TRANS Internet-Zeitschrift für Kulturwissenschaften 17. Nr. März 2010

Section VS 1 The multitude of Theatre of the Oppressed techniques: From Theory to Practice
Sektionsleiter | Section Chair:
Birgit Fritz (University of Vienna), Matthias Thonhauser (Art in Progress/Austria)

Dokumentation | Documentation | Documentation

English | Русский

The Experience of a professional Training
in social Pedagogy in Kyrgyzstan

M.T. Imankulova (Kyrgyz Republic) [BIO]


Social pedagogy, as an area of science, has been taking its first steps in Kyrgyzstan; however we cannot say, that its development began from zero, it has the same deep and old tradition, as well as in other countries in the world. For the first time the concept of “social pedagogy” was used by the German scientist A.Disterverg, and the teacher and  philosopher P. Natorp published the book titled “Social pedagogy” (1899), in which he tried to define the essence of social pedagogy and its basic categories. More than hundred years has passed since then, but scientific disputes about what is understood as social pedagogy are still conducted.

Studying of scientific works of well-known scientists, both the last years and modern, such as A.S.Makarenko, S.T.Shatsky, A.V.Mudrik, M.A.Galaguzova, L.V.Mardahaev, M.R.Rakhimov, N.A.Asipova, and many others, testifies that there a whole range of points of view for social pedagogy.

According to one of them – social pedagogy is a specific area of social practice, practical scientific and educational activity of people in a social sphere, in high schools of pedagogical and non-pedagogical character. The purpose of such practical socio-pedagogical activity is harmonization of interaction (relations) of an individual and society for preservation, restoration, maintenance, and development of social activity of a person, his or her social health and vital activity and social functioning.

According to some other point of view, social pedagogy is understood as a scientific discipline, which reflects scientific and cognitive activity of people and institutes of society, the state and a society itself. The subject of scientific discipline “social pedagogy” appears in this case as common and pedagogical laws of interaction between a person and society. The purpose of this scientific discipline is also scientific and pedagogical substantiation of interaction between a person and society, harmonization of this interaction at a level of practical work.

Social pedagogy is also understood as a set of activities of people and institutes of society, the state and a society, objects of which are scientific researches, generalization of experience of socio-pedagogical activity, knowledge in the field of society and attitudes in it.

Many researchers agree that the purpose of social pedagogy as an educational complex is a formation of a scientific socio-pedagogical picture of the world in the teachers who work with people in various spheres and areas of society. They are, first of all, practical social teachers (their range is from the emotional and valuable attitude to the experience of an activity and further to basic knowledge).

As to a domestic pedagogical science, first of all, its contents were connected with a concept of “social education”. If we make small excursus to the history of social education development, we shall see that this way was twisting and dramatic, as well as the history of our country was. It also causes the main difficulties of social pedagogy formation as new professional sphere, which includes not only socio-pedagogical establishments and services, organs controlling them, but also system of experts’ preparation, and also research base of socio-pedagogical activity.

Since 1990s, “social education” has experienced its rebirth in connection with social pedagogy formation as a new area of scientific and practical activities. There is a reconsideration of essence of education as social phenomenon; there is a search for forms and ways of education of rising generation directly in the practice of social life, socio-pedagogical activity with family, with informal associations of teenagers and youth, children and the teenagers who have got in a difficult vital situation, difficulties of socialization processes, etc. The well-known theorist of modern social pedagogy, A.V.Mudrik defines social education “as systematic creation of conditions for rather purposeful development of the person in a process of his socialization” (6).

If we, teachers, accept as a reality a position of socializing individuality of a child during education, then, it means, that educational interaction with a child should be under construction of other principles, in other algorithms of the contents, and also in other system of pedagogical means and methods.

In our article “Socialization and education of children as key activity of a social teacher” (2), we wrote that the modern paradigm individually-focused education sates the concept “education” also by some other sense. Education is understood as a formation of an image by a person him-/herself. As a result of education, one should achieve an original readiness for a life: ability to operate, make decisions, to distinguish kindness and anger, and to choose one’s place in these moral positions, to make relations with different people, to find necessary information and successfully use it.

