ASTANA — Last weekend 25 select teachers from all over Kazakhstan presented 20 science projects to share their pedagogical ideas and innovations at Science on Stage Qazaqstan, the 1st National Festival for STEM Teachers. Science on Stage is a Berlin-based European non-profit that unites more than 100,000 science teachers in 35 mostly European countries. The Chevron, Fund of the First President of Kazakhstan and National School of Physics and Math sponsored event took place in The Eye, designed by Sir Peter Foster and located on the Left Bank.
Although teachers had little time to prepare for the relatively recently announced festival, their projects on Sustainability, Low-cost Science Teaching, Primary Education and Robotics received high marks from international jury members coming from Turkey, Cyprus and USA. Specifically, five teachers from National School of Physics and Math (Astana), Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools (Shymkent and Astana) and Nurmakov School for Gifted Children (Karaganda) got an opportunity to represent their country in Portugal in 2019. Winners have until July next year to build on their projects and improve their English, since the main European event is held only in this increasingly important science and education lingua franca.
Following specialized workshops and presentations, teachers and international jury members went sightseeing. Unusually warm weather in Astana made their World Teacher’s Day even more special and unforgettable. When they returned for Award Ceremony, organizers presented their gifts and announced special prizes. According to Yerlan Uteulin, deputy CEO of National Schools of Physics and Math, organizers believe that the event will motivate more teachers to “engage in pedagogical innovations, share their ideas, and instil love for science in students”. Ainur Iskakova, a representative from Chevron, pointed out that Chevron is “deeply committed to developing STEM in Kazakhstan” and that the company “hopes to bring science teaching to qualitatively new level over the years”. Next biennial Science on Stage Qazaqstan Festival will take place in 2020.