Financial Autonomy of Schools in Kazakhstan: International Comparison and a National Perspective


This paper has relevance for any nation seeking to reform its model of funding through decentralization and a neoliberal agenda that permits marketization of public services such as education. It adopts a case-study approach to locate and discuss where Kazakhstan, a country undergoing considerable educational reform, is currently positioned regarding one specific aspect of school autonomy; that of school-level decision-making in terms of budget allocations. The first part of the paper compares Kazakhstan’s school principals’ fiscal responsibilities to global counterparts. This establishes a starting point to reflect the national situation in 2018. The method of comparison is by secondary data analysis of publicly available data from TALIS 2018 (Teaching and Learning International Survey). The second part of the paper analyses primary data captured through a small online survey to school principals in March 2020. Significantly, this research took place during transition from a norms-based distribution of funds by regional authorities to a direct government-to-school per-capita model of finance. Learning from school principals’ in-vivo experiences to capture the successes and barriers to implementation of per-capita funding is not only timely but highly useful as wider roll-out proceeds. Furthermore, exploring the national position in 2018 and the local situation in 2020 will be of use to revisit the national situation in 2024 when implementation of per-capita funding should be complete. Findings show that decentralization has significantly altered school principals’ roles and responsibilities revealing an important need for professional development to confidently manage budgets efficiently in order to target and achieve school improvement.

Author Information
Liz Winter, Cambridge University, United Kingdom
Rita Kasa, Nazarbayev Universit, Kazakhstan

Paper Information
Conference: ECE2021
Stream: Educational policy

This paper is part of the ECE2021 Conference Proceedings (View)
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To cite this article:
Winter L., Kasa R., & A. (2021) Financial Autonomy of Schools in Kazakhstan: International Comparison and a National Perspective ISSN: 2188-1162 The European Conference on Education 2021: Official Conference Proceedings
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon