Document Type



Master of Arts


Comparative and International Education

First Adviser

Silova, Iveta


Since the independence of Kazakhstan in 1991, schools have undergone major changes in terms of curriculum content and teaching/learning process, reflecting the movement from Soviet educational ideals towards Western, democracy-oriented ones. In this context, it is important to study the changes in school textbooks on the topic of nationalism, particularly early literacy textbooks in primary schools. Building on previous research of my advisor, Professor Iveta Silova and former students in Comparative and International Education program, Michael Mead and Garine Palandijan, I analyzed texts and illustrations in early literacy textbooks used in Kazakh and Russian speaking schools on the topic of "building" a citizen of the newly independent nation-state. Using critical discourses analysis, texts and textbook illustrations were examined, revealing how school textbooks contribute to the construction of Kazakh national identity through a particular conception of (national) childhood, homeland, and symbols. Using convenience sampling, a total of 15 primers published in independent Kazakhstan were collected and analyzed. The findings of the thesis reveal that early literacy textbooks in Kazakhstan - both in Kazakh and Russian speaking schools - are increasingly Kazakhified and focus primarily on Kazakh ethnicity.