If a nation does not know its history, if the country loses its history, then its citizens have nowhere to go.
Mirzhakyp Dulatuly

Establishment of the Bukey Provincial Department of National Education (based on archival materials)

At the pre-revolution period there were few general education schools in Kazakh auls (villages) of Astrakhan region.

Sarmurzina N. N., Candidate of Historical Sciences


At the pre-revolution period there were few general education schools in Kazakh auls (villages) of Astrakhan region. Some villages had mektebs (elementary schools); however, the Kazakhs do not have accurate figures on the number of such institutions. Kazakh people craved for studying but very few schools existed. Those who lived in the Bukey steppe requested for construction of the Russian-Kyrgyz (Kazakh) school; however, the Inspector of National Schools of the Bukey Inner Kyrgyz Horde rejected the requests and responded in such manner: "Unfortunately, it’s impossible to satisfy the needs of Kyrgyz people for elementary education". As the result, 98% of the population was illiterate.


N. N. Sarmurzina

In 1917 the Soviet rule was proclaimed on the territory of the Bukey province. In a difficult situation established fighting alliances of the workers and peasants were aimed at the protection of gains of the Socialist revolution and the construction of new life. Various departments were established under the Bukey Province Executive Committee. The Bukey Department of National Education was among them. It was the local body of the National Commissariat of Education carried out all the events necessary for the full and complete development of national education in the province and guided the activity of all district departments of national education.

In 1920 the Province Department of National Education had School Section, Professional Bureau, Supply Section, out-of-school sections, children sections and general sections.

Each section had its functions. For example, the Section on Protection of Childhood managed work of children’s homes and day care centers. Three children’s homes were opened in Urda city, Dzhanibek village and the Second District.

Out-of-school Section worked on liquidation of illiteracy. The Extraordinary Commission on the liquidation of illiteracy among Russian and Kazakh people was established. The Commission was responsible for school inspection, preparation of lists of illiterate people, organization of information campaigns among those who didn’t study, providing textbooks, improvement of teachers’ skills, and so on. Extraordinary commissions worked in every district and province.

The structure and staff of extraordinary commissions were the following: chief, secretary of the first category, secretary of the second category, typist, clerk, head of economic section, stoker.

Organizational and instructor section: chief secretary, instructors — 4.

Informational and Statistical section: chief, secretary, correspondent, reporter, extra, tellers — 2, agent on commission.

Section of personnel training: chief, secretary, instructors — 2.

Editorial and Methodological Section: chief, editorial assistant, correspondent, consultant, agent on commission.

In 1920 more than 72 courses of liquidation of illiteracy were opened; in 1921-1922 their number increased up to 350. Both children and adults studied there. The Section of Arts started its work later than other sections of the Province Departments of National Education as there were no accommodations to produce performances, special actors, and musical instruments. Only in 1921 the Department managed to organize three amateur groups: Kyrhyz, Tatar and Russian. Performances produced by them had a riot among the local population. The gained fund was given to support malnourished children in the province [1].

The Section of Professional and Technical Education was slow because of absence of accommodation and professions. Agricultural courses which taught 31 people were opened in February 1921 in Urda city

Country boarding school as well as accounting and secretary courses were opened. Consequences of Imperial and Civil Wars, famine, epidemic and fought against banditry affected he development of school network. Thus, in 1920-1921 there were 240 schools; in 1922-1923 — 81 school; in 1923-1925 — 60 schools for the Kazakhs.

However, despite the difficulties, the Province Department of National Education actively worked on training of national personnel. 10-month courses on training of teachers which taught 150 people were opened in Urda city in 1920. The special attention was paid on education of women. Young women were sent to study. Afterwards they worked as pedagogues, engineers, leading party, economy workers. For example, Ozira Alenova, daughter of farmer, graduated Astrakhan Pedagogical Institute, Candidate of Pedagogical Sciences and worked at the Kazakh Pedagogical University named after Abay. Then she was the First Secretary of Balykshy Regional Committee of the Communist Party in the Guriev (Atyrau) region [2].

In 1921 out-of-school section was included into the Province Political Educational Council. District Province Political Educational Councils (Kalmyk, Torizin, Talov, KamyshSamar, Naryn). The Province Political Educational Council was under the auspices of the Province Department of National Education.

The initial staff of the Province Political Educational Council is unknown. In March 1922 the staff of Province Political Educational Council decreased by 5 people while in districts — by 3 people.

In 1923 the Pedagogical College was opened on the basis of teacher seminary of the Province Department of National Education. The staff included 19 people (chief, 12 teachers, head of subsidiary offices, head of library, manager of a household, stoker, charwoman, guard). The College trained teachers for Russian and Kazakh schools. Several Commissions on the protection of life of minor children, instructor schools and other institutions worked under the Province Department of National Education. Public associations helped in their work. In 1925 the province faced difficult financial situation therefore the need to include the Bukey province into Ural province arose. In his letter from 2 April 1925 the Chief of the Province Department of National Education wrote that due to the joining of the Bukey province to Ural province the Bukey Province Department of National Education ceased to exist and was reorganized into district department under general department of District Executive Committee: chief, travelling inspector, secretary and accountant.

In 1924-1925 22 Kazaks and 5 Russian schools attended by more than 1200 pupils worked in the Bukey province. In Ganyushkino (district center) school-commune for poor families and orphans was opened [3]. Unfortunately, the qualitative characteristics were not competitive with quantitative. Improvement of educational work of school faced several obstacles such as lack of appropriate buildings and equipment in villages; pupils had to sit on the floor. The literacy level was low. Kazakh school had few textbooks in native language and works of fiction. Inspectors were not sufficiently trained but still had the responsibility to help low-skill teachers.


1. State Archive of West Kazakhstan Region, Fund: 310, Inventory: 1, Case: 29, Page: 29
2. Astrakhan State Regional Archive, Fund: 1351, Inventory: 2, Depository 30, 21 pages
3. State Archive of West Kazakhstan Region, Fund: 310, Inventory: 1, Case: 29, Page: 29