Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Language, Education and Innovation 2016

Comparative Analysis of Theory and Practice behind Implementation of Multiligualism and Multilingual Education in the Netherlands and Kazakhstan

Marzhan Thomas

Independent Scholar, United Kingdom


The paper presents comparative analysis of implementation of bilingual/multilingual education in the Netherlands and Kazakhstan. The study explores the origin of multilingualism in Europe and USA, role of multilingualism for socio-economic development, relevant state, regional and international practices in bilingual/multilingual education, growth in English language use, trilingualism and main findings from research trips. Main differences and similarities between the two case study countries in implementation of bilingual/multilingual tuition are identified. The term “polycultural” education is more common than "multicultural" in Russia and Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan is implementing multilingual education through integration to the world scientific and educational space. The importance of learning three languages – Kazakh, Russian and English – was emphasised on the state level. There are contextual differences between Dutch and Kazakhstani educational systems. In Kazakhstan, the state policy is to teach and learn three languages simultaneously and equally, while in the Netherlands, it is mostly bilingualism, which starts at primary and secondary education level, rather than at higher education level. Research trips to universities and secondary schools in the Netherlands were funded by the 2014 Bolashak fellowship. Research interviews with the major stakeholders and discussions with administration and faculty staff at Wageningen University, the Hague University of Applied Sciences and Dalton den Haag School revealed that bilingual tuition was mainly conducted at graduate studies level, while there were special multilingual groups at the undergraduate level. The driving force was to attract foreign students and develop advanced technologies. The Dutch higher education is inclined to technologies transfer by means of English language. The proportion and percentage of courses taught in Dutch and English vary in different universities.


multilingualism, multilingual education, Kazakhstan, Netherlands, schools, universities, economy, state, English, policies, laws, regulations

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