Nazarbayev Intellectual School is a heavily funded meritocratic public school in Astana, the new capital of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
The school is one of 20 constructed by the government of Kazakhstan. All are selective schools and only for Kazakh nationals. As a result our students are interested in learning in all subject areas, motivated and very respectful. For them being in this school is an honour, not an entitlement as their entrance and continuity are earned. The focus of 19 of them is Maths & Science. The 20th – this one – is an IB World school that started to teach the Diploma Programme in September 2013. We became a Candidate School for the MYP in May 2013. For 2014-15, there are about 120 students in each of Grades 7-10 and 48 in the first year of the IB Diploma Programme. At present, the school has just moved into a new building.
All students are taught in 3 languages – Kazakh, Russian and English. Not surprisingly, the proportion of English increases throughout the school until – for the DP and later stages of the MYP – it is mostly in English. Classes for expatriate teachers to learn Russian and / or Kazakh are provided, though these are not compulsory as working in the school (and even living in Astana) requires limited knowledge of local languages.
The school is well-funded. Currently, it employs 18 expatriate teachers – to deliver the DP and support the development of the MYP as well as training local employees. The plan is to hire another 16 expatriates for September 2014. The role of international teachers is to lead in planning, teaching and assessing – mentoring local teachers who are inexperienced with the I.B. so that they become leaders in the future. The school is still growing so this leadership role for international teachers will be important for many more years. Interest in training local colleagues is important. Two of the current international teachers are in the administration, all have significant experience in the I.B., many being examiners.