Publication: Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 12

Yesterday in Astana, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev laid the foundation stone of the first in a planned network of American-Kazakh schools–a program financed by a special presidential fund. The first of these schools will open its doors by next September, followed by others in various regions of the country. Instruction will be in English and the staff will be American–with the idea of the students undertaking subsequent university education in the United States and other English-speaking countries. A special program designed to ensure computer literacy, if not fluency, will be applied here and at other schools as well. During yesterday’s ceremony, Nazarbaev reasserted his view that English has a bright future in Kazakhstan as a lingua franca of modernization (Russian agencies, January 18). That view implies that English would supersede Russian, the language of Soviet modernization. Nazarbaev’s daughter is a student in the United States. This, against the background of the school program, epitomizes a generational and cultural transition from Soviet and Russian-language to Western and English-language models at the level of Kazakhstan’s elite groups.

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