In other words, a modern, educated person should be well-socialized. In a modern understanding, socialization represents a process and result of active mastering and reproduction of social experience by an individual. It includes social behavior, social skill, social adaptation, and also integration of a person into a system of social relations, various types of social communities, mastering of cultural elements, social norms and values on the basis of which the quality of a person is formed.

In its turn, education in a process of socialization provides not only “an appearance in society” (conditions of vital activity of a child, its productive activity and dialogue, which promote normal socialization), but also “finding him-/ herself” (process of an individualization, formation of own social experience, own style of life). Therefore, there is a reconsideration of essence of the process of education, thus there is a necessity to proceed not only from own pedagogical, but also sociological sense of education.

Today, there is a complex search for the essence of a process of education and its purposes. The modern pedagogy puts in the center of its attention a child as the unique and complete person, already possessing opportunities of perception of new social experience and aspiring to self-determination in various vital situations. The pedagogics which is more thoroughly affirmed in understanding of that education is open into a life pedagogically organized social space when a child becoming mature. As an objective of education, it is necessary to develop needs and abilities of a person to vital and professional self-determination. Such purpose of education cannot be introduced only through mechanisms of formation of knowledge and behavioral habits. The purpose of modern education directs a teacher to maintain the understanding and acceptance in young generation as the main vital values, also the accumulation of their emotional experience, development of practice of real social actions, the display of individuality by them.

It is necessary to recognize that, as teachers, we can not and should not supervise completely all social processes in which children and teenagers are included, but need to correct, enrich, deepen and make children’s spontaneously developing social experience more intelligent.

Understanding education as a process of organized socialization, as pedagogically provided social experience formation of young students, in view of features of a children's way of life, specifies that the result of education should be established on the degree of children’s ability to resolve vital problems, to their moral choice.

It is important to recognize that actions of a teacher understanding the mechanism of interrelation between socialization and education are always mediated by social experience of a child. Such tutor will not begin to correlate judgment and acts of teenagers and children to one or another situation of our adult life, and to estimate, as far as a child appears to be ready to such life. For this reason, education has a task to create special conditions that they could determine priorities of actions, try, search, and choose.

Today, the huge role in social education is allocated to adults, pedagogical collectives of educational establishments, which face, in daily activity, negative displays in society, and adverse conditions of an environment, which influence formation of the person.

In modern conditions, it is extremely important that teachers see themselves as agents of socialization of children and teenagers. It is well-known that a child receives the first experience in development of functional social roles in the family, through communication with relatives. An educational establishment, in its turn, gives more various situations of dialogue, new role positions, showing an attitude of young students to themselves and associates in the context of these roles. Teachers, as agents of socialization, show to children and teenagers the expectations of the immediate social environment, create conditions for voluntary reproduction of social communications and relations by them, for search of the certain coordination with their valuable orientations.

Deep social shocks, economy crisis, culture, education, that were occurring within last years in the Republic, catastrophically worsen conditions of life and education of young generation. We are witnesses of criminal tendencies that grow among teenagers and youth, the number of neglected and homeless children increases, children’s alcoholism and drug addiction become a social problem, the is increase in the number of children having deviations in physical and mental development, there is an infringement of socialization process, which adversely influences intellectual and personal development. All this brings to the forefront problems of becoming a person in an open social environment, integration maintenance of a child into a society, rendering assistance in his/ her development and vital self-determination.

All what was stated above indicates a need and an extremely great demand for experts who are able to estimate a problem of children professionally and to help them to solve it; however, first of all, the state in its social policy should show care and attention.

 Special laws and social programs on support and protection of youngsters have been developed in Kyrgyzstan. Today in Kyrgyzstan, the rights of children follow legal regulations, such as the “Law on Education”, the “Law on Safety and Protection of Minors Rights”; there are also a “Concept of Young Students’ Education in the Kyrgyz Republic”, a national program – “Access to Education” (“Dzhetkinchek”), the state program on realization of the rights of children of Kyrgyzstan – “New Generation”, and many other programs.

