Kazakhstan experts on child well-being


ERI Virtual Round Table

Child Well-Being is the Key to the Country's Prosperity


The Child Well-Being is the Key to the Country's Prosperity Virtual Round Table was held on June 25, 2021, at 15:00.organized by Economic Research Institute JSC (ERI). The event is dedicated to the 30th anniversary of Kazakhstan's Independence and to the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the ERI foundation.



The discussion was attended by representatives of state bodies, NGOs of Kazakhstan, Kazakh and foreign experts.



The Economic Research Institute presented a draft Kazakhstan Child Well-Being Index methodology, which is being developed by ERI under the leadership of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Technical support for the draft is provided by the United Nations Children's Fund in Kazakhstan (UNICEF).



The Round Table was held in the online format on the Zoom platform. The event was broadcast in real time on the Youtube channel of the Economic Research Institute of Kazakhstan and on the Facebook channel @economic.research.kz.


Opening the event, Ruslan Sultanov, the Chairman of the Management Board of Economic Research Institute noted that ERI contributes to the economy sustainable development, being the Secretariat of the Coordinating Council on Sustainable Development Goals under the Government of Kazakhstan, the working body of the Sustainable Development Goals Monitoring Committee.


"Through its active participation in the Government’s strategic initiatives, the Institute has placed special emphasis on research aimed at improving the quality of life and well-being of the population. Thus, since last year, the Economic Research Institute has been working with the Government on a comprehensive analysis of the situation of children in Kazakhstan in the new realities, focusing on key aspects of well-being, including health assessment, education, monetary poverty and other indicators of well-being", Ruslan Sultanov said.


The the Round Table Moderator, Bauyrzhan Mukan, the Deputy Chairman of the ERI Board of Directors, noted that today in Kazakhstan 9 ministries and departments are involved in ensuring children’s rights, at the local level - 1,00.organizations of education, health care and social protection. The Committee for the Protection of Children's Rights of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan is designated as the coordinating and specialized agency for comprehensive measures to protect children's rights and ensure their well-being.


Welcoming the participants, the Chairman of the Committee for the Protection of Children’s Rights, Yessengazy Imangaliyev, stressed that the protection of the rights of 6 million 100,000 children was one of the main national policies.


"We have ratified 15 international instruments to achieve an international standard of living. The Convention on the Rights of the Child was the first to be ratified in 1994. The national legislative framework for the legal protection of children has been formed in the Republic of Kazakhstan: 14 laws, more than 200 government decrees, more than 700 orders of state bodies have been adopted," Yessengazy Imangaliyev added.

According to him, together with the Committee for the Protection of Children's Rights — more than 400 thousand teachers, four thousand counselors, eight thousand teachers-psychologists, more than two thousand school police inspectors, 140 thousand members of Boards of Trustees and Parent Committees are involved.


Mr. Arthur van Diesen, the representative of the United Nations Children’s Fund in Kazakhstan, welcoming the participants to the Round Table, noted that the development of the Kazakhstan Child Well-Being Index showed that the state pays special attention to ensuring the rights of children, and that the Index is a practical instrument for measuring the situation and child well-being in a country.

 "UNICEF provides technical support for the Index draft methodology by providing instruments for the development of Index-2022", Arthur van Diesen said



The impact of the quality of life of children on the social and economic sustainability of the country was discussed at the Child Well-Being is the Key to the Country's Prosperity Round Table Plenary, where Elvira Azimova, Gwyther Rees and Bauyrzhan Mukan spoke.


Elvira Azimova, Human-Rights Ombudsman of the Republic of Kazakhstan, spoke about the protection and enforcement of children's rights in Kazakhstan.


According to her, the main activity on the protection of children's rights within the office, together with the NGO sector, is aimed at:

·      children in conflict with the law;

·      children victims of bullying and cyberbullying;

·      children victims of domestic violence.


The Human-Rights Ombudsman of the Republic of Kazakhstan mentioned the ongoing work on the development of the Child Happiness Index in Kazakhstan.


"The Child Well-Being Index is based on national indicators. This 

is also the case for UNICEF: each country produces its own national indicators for the Index and adapts them to reality. UNICEF offers only a model, a module, and further development of the methodology is the objective of the state itself. We should be aware that work in this area must be based on the principle of human rights, that is, on the best interests of the child. Further, it is important to take into account the analysis of real needs in the country, international experience, national situation and conditions, national planning budget ", Elvira Azimova said .


            Bauyrzhan Mukan, Candidate of Economic Sciences, the Deputy Chairman of the ERI Board, spoke about the development of a draft methodology for the Kazakhstan Child Happiness Index by experts of Economic Research Institute JSC.

The speaker reported that the methodology was tailored to national peculiarities and was based on statistics and survey among children and their parents.

"The proposed areas for assessing child well-being in Kazakhstan are as follows: "Child", "Home and family", "Society and the environment", "State". The draft methodology includes four domains, 12 components, 58 indicators," Bauyrzhan Mukan said.

The "Child" domain takes into account such components as mental and physical health according to nine indicators.

The "Home and family" domain includes three components: family, household resources, employer; and 12 indicators.

The "Society and the environment" domain covers 14 indicators for two components: education and socialization.

The "State" domain combines all the previous domains and takes into account the economy, social policy, infrastructure, ecology, and child safety. The domain consists of five components and 23 indicators.

In general, the Index methodology includes 38 statistical and 22 survey indicators. The calculation is made by the arithmetic mean of total indicators," Bauyrzhan Mukan summed up.

The speaker noted that the draft developers have carried out a large-scale work to consult on the draft Kazakhstan Child Happiness Index.

    "Two rounds of discussions were held, with the participation of thousands of experts, representatives of NGOs, civil society, parents and teachers. More than 18 thousand people from all over Kazakhstan took part in the voting on the proposed indicators. We tried to take into account all constructive and appropriate comments and suggestions on the indicators in the further development of the survey indicators, " - Bauyrzhan Mukan stressed.


In the second panel session of the Round table "Children's Well-Being is the Key to the Country's Prosperity", Kazakhstani experts in the field of child psychology, security, bullying and cyberbullying will talk about the current state and progress in childhood issues:



                 Zhanat Amanova, clinical psychologist of the Department of Student Welfare of Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools AEO , spoke about the impact of digital technologies on the brains of children and adolescents.


                 According to her words, the use of digital devices can hinder the strengthening and deepening of children's attachment and their psychological maturation. Too much information flows turn on the protective mechanism of the brain, which prevents its development. The game element is important for the development of brain connections. Digital addiction also leads to the fact that the connection between parents and children is weakened.

"A recent research analyzed the results of brain scans of children from 3 to 5 years old, which showed that the use of digital devices by children without the participation of parents prevents the formation of a "white matter" in the brain of children responsible for the development of language, cognitive skills, attention," the speaker noted.


                 The psychologist stressed that the child must be mature enough (ideas have been formed, questions and a cognition have appeared, communication has been built) to use digital technologies.



Dinara Kussain, Child Safety and Family Development Expert, Master of Family and Human Developmentspoke about the main components of children's well-being.


"Numerous researches in the field of child well-being present that the childhood period, how well and safely it proceeds, subsequently affects a person's entire life, including his success, level of happiness, health and life expectancy," the expert noted.


                 According to her, a British cohort research in 1946 (70 thousand subjects participated in the research throughout their lives) found that a person's happiness depends on three factors that begin in childhood:

1)  Optimism and positive thinking. Optimistic parents, as a rule, grow up happier and more successful children.

2)  Faith in work. The belief that you can achieve your goals with your own work and perseverance.

3)  Involvement of parents. Within the framework of engaged parenting, such a family tradition as reading plays a very important role. It plays a big role in the academic performance and success of children.


Dinara Kusain stressed that she is glad that Kazakhstan is developing an Index of children's happiness and includes a component of child safety in it.


"Child safety is a broad concept that includes various aspects of a child's physical, emotional, mental and sexual safety. First of all, the safety of the child is the responsibility of adults. The main problems of child safety in Kazakhstan are the problems of child injuries, domestic violence and bullying. Care for the safety of children should be carried out at all levels: from the family to the state," the expert noted.



                 Khalida Azhigulova, Doctor of Law, national coordinator of the educational project Street Law Kazakhstan on human rights and protection of children from violence, bullying and cyberbullying, told about the issues of bullying and cyberbullying.


                 The speaker noted that security is in the second stage of the Maslow's pyramid. Ensuring safety is very important for the well-being of children.


                 "The negative impact of bullying on schoolchildren: low academic performance, teenage suicides, radicalization of victims of bullying, the transition of bullying from school to other public relations," Khalida Azhigulova said.


                 The expert said that there are no official statistics of bullying and cyberbullying at schools in Kazakhstan. According to UNICEF statistics (2017), 66% of schoolchildren were bullied. According to the Ministry of National Economy of 2018, 72.9% of children from 6 to 15 years were subjected to cyberbullying.


                 Khalida Azhigulova voiced proposals to the legislation of Kazakhstan on the protection of children's rights, which include recommendations for conducting lessons on human rights, the prevention of bullying and cyberbullying from the first grade; the introduction of obligations for schools at the legislative level to introduce anti-bullying tools (policy, code and memo for parents and informing parents, teachers, children); mandatory seminars on the prevention of bullying and cyberbullying for parents and teachers; the introduction of indicators on bullying and cyberbullying in the Kazakhstan index of Children's Happiness.



            Concluding the event, the moderator Bauyrzhan Mukan thanked all the participants and said that every child is a part of the planet in which everything is interconnected.


"At one time, Akhmet Baitursynov said that if the people do not care about the child, there are no guarantees that the grown-up child will worry about the future of the country. Our task is to ensure the sustainable development and well-being of children, which will serve as a guarantee of the country's prosperity, " concluded the moderator of the Round Table on the topic "Well-being of children is the key to the country's prosperity".



Economic Research Institute (ERI) under the Ministry of National Economy of the Republic of Kazakhstan is a leading state institute studying the problems of integrated development of the economy of Kazakhstan. It was founded in 1961.


            ERI develops scientific support for the implementation of the country's economic strategy, analyzes the state of the economy and the forecast of its development for the future, promotes sustainable economic growth, improving the level and quality of life of the population.


            Kazakhstan Economic Research Institute took the sixth place among 58 analytical centers of the Central Asian region.


ERI contributes to the sustainable development of the economy, being the Secretariat of the Coordinating Council for Sustainable Development Goals under the Government of Kazakhstan, the working body of the Committee for Monitoring the Achievements of the Sustainable Development Goals.


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