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Kazakhstan to switch from Cyricillic to Latin

 article about Kazakhstan switches from cyrillic to latin
Kazakhstan, the country located in central Asia, accounced on Tuesday that they will be changing from Cyrillic script to the Latin-based alphabet. The government as well as the president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, has already signed off on the new alphabet, so now it's just a matter of time. They aim to fully complete the transition by 2025.

The decision is facing vocal criticism from the population. Ethnic Kazakhs make up around two thirds of the population while ethnic Russians around 20%. However, due to long Soviet rule Russian is the language spoken by almost everyone in the Kazakhstan. According to 2016 census 94% of the people in the country speak Russian while Kazakh is spoken by 74% of the people.

The move from Cyrillic to Latin is estimated to cost around 218 billion tenge (or $664m). Most of that money (90%) will be spent on various education programs, publication of text books in the new Latin script and so on. Translation of teaching kits and textbooks will begin this year. Teaching pre-school and first grade students the new alphabet will start in 2020.

What this undertaking will actually cost is anyone's guess.

"If this reform is not properly implemented, the risks are high that highly qualified people from the Russian-speaking majority, which includes also ethnic Kazakhs, may want to consider emigration,"Eldar Madumarov, KIMEP University professor, said.

Kazakhstan is not the first country to switch from Cyrillic to Latin. However, other countries did that decades ago. After collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 Azerbaijan started the transition, and in 1993 Turkmenistan.


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