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AutorIn: Kamal Gasimov

This article examines the politics of bureaucratization of Islam that the Azerbaijani government initially implemented in the mid-2000s and which has intensified after 2011. First, the state superimposed its bureaucratic categories on the Muslim communities of the country. Then, it proceeded to transform local religious figures into state employees. Yet, at the same time, the government insists that it does not interfere into theological issues and that all of its bureaucratic initiatives are aimed at ensuring freedom of belief and protecting the public order. However, with time, the process of bureaucratization has shifted from regulation to a direct administrative and ideological intervention into the religious space aimed at creating a state-imagined “orthodoxy” designated as traditional Islam. This article draws on previously untapped primary sources to discuss the different ideological and political aspects of this bureaucratically initiated tradition and its pervasive and transformative influence on the local religious landscape.

in Central Asian Affairs

This research aims to describe how parents navigate secondary education choices in Bishkek in the context of diverse school choice options. The paper uses a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods, which include interviews and a complementary survey with parents. The paper provides an overview of the state of school options in Bishkek, explores parental motivations in choosing schools, and engages in a wider debate about educational inequality. By examining parental school choices and motivations, the research reveals that inequality in secondary education in Bishkek is multi-layered and depends on how families can utilize their resources: parents with larger resources in the form of financial, social, and cultural capital are most advantaged, while the majority of under-resourced families are left with little choice and schools of poor quality. This state of affairs has strong implications for the growing socio-economic inequality and creates additional cleavages between social groups.

in Central Asian Affairs
AutorIn: Aigerim Kopeyeva

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.

in Central Asian Affairs