Ratification of the Convention on rights of a child by the Government of Kyrgyzstan in 1994 was brought timely, and accepted in the Republic (5). The given international document contains requirements on protection of the rights and interests of children, and maintenance of their active participation in the life of society. It reflects that children, because of their vulnerability, require special care and protection. Therefore, legal and other protection of a child, also in regard to the respect of cultural values of the nation to which a child belongs, are extremely important.

At the First national forum on “Position of children in Kyrgyzstan: a reality and prospects” (December, 15-16, 2005, Bishkek), all social problems of childhood which are stated above asked for a search for new models of youngsters’ public education. The problems were determined in relation to various social institutions: family, and all types and kinds of educational establishments. The key agents who have to work with family and children should be trained and qualified people; therefore, it is very important, that in a resolution of the given assembly, the following recommendations were given:

Since 2004, the Bishkek Humanities University has started with preparation and retraining of experts on social work. Then, this department/discipline has also been opened at Osh, Dzhalalabad, and Batken Universities and at the Institute of Business and Social Development under the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection. Retraining of the given professional category started to be carried out by the Kyrgyz State University “I. Arabaev”. However, a small number of graduates with majors in this specialization do not satisfy the Republic’s need. Unfortunately, it is necessary also to underline that the preparation of teachers-experts on social issues has not drawn enough attention of high schools yet; although, the need in them today is very high.

In 2006, the Kyrgyz Academy of Education, at the request of the State Secretary Program “New Generation” and the UNICEF conducted a research about conditions of social workers preparation and studying requirements for a professional skill improvement in three areas: Chui, Talas and Issykkul. 238 persons were interviewed. The results of research were published in the book “Professional Training in Social Work in Kyrgyzstan” (1). We will state some results of the research.

The employed social workers have rather high educational level. However, as it was found out, diplomas in “Social work” possess only 7,6 % in Chui oblast (region), in Talas oblast only 2,7 %, and there were no experts on social work among those interviewed in Issykkul oblast at all. Instead, those employed at these positions are:

Thus, in spite of the fact that the educational level of respondents is rather high, the professional experts having diploma in social work make up an insignificant percent.

Certainly, the given picture does not specify that hiring staff for social work is carried out incompetently. The situation on a labor market dictates the necessity of involving into the system of social protection the workers, who often, for whatever reasons, are not experts in social work.

Despite of the situation described above (of the educational level), some wide practical activities on maintenance of the social help and support to population, families and children experiencing difficulties are carried out. And, at present, the experience of employed experts should become the key element to be considered when the social work problems are discussed; this will define further creation of the base for preparation of future professional staff.

As it is seen from the interrogation, the employed social workers are coming from various professional backgrounds, often are not connected to primary activity. For this reason it is necessary to recognize that, unfortunately, not everyone, who occupies the position of experts on social work, can successfully carry out his/her functional duties and is far from being a professional.

We were interested in the following question – how many of social workers really upgraded their qualification. And although our preliminary studies showed that improvement of professional skill is not carried out yet, nevertheless, it was interesting to find out in what way they fill the insufficiency in their knowledge. As answers of respondents showed, trainings of social workers on a design basis was undertaken mostly by nongovernmental and international organizations. It was stated by:

Trainings were conducted by such organizations as: UNDP, UNICEF, UNESCO, “Every Child”, “Save the Children” (Denmark), Association of family children's houses “Kalima”, public funds “Karmel”, “My family”, “Education for social development”, nongovernmental organizations “Elnaz”, “Shoola”, etc.

Thus, the development of social workers’ potential through trainings in the system of raising the level of professional skill in public sector is not actually implemented. At the same time, the given gap is filled with the help of international and nongovernmental organizations within the framework of training projects.

In regard to professional activity of social worker, we tried to find out whether they face problems and difficulties in the daily work. As it was found, difficulties and problems experience:

According to the received answers, we wanted to find out – which difficulties and problems in work they actually experience. So, 84,6 % of social workers of Chui oblast noted the insufficient knowledge in economic, psychological and legal issues; in conducting office-work on trusteeship and guardianship; in work with families facing problems; in work with difficult teenagers; in absence of additional literature on social work, regulatory documents, evident materials, techniques; their low salary. And 15, 4 % of respondents specified too much employees at certain place who are not connected to primary activity.

