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

Strive for historical objectivity

Main orientations in historical education are the education of civic consciousness and patriotism through objective analysis of events and facts.

Today, question about the prospects of development of historical science in general and the history departments of Kazakhstan in particular largely updated. Department of History of Kazakhstan at East Kazakhstan State University (EKSU) named after S.Amanzholov was opened in 1991.

Results of its operations for the past decades have been training of students by undergraduate and graduate programs, obtaining a license to open a doctorate in «History» and operation of dissertation council on thesis for the degree of candidate of historical sciences. In 1994, the University was a pioneer graduate major in «History» and now more than 150 graduates of the master’s school work in universities, ministries and various departments of our country, as well as in the leading universities of Russia, the Czech Republic and Turkey. Department of History of Kazakhstan involves on its area of the activity students and pupils in the region. For many years students and undergraduates involved in archaeological excavations, went to the museum and ethnographic practice and won scientific competition.

At the same time, there are issues in the some areas that appropriate for similar departments of other domestic universities. For example, after few years at the regional universities a number of staff can be significantly reduced due to the small number of seats allocated to doctoral PhD. Solution could be the creation of the International Council on the basis of the dissertation of a cooperation agreement between the universities within the academic mobility and double diploma education.

Talking about the content of the «History of Kazakhstan» discipline, at university’s course (year 1 of unhistorical specialty) is necessary to provide an in-depth study of archeology, ethnography, demography, economic history of Kazakhstan on the basis of modern research, including in foreign languages. In the fourth year all specialties would have been appropriate «Modern History of Kazakhstan» discipline, during which students studied the achievements of the country’s independence. Moreover, teaching methods at schools, colleges and universities should certainly vary in terms of content material to be analyzed.

It is necessary to raise the quality of modern textbooks, which is possible only in the presence of series of expert representatives from research institutes and trainers, archivists, museum employees, sociologists and philologists. It is impossible to conceal the fact that the existing imbalance in the state support of various branches of science where a clear preference in the allocation of research grants given to natural and technical sciences, may lead to downgrade the importance of humanitarian areas of knowledge in the minds of the masses.
Evaluating the condition of historical science, it is necessary to pay attention to few factors that influence on the development. The main issues can be the public distrust to the previous scheme and susceptibility to sensational «discoveries», the research for great ancestors far from the historical science personalities. The mass media began to form a genre of products, where the intertwined events of art show and documented facts. The transformation of history into an element of «media culture» should be prevented.

Modern historical science has been developing at new information space. Creation of verified history, examined by the reliable databases, is more important than just to write historical works. Strong alliance of history, sociology, computer science, philology, philosophy, psychology and other sciences is necessary. A major breakthrough in interdisciplinary studies, radical update of possible historical modeling and forecasting will be implemented. To name a few, including the introduction of the teaching of expert workshops on topical issues of national history, a program of systematic research on the problems of methodology, historiography and methodology of teaching the history of Kazakhstan, as well as increasing the number of specializations in «History» to meet modern standards. Meanwhile the main criterion for it is formation academic schools and their productivity, recognition by the world community. Unsystematic study of history, reduced hours, superficially written textbooks lead to nihilism and historical ignorance.

Strive for historical objectivity, good material and methods of processing it are the most important principles of the historian. Development of clear criteria is not only implied to the citation indexes, publication in the international journal with high impact factor, but also for evaluation of the effectiveness of research, teaching and learning history. In addition, it should be added that the staff of the department of Kazakhstan history of our university aims to perform an important mission of humanitarian center of education for science and culture in the east part of the country.

Gulzhan Ahmetova,
Associate Professor and Dean of the Faculty of History, International Relations and Law at East Kazakhstan State University (EKSU) named after S. Amanzholov.

translated by D.TAUKEBAYEVA

June 4, 2014