Legal Education of the Population

The effectiveness of governmental rights protection mechanisms directly depends on the level of public legal awareness and legal education of the population of the country.

The objective of legal education is to educate a free personality who is conscious of his/her legal interests and is able to require the firm political and legal guarantee of their realization. Only in this case is it possible to achieve a sustainable receptiveness of the law-enforcement system of the country to public needs, the responsiveness and rationality of all its levels. The active position of the individual is manifested not so much during periods of election campaigns as in everyday life when in various situations an individual faces a choice of behavior and methods of solution of problems that have arisen.

In conditions of a low legal awareness, a favorable environment for corruption violations and crimes is created.

Activity in the sphere of formation of higher legal awareness should take place in two directions, oriented toward the improvement of the quality of education of professional lawyers and the legal education of employees of governmental agencies, and the legal education of the population.

It is necessary to admit that the general increase of the number of institutions and faculties of law, which often do not have adequate teaching staff and relevant training of logistics specialists, has resulted in the oversaturation of the market of legal services with unqualified specialists and a general worsening of quality of legal service of the population.

An important form of implementation of legal policy in the field of human rights is the organization of the education of lawyers who will staff new formations for the protection of human rights and freedoms of citizens. This course is promising, since it aims at the personal capacity of legal policy in the aspect of its formation.
The given course for the improvement of the effectiveness of judicial and law-enforcement activities is the basis of a Concept of Reformation of Higher Legal Education in the country, which should be approved by a Decree of the President of RK.

Governmental expenditures in the sphere of legal education should be sufficient and reasonable from the point of view of the government’s interests and for the formation of civil society and the protection of the rights and freedoms of individuals. In other words, the structure for the education of lawyers should be scientifically based, justifiable, and predictable.

Special attention should be given to the quality of education of lawyers in institutes of higher education and colleges, and to the problems of licensing and certification of educational institutions, the establishment of courses for professional development, and the probation of young lawyers. It is advisable to introduce a compulsory probation of individuals who have obtained an advocacy license.

Today, many problems of the government and society in the legal sphere to a large extent can be explained by the lack of purposeful training of lawyers for the resolution of real-life problems.

It is extremely important to motivate institutions of higher education to train lawyers in particular specialties. Along with the objective of employment in law-enforcement agencies, it is also necessary to emphasize the education of legal specialists for advocacy, legal offices of governmental and commercial structures, banks, etc.
For instance, while there is general growth the number of lawyers being educated, there is no specialized training of military lawyers or prosecutors. For such legal specializations, there are no opportunities for continuous education, i.e. initial training, retraining, and professional development.

In an effort to raise the level of legal awareness, to improve the forms and methods of legal explanatory work, and to enhance the efficiency of legal education, “The Program for Legal Explanatory Work, Increase of Legal Awareness, Legal Education, and Training of Citizens for the years 2009-2011” was developed and approved by the Enactment of the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan of November 29, 2008, No. 1116.

This program provides for the development of suggestions regarding amendments and additions to legislation regulating issues of legal explanatory work of governmental agencies and officials, development and implementation of rules for the procedure for legal education of the population, development and implementation of compulsory minimal legal education of certain categories of people, and other activities aimed at the cultivation of respect for human rights.

With the purpose of explanation of the legislation of the Republic of Kazakhstan, on November 27, 2008, the Cooperative Order of the Prosecutor General and the Ministry of Justice concerning interaction for the explanation of the legislation of the Republic of Kazakhstan was adopted.

In addition, briefings of mass media for explanation of current legislation and by-laws of the Republic of Kazakhstan are held. Thus, in 2008, briefings for explanation of the Law “On Amendments and Additions to Some Legislative Documents Concerning the State Registration of Legal Entities and Accounting Registration of Branches and Representative Offices” were held.

A survey conducted by experts of the Association of Sociologists of Kazakhstan in the framework of the project “Human Rights in Kazakhstan: The General Opinion” revealed that 52.6% of respondents out of 1,500 believed that in Kazakhstan there is no information on human rights and opportunities to protect them. Only one third of respondents (30.7%) are satisfied with the information content on human rights and opportunities of their protection, while 16.7% of respondents found it difficult to answer. The results obtained allow the conclusion that there is a need for legal education of the population and creation of affordable centers of legal information. The Digital Library for human rights may become one such affordable information center for human rights.