In Talas oblast, 54,8 % of respondents experienced difficulties in work with problematic families, with children and teenagers; they emphasized shortage of professional skills on basic directions of social work; they specified the absence of skills to work with families where there are drug-addicts and alcoholics, also difficulties related to transport to remote villages; 26,0 % – specified the low salary; 19,2 % –  noted high loading on the main work.

In Issykkul oblast - 66,4 % of the interviewed noted the absence of new techniques and technologies on social work; the lack of available transport to go to remote villages; 22,1 % - specified low wages; 11,5 % - presence of an extraneous work, which is not connected with the main activity.

It is clear from these answers that the greatest difficulties are related to professional work, insufficient level of competence in work with families and children, and also insufficient knowledge and skills in social work, that basically is reflected in a quality of services accomplished by them.

Not of less importance were the problems related to low wages and congestion by work, and not with primary activity. It allows us to assume that the status and prestige of social workers in these regions are rather low.

Social workers understand the necessity of improvement of professional skills; that was reflected in answers to the following question: “What do you think, whether your knowledge and skills suffice for the work with families and children who are in difficult life situation?”

The answers show that they experience insufficiency: in Chui oblast 80,8 % of social workers confirmed that, in Talas oblast – 65,8 %, in Issykkul oblast – 75,2 %. Certainly, the given area of work demands professional knowledge and skills, which many of them do not really posses.

Social workers realize the necessity of filling the gaps, and gaining knowledge and skills in the new developments of the discipline. 80,8 % of respondents from Chui  oblast, 65,8 % – from Talas oblast, and 75,2 % - from Issykkul oblast answered positively to this question..

We have grouped the following directions for social workers who need training:

The allocated areas of requirements in trainings were recommended to the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection for the courses’ organization on raising the level of qualification of working social workers.

During a research on these problems, we have realized that actual presence of social workers is not enough to solve the basic problems of children and youth in modern conditions. Therefore, a problem of preparation of one more category of the staff – social teachers, becomes more relevant. Studying of the experience of countries such as Germany, Switzerland, France, Russia, etc. has shown that opening a new Institute for social teachers can be a step forward in this direction.

This idea has been realized in one of the areas of Chui oblast – Alamudun, where practice has considerably outstripped the theory, responding to challenges of the time. Therefore, we would like to look at the details of this experiment, which has been conducted together with the Kyrgyz Academy of education and a professional training on social pedagogics.

In 2004, in Alamudun region of Chui oblast, the analysis of position of school age children was conducted. It shows that 44 teenagers are registered with minor misconducts, and 154 with same problems at school. 150 children-orphans have been revealed out of 274 families living below the poverty line. Besides that, the families of refugees and internal migrants, who also require the help in solving the socio-pedagogical problems live on territory of this region. Available methods of work with these children did not show desirable results, although there was a group of social workers in this region – school teachers, and also educational establishments, and vocational training.

The search in solving problems of children and their families in modern conditions have led to an idea of introducing a new group of social teachers at schools of the region. For a basis of the introduction of a new staff position for a social teacher, the following recommendations were used – the “Concept of youngsters’ education in the Kyrgyz Republic”, authorized on March, 25, 2002, where (in “Personnel selection” section) it was recommended to include a number of positions (in the staff list of general educational establishments), among which is also the social teacher (with the proper financing by local government institutions). As a result, on September, 24, 2004, Alamudun regional Kenesh (administration) joint with the regional state administration adopted a Decision on introduction of the social teacher position in the staff list of 32 schools. Thus, for the first time in our republic the first social teachers have appeared, about which we wrote in an article – “At sources of a new profession – the social teacher”, on pages of the “Kut bilim” newspaper (3).

We have conducted interviews among 32 social teachers of Alamudun region to reveal their needs in trainings and developing of their professional skills. The questionnaire was the same as the one that was used for social workers.

