Education experts see the election as a watershed moment for the nation’s future
ASTANA – As the campaign continues nationwide, leading scholars discuss the voter education and engagement needed to drive social change ahead of the November 20 presidential election.
“Election is the most effective tool of democracy,” said Ainur Karbozova, vice-president of the board of trustees of Narikbayev KAZGUU University, in an interview for this article. “It is an opportunity for people to make their political choice, to choose local governments, parliament and the head of state. Since last year, our people can choose the governors of their villages, which is indeed a significant change.
Karbozova noted that the tragic events of January, in particular, revealed some systematic problems in the country’s development, which were resolved by President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev’s comprehensive legal and economic reforms.
“The early presidential election is essential and, more importantly, will create a basis for shaping a new Parliament and a quality government so that our country is governed by law with zero tolerance for corruption,” she said. added.
Karbozova stressed that it was crucial to educate young people about voters, who are a driving force behind significant changes in Kazakhstan’s history. Young people aged 14 to 28 (3.7 million) make up more than 20% of the population.
“Therefore, the changes we expect in our country, especially after the January crisis, need the active engagement of young people by voting in elections and implementing all important reforms. The Kazakh government provides various economic incentives in housing policy, increases monthly allowances to universities and engages them in research and development, culture and sports. Young people see these efforts and share common values and strive to create and live in the country with equal opportunities and the rule of law,” she said.
Zhanna Kurmangaliyeva, vice-rector for science, marketing and internationalization of the Gumilyov National Eurasian University, said the election will reset the activities of Kazakhstan’s key political institutions.
“The election will help strengthen public participation in governance. A new political culture will be formed based on fair competition, designed to build a fair Kazakhstan,” Kurmangaliyeva said.
Kurmangaliyeva noted that young people have a chance to show their social solidarity and responsibility for the future of the country. “As citizens, young people demonstrate their commitment to electing people to power. They demonstrate respect for the state, state laws and symbols, participate in governance, and develop critical thinking and independent judgment. As a result, they are changing the world for the better,” she said.
Zhanibek Arynov, assistant professor at the Graduate School of Public Policy at Nazarbayev University, said that the upcoming elections are essential for the future of the country and that what counts is not the very fact of these elections but its result.
“The election is taking place in a political, socio-economic and geopolitical context different from all previous elections,” Arynov explained. “Public expectations of the results of this election are very high. The public expects visible political reforms in the country, visible improvements in the socio-economic situation of the country. As a result, there is some hope in a society that we will see a qualitatively different political and economic context in the country. I hope that these expectations will come true and that we will see more active political and economic reforms in the country after the elections.
In recent years, the active involvement of young people in political and societal processes can be observed in Kazakhstan. “I hope this is just the beginning and that we will see an increase in the number of active members of our society, especially from the younger generation. The election will help transform our society, increase the role of civil society and, therefore, transform state-society relations in Kazakhstan,” he added.