fields do they cover?

- The National Bureau of Translation public foundation was established in order to implement the project. The foundation is a non-profit and non-governmental organization which is aimed to bring together specialists that are capable of contributing to the translation of scientific texts. At the moment, there is no dedicated government agency in Kazakhstan responsible for evaluation of the quality of translation. Users of these texts, such as teachers, students and scientists are the ones who can evaluate the texts. Therefore, we believe that one of the ways to ensure quality is to involve specialists who are familiar with the specific aspects of translation. We involved humanities teachers of the most advanced universities worldwide. About 10 to 15 people are involved in the translation of one textbook. Each textbook was published in 10,000 copies and disseminated for free to 112 universities in Kazakhstan. So far, 48 textbook have been translated and made available for the public. We introduced the first 18 books within one year since the start of the Modernization of Kazakhstan’s Identity program. This year, on April 12th we celebrated two years since the start of the program. On that day, we presented additional 30 textbooks, thus the total number of books is 48. The textbooks cover humanities, such as philosophy, history, linguistics, oriental studies, economics, entrepreneurship, pedagogics, psychology, social science and cultural studies.           

- Digital transformation is shifting into a new area every day. We're getting rid of hard copies of papers.  What will we do with 100 new books? Will there be electronic books?

- Of course, there are published electronic versions of books which provide users with access to free learning. When choosing these textbooks, one of the main requirements is that they should be up-to-date. In addition to the texts, many textbooks have interactive tasks and electronic resources. Each textbook has its own website now. Therefore, we have to make sure that these modern requirements are met when selecting the textbooks. In addition to the electronic version of the book, a collection of video lectures is prepared compiling the chapters of each book. Having translated the world’s most advanced textbooks into Kazakh, we are recording videos with lecturers who are well aware of the content of the textbook and who are the best professors in Kazakhstan. Now more than 100 million people worldwide are enrolled in such online classes. In Kazakhstan, there is a high interest. That's why we believe that the Open University of Kazakhstan is a result of the Modernization of Kazakhstan’s Identity Program. Our work could serve our students as well as people who pursue knowledge and innovation for many years.

- As the head of the Translation Bureau and as a citizen engaged in this field, can you say to what extent these textbooks are helpful in the educational process of students?

- Young people who are accomplished earn good points and study abroad in the top universities through the Bolashak program. On the other hand, this program of textbooks is designed for students who do not have the opportunity to study abroad but who want to self-study. We have translated the textbooks into Kazakh that are included into the list of the books used in the universities which are recommended by the Bolashak program. That’s why this project will bring the level of content of our universities and high schools to the level of the most advanced universities in the world. Now how efficient these textbooks will be used is up to the professors and students of the universities.  The state has created a wonderful environment for this. They just need to open, find and read since there are opportunities to get education that meets the newest and most up-to-date requirements of the world. When the project was launched, there was no requirement on deadlines because we did not know our translation potential at the beginning of the project. This was a hard work. There are very few professionals who can translate from English to Kazakh. So we had to understand how effective the translators’ work is. In our opinion, now we have the opportunity to publish nearly 30 textbooks. Not all 100 textbooks can be issued in one year. Although it is not good to extend the publication for a longer period. If we publish from 20 to 30 books every year, we can finish the project in the next two years.

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