We were interested in a question about difficulties and problems that social teachers face in the role which is new to them. The results have shown that:

We tried to find out about categories of families, which social teachers have to work with. Answers of respondents allowed us to allocate the following categories of families:

Apparently, children live in families, which have different problems and difficulties; however, the most are families with low income (93,7 %), which again confirms that problems of poverty determine the life for family and, naturally, affect children.

To the question – “Would social teachers like to take some new courses and training”, all social teachers (100 %) have answered affirmatively.

We were interested whether “social teachers participated in seminars and trainings on social problems of the childhood and family?”. Answers were the following: 90,6 % have answered that "they were not present", the others of 9,4 % of teachers have answered affirmatively, however, nobody could answer which training they passed in particular.

As results of the research showed, social teachers desperately needed a technique for working with different categories of children and families, for drawing the attention of the public to social problems of children, etc.

Besides that, they expressed the lack of knowledge in the field of social pedagogics, psychology, legal knowledge, skills to work with social partners, to make social projects, etc. We have stated in details the results of the research in a book “Professional training on social work in Kyrgyzstan” (1).

During the research, several questions were asked – how activity of the social teacher differs from the social worker’s?, whether there is duplication? Therefore, we would like to state our point of view regarding these questions. We started with the understanding that the social teacher is an expert, studying and organizing social space (not only in educational establishment, but also outside it) and the processes of children’s and teenagers’ socialization in various societies. The social teacher has own specific field of activity, and as well the common field with other experts and services of a social sphere.

The common understanding - a social activity is an activity in reproduction of social subjectivity.

Distinctions are shown, first of all, in differentiation of the competence of social teachers and social workers:

At the same time, it is necessary to note that the given differentiations are conditional, because during the formation of social pedagogy as science and practice, along with differentiation, a simultaneous process of integration of various sciences and activity of those and other experts occur. As we do believe, in a foreseeable prospect, a profession of social teacher will become frequent (as, for example, a teacher or a medical worker), as it is necessary to prevent and treat social illnesses of every child at earlier age.

The results of the research allowed us to generate the curriculum of the increase of their qualification, in which the bases of social pedagogy, medical knowledge, psychology, studying of regulations have been included. With the help of “My family” public fund, students got skills for work with families.

The curriculum assumed that one of the major questions was to define the contents of a social teacher activity, which assumed help in integration of the child into a society, its development, upbringing, education and professional formation. It is necessary to emphasize, that a child usually cannot realize his or her own problems, to come and explain the problem; and, consequently, the social teacher frequently faces the necessity to reveal factors (negatively influencing a child in order to help him/her) independently.

Also, the activity of a social teacher is connected with diagnosis of various problems a child and his/her social environment can face. A teacher should be able to analyze a social situation of a child development and to ask for the help of experts (of psychologists, sociologists, social workers, etc.), which can skillfully make a diagnosis. Depending on it, and proceeding from the overall aims of education and development of a child, a social teacher should be able to predict conditions providing a child’s optimum development, to choose methods and means that will lead to planned results.

We assumed that is quite possible that many issues (such as improvement of health, financial position, etc.) cannot be solved only by a social teacher. In this case, s/he should be able to work in coordination with different experts (teacher, psychologist, medical worker, expert on social work, lawyer, etc.), and also with departments and administrative bodies (education, public health services, social protection, etc.) for solving of complex problems of a child.

One of major directions of activity of a social teacher is the right to protect a child, proclaimed by the Convention on the rights of a child – the right on healthy development, on education and free expression of own views, on protection against any kind of discrimination.

The activity of a social teacher should be focused on creation of psychological conditions of safety for a child, with the help of social, legal, psychological mechanisms of the prevention and overcoming negative phenomena in a family, educational establishment, and community.

The important direction in the activity of a social teacher, who works directly with the child, is participation in development and implementation of social projects and programs, private initiatives, the use of public organizations existing within the framework of additional education activity and assisting full-fledged development of a child.

We came to the conclusion that if a social teacher possesses an emotional and valuable attitude, then s/he has some experience in pedagogical activity. And to substantiate the available experience, s/he gained appropriate knowledge on social pedagogy. Then the course preparation should be organized in the way that it can provide informal substantial interaction with colleagues during trainings, which leads to a creation of groups of participants (understanding and supporting each other in this activity).

The given approach allowed us to generate the following scheme of such interaction: it is a statement of a problem situation and its comprehension. Then target individual and group self-determination –> search and design substantial work in a group –> intergroup interaction –> and, finally, the reflection of results.

As the results of organizing such a course training showed, social teachers received personal increments in the profession:

That improvement of professional skill level showed that it is necessary for social pedagogy experts’ development to get more profound professional skills. Therefore, a decision was accepted (by Kyrgyz Academy of education), to start retraining of personnel on the basis of high and special secondary education on an additional speciality of “Social pedagogy”.

For that purpose the big work on the creation of Requirements (of the state educational standard) on an additional speciality of “Social pedagogy” (for an establishment of a minimum of contents and a level of professional retraining) was carried out. Requirements were designed for professional retraining in the field of social pedagogics of educational establishments’ working teachers.

Requirements also took into account the fact that a social teacher can work in different types and kinds of educational establishments (kindergartens, schools, boarding schools, children's homes, professional establishments, colleges, children's shelters, various centers, establishments of additional education, and etc.).

Spheres of professional work of persons, who have mastered the program, are educational and pedagogical organizations. Professional retraining under the given program gives an opportunity of occupation the post of a social teacher. The prepared documents (Requirements, curriculum, syllabus) have legally laid fundamentals of a new profession of a social teacher and have allowed to the expert to receive the license of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Kyrgyz Republic for educational activity.

The basis of the curriculum contents development on a speciality of “Social pedagogy” consist of personally-focused and integrative approaches, allowing the use of them at the organizing the process of a social teacher’s professional consciousness formation and development.

In the system of social teachers’ retraining we defined integration as:

In the integrated curricula, the structure and the contents of subjects and themes meet a uniform level of higher education that is necessary for performance of society’s social order.

The curriculum is constructed in such way that it meets the requirements of stability and dynamism, continuity and development, scientific and practical realization, representing the contents of vocational training as specialized complete system.

It is necessary to pay attention to one feature of integration of the curriculum for broad specialists’ preparation: they have two parts – invariant and variant. In the first part of the program the common laws of social teacher professionalism sphere that promotes breadth of general profession preparations and elaboration of transition ability to go from one sort of activity to another (according to varying conditions in an educational institution) are considered. The other part of the program is focused on mastering by knowledge, skills, and habits, corresponding to the major specialization.

The creation (in structure of the curriculum) of invariant and variant parts took place, because the first participants of “Social pedagogy” specialty consisted of school teachers, workers from the centers for the protection of children, international and nongovernmental organizations, and workers of regional educational departments, supervising social problems of children. The invariant part of the curriculum concerned everyone, while the variant part allowed participants to listen to the topics in a block of discipline of specialization and also special courses of their choice.

The given program has been successfully realized, and the first graduates, having received qualification of a “social teacher” work in various educational establishments, projects, education control, and nongovernmental organizations. We have reported on results of the carried out experiment at the international scientific conference on “Protection of social interests of a person – the guarantor of a stable and safe society” (devoted to the 15-anniversary of the Russian State Social University), having made the report of a “Professional training on social pedagogics: from practice to a professional knowledge” (4).

The work that we conducted has shown that the increase of professional social teachers is necessary. That is why we continue to search for the ways of the effective organization of social teachers’ preparation: it is a process that is ongoing, with additions to the contents of the educational programs, assistance to significant professional problems solution, approbation of various forms of the organization of educational process, development and introduction of new technologies and modern models of socio-pedagogical activity.

A professional training on social pedagogy at the present stage should help to solve one of the major social problems – normalization of life activity of the new generation, promoting improvement of quality of their life and successful integration in society.



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M.T. Imankulova: The Experience of a professional Training in social Pedagogy in Kyrgyzstan - In: TRANS. Internet-Zeitschrift für Kulturwissenschaften. No. 17/2008. WWW:

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