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In pursuit of quantity the quality of education at local schools is lost. Part 3.

Correspondents of UzbekistanToday continue to explore the real state of affairs in russian-speaking schools. 

Lyceums and gymnasiums have always been popular with parents and children. A few years ago they were called schools offering specialized education. These schools were the subject of attention of our correspondents. Following the instructions of the editorial board, we went straight to one of these schools: school №160 of Yakkasaray district of the capital.

Walking across the corridors and classrooms of the institution we didn’t notice anything new. We knew from experience of visiting other schools of this type that they were being revonated. We decided to focus on the interview with the director, Irina Mikhailovna Kazakova, and try to understand the school’s side of the story.  

Irina Mikhailovna, do you think that the fact that some schools are full and others are not attended is a big issue today?

  • Yes, of course this issue is pertinent. While some schools are overcrowded,  others have a lot of free spaces. It would be better if all the schools were filled within the established capacity. At the same time we do not complain. Our school is among the crowded and if we could we would take more kids.

In your opinion, who or what affects the image of the school most?

  • Online presence plays a big role. There are websites, where parents have the opportunity to exchange views on various issues. These sites are very popular. One of them is mama.uz, they discuss all the schools on its forum. Parents can identify all the pros and cons of a school by researching it online. Young mothers take this information seriously. It is understandable that parents want all the best for their children, especially if they have the first and only child.

But information found on online forums is often unreliable. For example if a teacher said something wrong to someone and they started disliking the teacher, they can post about it online. Other people join in and it ruins the teachers reputation. At the same time no one delves into the causes of the conflict. So, what is written online is subjective.

  • I agree with you completely. But such an outcome happens when the class teacher and the school psychologist don’t follow up on the problem. Let me explain why. All parents are different, many of them are dissatisfied with something.

So the task of the class teacher and a psychologist  is to seat the parent at the negotiating table. Every parent needs to be heard. Very often they have sensible suggestions that can be used for further development of the school. However, quite often there are such problems, that the school is unable to do anything about. In these cases it is necessary to explain the real situation and try to reach a compromise. Usually the classes with experienced class teachers never get online complaints, because they are resolved at school. There are difficult issues involving many people, but no such case should be ignored.

In your opinion, what is a strong school ? 

  • It is a school with a strong primary school, because the foundation is laid there. When there is a strong start, then kids will receive good education and many will be keen to go to school. As a rule, most parents go to the teacher, because of the teacher’s good reputation. Primary school teachers in our school are sought after.

As for high school, kids consider themselves grown up, especially the ninth-graders. If in the beginning they had only one teacher, now they have a separate teacher for each subject. As a result the issue of discipline comes to the forefront. It all depends on how well the issue is resolved. And of course, the selection of teachers. Competently delivered management plays an important role.

Objective indicators of the quality of school education are consistently high rates of admission to prestigious colleges after graduation, the presence of the winners of "Belimlarbellashuvi" and subject Olympiads. Our school performance in all of these respects is not bad, we are in the lead. 

Many principals complain of the difficulties to find professional teachers?

It’s true. Some schools for various reasons, are experiencing problems in their selection of personell, each has its own problems. On this issue, I can only speak for our school, and we are lucky in this regard.

 

We have a strong selection of 65 teachers, we have worked together for over ten years with 48 of them. We don’t have problems with young personell. We have an advantage over other schools in this regard, because we are located near  the Tashkent State Pedagogical University. Many students come to us to practice. The strongest candidates are invited to work. Today, in our school, there are experts in all subjects in the right quantity.

 

Another feature of our school is that we have a lot of bilingual teachers, who can teach both in Russian and Uzbek language. This helps to ensure that all children recieve the same quality of education. 

What do you mean when you talk about management?

  • I am talking about the control of the educational process.

Our school is known as the Economic Lyceum since 1981 and it is popular. We could continue to rest on these laurels. However, during the reforms of specialized education we conducted a survey among parents. The survey showed that parents wanted the school to not only specialize in economics, but also include other subjects. Therefore, we opened classes with in-depth study of mathematics and English language.

In the transformation process, we had all the chances to get the status of school for specially gifted, but we insisted that the school became a school with classes offering specialized subjects. This is no accident. All children can not be gifted.  Tell me where would the children who did not pass the competitive selection go. Moving to another school for the child is traumatic. Working extra hours, we made two languages available in regular classes. 

We have plenty of English and mathematics textbooks. Sometimes we have a shortage of economics text books.Our economy teacher developed textbooks for grades 2,3,4,5, which are used across the school.

 

In your opinion, why are schools with high ratings only partially covered by the Investment scheme?   

  • Repair and reconstruction of the schools as a rule is carried out step by step. Primarily solving problems.

Schools with high ranking have discipline. Discipline is a broad concept, and it involves the maintenance of the material and technical base of the schools. Now you walked through our school. What do you say? Is it worse than others? According to the plan we will be renovated in 2017, and we're not complaining. At the same time we have support for materials and equipment.

Of course we can’t renovate without government support, but we can solve problems one by one. Two years ago, the regional state administration allocated 60 million soums to fixthe roof. Sponsors helped to renovate the dining room, with the help of parents we renovated bathrooms. This year we repaired the heating system in the school.

 

Parents help, when they know that their money will be spent for the benefit of their children. Our parents help us with pleasure, because their children practically live here. With 8 am classes, after-school clubs, nobody leaves before 4 pm. School life calms down only after 6 pm. 

Today many talk about the introduction of information and communication technologies . How do you feel about this?

 

We support this process and do everything to ensure that lessons are taught using the latest multimedia technology. Last year, when the school got a new computer class , we did not write off a single computer. We got old computers and distributed them, today we have 17 offices with computers on the teachers desk.

 

Our teachers all have laptops . By the way, our school was the first in the district to purchase an interactive whiteboard, even before the Ministry of National Education started distributing them. In addition, our school has eight multi-media systems. Our teachers use online resources to prepare class material, the resources from the funds of the Tashkent City Institute of retraining and advanced training of teachers. In addition, they employ visual resources to make information more digestable for children. 

In order to maintain discipline we installed surveilance cameras. The effect is positive - everything is under control, and high school students, knowing this, try not to violate rules. 

It remains for us to wish you success in your work ...

Thank you.

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