Information-Analytic Center

Language and Literacy

There are approximately 130 ethnic groups in Kazakhstan. Kazakhs comprise 66 percent of the population, and Russians comprise 21 percent. Uzbeks, Ukrainians, Uighurs, Tatars, Germans, Koreans, Azerbaijanis, Belorussians, Turks, Dungans, Poles, Kurds, Chechens, Tajiks, Bashkirs, and other nationalities total a combined 13 percent.1

The state language of Kazakhstan is Kazakh. Nevertheless, state agencies and local authorities use both Kazakh and Russian languages officially. English is used in an international context.

Language policy in educational organizations is carried out in accordance with the Constitution and state legislation on languages.2 Parents have the freedom to choose the language of instruction for their children.

In Kazakhstan, education is provided by 3,777 schools in Kazakh, 1,262 schools in Russian, 2,088 schools in both Kazakh and Russian, and 33 schools in other languages (e.g., Uzbek, Uighur, Tajik).

A network of schools offers scientific and mathematical modules in English, and trilingual education is being developed in Kazakhstan. At present, there are 107 such schools, including the Autonomous Educational Organisation’s Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools.