Moray House School of Education and Sport

Maiya Temirbayeva, MSc Inclusive Education 2017

'I was lucky to study within an international group of students, who also made the programme special by making their own contribution to the issues of Inclusive & Special Education, brought from their own experience in different parts of the world.'

Maiya Temirbayeva
Maiya Temirbayeva

Why did you choose to study at the University of Edinburgh?

I chose to study at the University of Edinburgh for several reasons. 

Firstly, I did my Academic English Year Round Course at the University of Edinburgh's English Language Education (formerly ELTC) in the 2016-2017 academic year, which I found very helpful for my further Master’s Degree.

Secondly, during my studies at English Language Education, the city of Edinburgh and the University of Edinburgh made a significant impact on my personal and academic growth. Apart from learning English and preparing for exams, I’ve tried to take advantage of various opportunities, provided by the University, such as: taking part in the University’s Mental Health Society events, taking free French lessons and short trips and enjoying my English classes with classmates from different parts of the world. So, after graduating from my 6-month Academic English course, I felt more comfortable not only with my language skills, but also, was happy to be a part of the rich academic community at Edinburgh, in which every student mattered.

Thirdly, and perhaps, most importantly, I chose to study at the University of Edinburgh because of its world-leading staff and significant experience in the field of Education, and in particular, in Inclusive Education.  Furthermore, I was lucky to meet my future Programme Director prior to beginning my Master’s degree, who gave me a brief introduction to the Programme.

Why did you choose to study this degree?

Prior to my decision to do my Master’s degree, I already had some experience with issues of Inclusive & Special Education. As a civil servant, I had asked myself in what way could the Republic of Kazakhstan's policy on Inclusive Education be developed. So, I’ve started to examine the content of the Programme, which was well described on its website. Although I had a choice of Universities to do my Master, provided by the Kazakhstani Government for recipients of the 'Bolashak' international programme, I chose the MSc Inclusive Education for its distinctive approach for equal education for all students, not only 'most and some' (Florian, 2015), having particular types of needs (e.g., students with special/additional support educational needs).

What did you enjoy most about the programme?

I enjoyed the opportunities to combine theory with practice, which were well provided for us by our Programme Director. In particular, we were given the opportunity to do some work at school placements, which were helpful for us to apply the theoretical knowledge into practice. In addition, I was lucky to study within an international group of students, who also made the programme special by making their own contribution to the issues of Inclusive & Special Education, brought from their own experience in different parts of the world. Different forms of students’ work, such as presentations, discussions, participation at international conferences and guest lectures were also exciting.

The issues of equality, inclusion, Education for all, teacher education for inclusive education, and international child protection were raised not only during group discussions, presentations, guest lectures, seminars, but also were enriched by the international conferences, voluntary placements at local schools, where we had a chance to experience how we, as students, practitioners, teachers and policymakers, could implement our research skills in Inclusive & Special Education into practice and make changes in lives of all children, not only for some.

What specific skills did you develop?

I think the most helpful skills I’ve developed are: independent learning skills, time-management skills, critical thinking, reading & writing skills, reflection on practice, and communication skills.

I’ve extended my expertise on the issues of Inclusive & Special Education, which are enormously vital in my current work at the Department of Education in Kazakhstan.

What was the most useful thing you learned in your lectures, workshops and tutorials?

Teachers and professionals, working with different ranges of children across the world can make a huge difference in their lives if they do not judge them by ability, but instead, accept their individuality and take into account that everybody is different and therefore, it is the teachers’ (professionals’) job to educate and protect 'everybody' (Linklater, 2015), not just the 'most and some' (Florian, 2015).

Why would you recommend the programme to others?

I would recommend the programme to other students, because of the wide range of issues raised during the programme’s courses: equality, Education for all, different types of additional support needs, international child protection, violence, safe school environment, Scottish and international policy on Inclusive & Special Education, etc. The programme is well structured, the staff are very helpful and professional. School placements and guest lectures, the opportunity to take part in the conferences on various issues of Education are much of help. The international environment helps you to feel a part of the international student community as well as to make your own contribution not only to the University, but also to life in the city of Edinburgh.

What advice would you give to someone considering studying this programme at Edinburgh?

I would say it is important to plan your time effectively from the very beginning, bearing in mind to take care of yourself and take advantage of opportunities, provided by the University (e.g., involvement in school placements, the Institute of Academic Development workshops, the Edinburgh University Students’ Association, student counselling service’s events, labs, library resources, gym, mindfulness sessions, etc). Choose your own best place to study (for me it was the Main Library), depending on your own personality and prior study experience. Try to read the main literature from the Reading List as early as possible, preferably before the Programme starts.

What is your current role or occupation?

My current occupation is the main specialist at the department of pre-school and general secondary education, Department of Education in Akmola region, Republic of Kazakhstan. I’m in charge of the coordination of special organisations of Education, such as psychological-medical-pedagogical consultations, cabinets of psychological-pedagogical correction, special schools for children with special educational needs; coordination of the development of Inclusive Education in Akmola region.

I think the degree has contributed to my career as I try to utilise my research skills and knowledge not only in my work at the Department of Education but also in making a contribution to the Republic of Kazakhstan's research and practice in Inclusive & Special Education.

How did your experience at Edinburgh help you get where you are today?

Before coming to Edinburgh, I had worked in the same position where I am today, but I feel more confident in myself after earning the MSc Inclusive Education, both personally and professionally. For instance, I’ve participated at 2 international conferences on Inclusive & Special Education and gave lectures on Inclusive Education for students at the local University. I’m the current member of the Coordinating Council of Inclusive Education in Akmola Region, and in 2017 I contributed to the development of the Republican Framework of monitoring of Inclusive Education at the National Academy of Education, and took part at the initiatives of the Ministry of Education in improvement of the legal framework on Inclusive & Special Education

What advice would you have for someone looking to work in your industry?

I think the issues raised by the field of Inclusive Education are incredibly meaningful to modern society, as the equal and qualified right to education is one of the main UNESCO's 17 sustainable development goals in transforming the world.

Related Links

English Language Education