Karachi, 5 May 2017 (nCa) — Kazakhstan has embarked on the third phase of its concerted drive toward well-rounded modernization.
In a lengthy article, packed with out-of-the-box ideas, President Nursultan Nazarbayev has set the process in motion.
The article is extensive in scope, with relevance not just for Kazakhstan but the entire region. He has pinned the pace and direction of reforms on the transformation of the public consciousness. — It is an idea that needs to be taken seriously by every country faced with the challenges of our times; and that means just about every country in the world.
Here is the link to the original article in Russian:
The English language translation of the article can be found here:
It is important here to sum up the main points of the article ‘The course toward future: modernization of public consciousness’:
The future seems volatile and complicated because of the acceleration of all the technological processes and the growing competitiveness of economies. All the nations of the world are faced with the task of revitalization today. These challenges, daunting as they are, present Kazakhstan with a unique opportunity to reach an entirely new level of development.
The modern period of international relations is characterized by contradictory events in the interrelations of states. The world, with its accelerating dynamics, requires a special type of national consciousness, based on people’s spirituality and traditions. In these terms, the issues of preserving the society’s spiritual and value orientations are of primary importance.
The large-scale reforms initiated in the country should be accompanied by faster modernization of public consciousness. At the same time, to date, a lot of laborious work has been done and Kazakhstan is an established state. However it is time to start a larger and more fundamental work that will change the public consciousness in order to become a united nation of strong and responsible people.
The first condition for the modernization of a new type is the preservation of one’s own culture, the unique national code. Without this, modernization will turn into an empty noise.
The process of modernization should not be arrogant towards historical experience and traditions. On the contrary, it is necessary to make the best traditions an important condition for the success of modernization.
There are several directions of changing consciousness, both at social and individual levels. First of all, it is competitiveness, when it is important to concentrate and adapt to new realities and conditions, taking the best of the new era. Each Kazakhstani citizen should prioritize the need to be able to offer something advantageous in regional and global markets. And this is not only a material product, but also in the shape of intellect and knowledge. Among the significant prerequisites are such factors as computer literacy, knowledge of foreign languages and cultural openness. Therefore, the program “Digital Kazakhstan”, the trilingual program, and program of cultural and confessional consent are part of the nation’s preparation for life in the 21st century.
Modernization is impossible without changing habits and stereotypes, while focusing on essential notion as pragmatism. Once upon a time, the nation’s extravagance led to the disappearance of the Aral Sea, turning thousands of hectares of natural land into zones of ecological disaster. This is a vivid example of an extremely non-pragmatic attitude, in this case to the environment. Therefore, the pragmatism in behavior is the ability to live rationally, concentrating on achieving real goals. And this is the only successful model in the modern world.
It is important to preserve national identity. National traditions and customs, language and music, literature and wedding ceremonies, in a word, the national spirit should always remain with the people. But it is necessary to get out of some archaic habits and addictions in modern realities. For example, there is the need to refuse from the regional – [where region may mean a province or an area with people of very similar traits] – division of a single nation. We are building a meritocratic society, where everyone should be assessed on personal contribution and on personal professional qualities.
In the coming decades, half of all professions will disappear and under such conditions only a highly educated person will be able to live successfully. Therefore, Kazakhstan is among the most advanced countries in terms of the budget-allocation for the education sector. If education would become the main value in the value system of youth, the nation will succeed.
Only evolutionary development gives a nation the chance to succeed. The entire twentieth century was marked by revolutionary upheavals. Today, the nature of the revolutions has changed; it has acquired an obvious national, religious, cultural or separatist color. Therefore, a serious rethinking of what is happening in the world is part of a huge ideological work that must be done by the society as a whole, including the political parties, movements, and the education system.
It is important to understand the concept of openness of the consciousness – This has at least three main aspects. This is an understanding of what is happening in the larger world, what is happening around your own country and what is happening in your little corner of the planet. Openness of consciousness is also the readiness to changes, driven by the new technological way. It will change the large layers of existence – work, life, rest, home, and the ways of human communication.
The action plan, the agenda, for the coming years should cover six specific projects that can be launched in the foreseeable future. First of all, it is necessary to begin work for a phased transition of the Kazakh language to the Latin alphabet. The background work for this has been done cautiously throughout the years of independence. We are in the transition phase in all the areas – documentation, publishing periodicals, and textbooks.
Latin is the dominant script in the world. By using it, Kazakhstan will become closer and more understandable to the world. This will have a positive impact on Kazakhstan’s competitiveness, and will show that the country is focused on the broadest interaction with the international community. In a strategic perspective, moving to Latin alphabet for Kazakhstan is the right step, which meets national interests.
The second project is under the title “New Humanitarian Knowledge – 100 new books in the Kazakh language.”
This concerns social and human sciences. Within its framework, humanitarian departments should be bolstered to support the humanitarian intelligentsia of Kazakhstan society. It is necessary to translate in the next few years the 100 best books of the world in all directions of humanitarian knowledge into the Kazakh language and to enable the youth to learn from the best world standards.
There should be the programme “Туған жер” (native land), which will easily stream into “Туған ел” (country of birth). Its meaning lies in patriotism towards one’s own country, a small homeland. The project provides for serious study of regions in the field of education, ecology and landscaping, study of regional history, restoration of cultural and historical monuments and cultural sites of local scale. It is important to approach this program in a systematic and organized way. The essence here is to root the patriotism in the immediate environment and integrate it into the national landscape.
Another important project is “Spiritual relics of Kazakhstan”, or, as scientists say, “Sacral Geography of Kazakhstan.” And the matter is not even in the restoration of monuments, buildings and structures. The aim is to link together in the national consciousness the complex of monuments around Ulytau, mausoleum of Hoja Ahmet Yassavi, the ancient monuments of Taraz and the burial of Beket-Ata, the ancient complexes of East Kazakhstan and sacred places of Semirechye [Seven Rivers], and many other places. All of them form the frame of our national identity and the people should understand as to how they relate to their spiritual heritage.
Another project, important from the point of view of increasing the competitiveness of the nation, is called “Modern culture of Kazakhstan in the global world”. It will allow that Kazakhstan would be recognized not only by its oil resources and major foreign policy initiatives, but also by the cultural achievements of the country. It is necessary that the national culture be heard in the six UN languages. Secondly, it should be precisely modern culture, one that is created by contemporaries. And the current year 2017 should be decisive in determining what is necessary to demonstrate to the world in the sphere of culture.
The sixth project is called “100 new persons of Kazakhstan”. It is designed to direct the attention of the society to the present, to the history of contemporaries. This is the story of 100 specific people from various regions, different ages and nationalities [ethnicities] who have succeeded in a quarter century of independence. Their life story would be more convincing than any statistics. We must make them the heroes of our television documentaries, a role model, for objective view of life. At the same time, it is necessary to create not only national but also regional projects “100 new persons.”
The article of Nazarbayev ends with straight, powerful argument: The state and the nation are not a static structure, but a living, developing organism. To live, you need to have the ability to make meaningful adaptation. Time does not stop, which means that modernization, like history itself, is an ongoing process. At the dawn of a new era, Kazakhstan has a unique historical chance through renewal and new ideas to build a better future of its own. In the new reality, the inner desire for renewal is the key principle of development. To survive, you need to change. Anyone who would not do it, will be buried under the heavy sand of history.///nCa