by Adiya Nurmanova
The education program “Fundamentals of Chess” is introduced across primary schools in Kazakhstan for 6-9-year-old pupils (grade 1-4). The program is recommended by the Scientific and Methodological Council of the National Academy of Education named after I. Altynsarin. This is a subordinate organisation of the Ministry of Education. The educational program emphasises the development of 21st century skills through chess: working memory, critical and creative thinking, planning and emotional intelligence, and many other life skills.
Kazakhstan boasts with a strong chess tradition. Many of the world’s elite players live and play there, and the country has hosted several top tournaments including the World Championship in Astana in April 2023. An International Chess Education Conference was organised alongside the World Championship that highlighted the benefits of educational chess, paving the way for this initiative.
Practising the Pawn Game at a training seminar
From 21-25 August in Astana and Shymkent, training seminars on “Chess Teaching Methodology” were held for school teachers of the pilot primary schools. The pilot project involves 41 schools from 7 regions of the country: West Kazakhstan, Karaganda, Kyzylorda, Pavlodar regions, as well as the cities of Almaty, Astana and Shymkent. This year first graders will study chess once a week in all pilot schools.