Burkitbai Ayagan: This is special time for scientists

31 july 2013

According to director of the State History Institute Burkitbai Ayagan, the reform of the Kazakhstani historical science that have been started in the country is presently one of the most widely discussed themes. The necessity of the reform was conditioned by the fact that the national science still cannot get over the commitment to the concepts of the past on one hand and that the era of high technologies and modern realities set the task to form a new world outlook before Kazakhstan.

The reform of the national historical science was initiated by President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev within the Kazakhstan – 2050 Strategy. Pursuant to the President’s instructions, a nation-wide meeting of the country’s historians was held on June 5, 2013. State Secretary of Kazakhstan Marat Tazhin addressed the meeting.

The ideas outlined in the Kazakhstan – 2050 Strategy are aimed at a quality breakthrough in the historical science and removal of barriers in the science development.

It is remarkable that unlike in old times, the government now helps the scientists. Thereat, the social scientists have no ideological limitations, in contrary, all necessary conditions are created to ensure the research is comprehensive and detailed.

The historians have huge responsibility. Figuratively speaking, this is a special time for the scientists. A nationwide mobilization of historians is necessary. It is crucial to involve all the available scientific and intellectual potential.

According to B.Ayagan, 56 days have passed since the day of the nationwide meeting. He told about the work that was done over this period. All works were conducted under the supervision of the interministerial working group for studying the history of Kazakhstan. The working group had two meetings over this period where the issues regarding continuation of the reform were discussed.

The Ministry of Education and Science and the Ministry of Culture and Information of Kazakhstan conducted organizational works. Presently, history departments function in 59 higher education institutions of the country. History departments were opened in 4 national, 9 corporate and 9 private universities. By the decree of the Minister of education and Science, resource centers dealing with the methods and methodology of research were opened. A center for studying the Central Asian nomadic civilization was opened in the Al Farabi Kazakh National University.

Educational programs and textbooks for secondary schools were examined and refreshed. The National Congress of Historians held two meetings. The work on preparation for a meeting of the National Congress of Historians scheduled for October this year was started. The work on reconstruction of one and a half thousand year history of the country was also launched. This work will help to eliminate fragmentarily of the research and reconstruct the ethnogenesis of the Kazakh people and states that ever existed in the steppe.

Regional meetings of historians and local executive authorities were held all over the country over the period from June 29 through July 3. Rectors of major universities and research institutes delivered their reports at the meetings.

A database of foreign centers and a list of scientists studying the history of Kazakhstan have been created and are permanently updated. In June 2013, 23 scientists were chosen to work in the central archives of Iran, Turkey and Great Britain. Ten of them have already returned home, and a new group prepares for the trip. The Ministry of Culture and Information works on the issues of archiving the found materials. They are planned to be in free access in future. The archeologists of the country have found very valuable artifacts in Sairam village, South Kazakhstan region and in the burial mounds of the Saka period in East Kazakhstan region over the last two months.

The potential of the higher education institutions and “Bolashak” program is widely used for establishment of scientific exchange with the foreign research centers. A group of scientists was formed to organize a population genetics laboratory. Another two groups of scientists began the work on preparation of basic textbooks on Kazakhstan history.

A concept and design of scientific magazine “Topical issues of the national history” were developed. An inventory of all archive documents was carried out within Madeni Mura Program in order to introduce documents found in foreign archives for scientific use.

The national center of archeology and source studies began the work on “History of Kazakhstan in foreign archives (18th – first quarter of 20th centuries)” publication. Seven volumes and the final 8th volume of the reference book will be published this year. This is a short list of work conducted within the national historical science reform. Mass media plays special role and helps a lot in informing the society about the reform, its progress and purposes.

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