On September 27, 2006, in Astana, the Digital Library of the Human Rights Commission under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan was launched, which ensures free access to legal information for the population of Kazakhstan. Support of the Digital library on the territory of the country is entrusted to the National Academic Library of the Republic of Kazakhstan (NAL RK). The documents of the library are accessible through http://hrc.nabrk.kz in the Kazakh, Russian, French, and English languages.

The creation of the Digital Library is a part of the preparation of the National Human Rights Action Plan. It was created jointly with the UNDP in Kazakhstan, the UNESCO Cluster Office in Almaty, and the Human Rights Commission under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

It should be noted that the digital library of the Human Rights Commission is an innovative step by the Baltic countries, Eastern Europe, the CIS, and Central Asia towards the improvement of access to legal information and education in the field of human rights for everybody by means of open public services.
Important characteristics of the digital library are: many languages, usability, and volume (more than 1000 documents chosen on the basis of complaints of the population to the Human Rights Commission Secretariat with regard to violations of human rights).

The foremost target group is rural communities and the most vulnerable sections of the population – the disabled, pensioners, women, children, the poor, and those groups of the population that do not have the access to legal information. For this purpose, there is a “How to” section of the library which includes over 70 conceptual categories systematizing human rights knowledge. Each of the categories includes frequently asked questions.
The Digital Library can greatly increase the human rights awareness of the population and become an effective educational tool.

The open-source software Greenstone, developed by the University of Waikato, New Zealand, was provided to UNESCO http://www.greenstone.org.

There are two possible modes of access to the digital library:

– On the Internet – online,

– Offline – at a local computer or through a local computer network.

The Digital Library does not require professional skills in the field of information technologies and has built-in open-source mapping and development tools.

On a vast territory with a small population, information and communication technologies are the most effective way of dissemination of information.

The digital library is distributed in district, regional, and village libraries by means of the library network of the Ministry of Culture and Information by the National Academic Library of the Republic of Kazakhstan. It is also a center for free access to legal information, ensuring the updating and support of the digital library on its server.

By now, the Human Rights Digital Library of the Akimat and Maslikhat of Almaty has been successfully launched with the support of the Human Rights Commission, the UNDP, and the UNESCO Cluster Office in Almaty.
With the purpose of increasing the awareness of the population of their rights and duties as well as the level of legal awareness and education of the population, we recommend that the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Akimats of districts and the city of Astana to implement the following activities during the years 2009-2012:

  1. Develop and adopt the Concept of Reformation and Improvement of Higher Legal Education in Kazakhstan.
  2. Develop the schoolbook “Human Rights in Kazakhstan” in the state and Russian languages for secondary public schools, colleges, and institutes of higher education.
  3. Regularly highlight in mass media the essential issues concerning the protection of human rights, and publish booklets on human rights in case of detention, arrest, conclusion of agreements, entrance to institutes of higher education, employment, dismissal, etc.
  4. Regularly hold “round tables” with authorized governmental authorities and courses on the subject “Legal Education as an Obstacle to Corruption,” highlighted in mass media.
  5. Regularly hold seminars and training in the field of human rights for criminal prosecution employees as well as for other governmental agencies.
  6. Amend the Program “The Program for Expository Work, Increase of Legal Awareness, Legal Education and Training of Citizens for the year 2009-2011,” approved by the enactment of the Government of RK of November 29, 2008 No. 1116, to include measures aimed at the information and technical support of the function of the Digital Library of the Human Rights Commission.
  7. We recommend that the Ministry of Culture and Information assist in the establishment of data receiving centers of the Digital Library in all cities, regions, and rural localities by means of the library network of the country.
  8. We recommend that the Ministry of Justice jointly with the National Academic Library ensure the continuous updating of the Digital Library database, located on the web-site of the National Academic Library RK: http://hrc.nabrk.kz with legislation by thematical division or title, in the state and Russian languages.
  9. We recommend that the Ministry of Culture and Information jointly with the Human Rights Commission under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan continue the work on dissemination of the Digital Library of the Human Rights Commission under the President RK in all regions of the country.
  10. We recommend that the Akimats of districts and the city of Astana take necessary actions on creation and launching of a regional Digital Library in the following order: