Также как и вы, мои партнеры, оставаясь принципиально деятельностным практиком, я глубоко уверен в правоте слов Кирхгоффа, что «НЕТ НИЧЕГО ПРАКТИЧНЕЕ ХОРОШЕЙ ТЕОРИИ». Но хорошая теория появляется и побеждает только тогда, когда любознательный и внимательный практик увидит незаметные легкие проблески и услышит пока еще неслышимое другими в привычном, казалось бы, ходе вещей, и первым познает качественные изменения нового времени.
Поэтому постарайтесь увидеть в статьях коллег педагогов признаки нового времени, параметры произошедших или происходящих изменений, чтобы, поняв и признав их, начать развиваться самим и помочь совершенствоваться коллегам.
Качественное образование во все времена и у всех народов являлось основным признаком самоуважения и уважения к другому человеку.
Methodological manual essay "Employers' requirements and state education standards"
Chapter 1. Only the professional education of high quality will save the Economy of Russia
Nowadays we observe an economic crisis. Somebody in the West calls it a financial one. During almost a half of 2008 year our government tried to calm itself, believing that this crisis wouldn't concern Russia's Economy. But it did. It couldn't be otherwise, because all the Russian Economy is a sale of raw materials abroad. Everything what we produce now is not competitive already, except space technics. It means that for Russia the crisis is of a conceptual nature.
Analysts have already studied this problem in all its aspects and separated it into numerous constituent parts. In this difficult equation there are main and subsidiary items. To our mind one of the basic components of the equation of state economic competitiveness is education and professional competence of specialists and workers.
What have we got in this field? Let's start with some quantitative facts: in Russia for 10 000 people the amount of students is higher than in other countries. On the other hand the amount of foreign students in Russia is one of the lowest indices in Europe, not telling about the USA, Australia or China. If the first index shows a high motivation of young people, their parents and grown-ups to get a higher education, so that the second one indicates about the noncompliance of the system of the Russian professional education with the requirements of the World Economy.
Let's view in brief the question about the disbalance of personnel training in institutions of professional education. The requirements of economy determines the following correlation of training of personnel and specialists of vocational technical schools (VTS), specialized secondary schools (SSS) and higher education institutions (HEI): 60 – 25 – 15 (Suvorov V., 2008). But nowadays Russians have different consumer wants of getting a future profession: VTS - 5 % , SSS - 20 % and HEI - 75 % (Gazimov I., 2009).
History of modern Russia abounds in force majeures, which influenced our education. Education, as the principle part of our culture, turned to be quite conservative and not susceptible to a number of different noted and large-scale pilot projects of education reforms. There are quite a lot of reasons why it happened, but the main one is that the Russian government doesn't have a strategical vision and projection of development of our country in new socio-economic market conditions. And it means that our government lacks for a clearly planned, as in the USSR, order and forecast of training of specialists and workers for development of all sectors of the country's economy.
The collapse of the USSR in the early 1990s led to the breakdown of the whole industrial system, and as a result to the uselessness of specialists of industry and economy as a whole. And at that very moment the state struck our education for the first time, when for some reason the government decided that it made no sense for school-leavers to get a skill during 2-4 years in vocational technical or specialized secondary schools, because all large or medium state enterprises had departed from life; but it would be better for them to get a higher education, spending 5-6 years in lecture halls of institutes!
But the education system, existing in the USSR at that time, was unable to receive such a huge flow of students. In 1992 it was permitted to open in all regions new higher education institutions (HEI), including non-governmental ones, as well as branches and even representative offices of existing universities. And the process started. It was not difficult at that time to open an HEI; in fact licensing had exclusively a declarative procedure (I know it as a former governmental official of the Department of Education of the Chuvash Republic). The RF Ministry of Education and Science didn't have enough specialists to deal with such a big scope of work. That's why for a long time they were not interested in questions of material and academic staff provision of the education process of newly opened universities. Moreover on the governmental level for 10 000 people 175 students got a budgetary financing. Others were supposed to pay. Nobody thought about the quality of education. It was a hard time for the country; the state didn't have enough money for a budgetary financing, that's why in fact Higher Education had nothing to do, but to die or survive by itself at any cost.
And then universities began fighting for school-leavers or to be exact for their money. The thing is that now in 17 years after some market occurrences budgetary financing makes up 50 % of really necessary costs (Sadovnichy V., 2009). Besides the RF Ministry of Education and Science has determined the following scheme of financing of governmental universities in 2009: 75 000 roubles for each full-time student (from the interview of Miklushevsky V., Deputy Minister of Education). The salary of professors, docents and lecturers, which in 1970s – 1980s was the best and main motivation for students to get an education of high quality and to deal creatively with science, is not only ridiculous nowadays, but even dangerous, because it is a self-appraisal of the quality of governmental administration in Russia. This leads to corruption in Higher Education.
As any problem has two sides, so that the problem of corruption has another, more sufficient, to my mind, aspect. The fact that everyone can easily enter a university on a commercial base makes students and their parents believe that all problems, concerning exams and credits, can be also solved by means of money. So it results in the named corruption, which is supported not only by students but also by a number of lecturers.
All this nonsense about the absence of interconnection between the quality of education and a diploma of higher education appeared in the consciousness of our people not just for nothing. This heredity of the Soviet past, when people saw, that their occupied post wasn't connected with a received education and that a post and aggrandizement were determined only by good ties and belonging to C. P. S. U. (Communist Party of the Soviet Union), which was a dictatorship power. Do you think that anything has changed? No, it hasn't; just names of the country and the party.
There is no doubt that during 20 years the knowledge level and the knowledge quality of academic staff almost of all universities have descended. The amount of students in universities has increased three-fold, but the amount of Doctors and Candidates is the same as in the early 1990s. Moreover we shouldn't forget about such a phenomenon as “brain drain”, when every year about 800 scientists leave Russia. Underestimated scientists, inventors, best graduates and students, who used to be a proud of the county and the backbone of the science, have a lot of chances to get a permanent residence in the West and in the USA. And of course many of young and experienced specialists and scientists, interested in realization of their creative potential and ambitions, don't miss such an opportunity, given by foreign developed countries. And this is a reason why in the rating of world universities, made by international organisations, there are almost no Russian universities: the science has turned to take a back seat in the governmental interests.
And this was a second strike on the system of the Russian education, which influenced mostly schools. And this strike was made by our so called new HEIs. Super-availability of Higher Education ruined in fact the centuries-old system of school education with its classical algorithm of teaching. So that the opportunity of pupils to decide whether to enter a vocational school, a specialized school or a university, was crushed, because the state, not school-leavers, made a decision to enter a university. So that school-leavers turned to have practically no choice.
As the former principles of the quality estimation of school education lost their sense, so that most of parents, who don't worry about the quality of school education, are not concerned already about the questions of behaviour, attendance of lessons and marks of their children. All efforts of some teachers, who still worry about the education quality, are vain, as parents are sure, that in any case their children will be able to enter a university for paid training. Nowadays the consumer society has the following principle, mastered both by schools and parents: any school-leaver can enter an institute, at least for paid training. And now when for 10 years the amount of school-leavers has decreased two-fold, any school-leaver is welcomed even in a state institute. According to the results of the selection campaign of 2009 budgetary positions in a number of provincial state agricultural and pedagogical institutes turned to be closed not everywhere. And even the specially introduced Federal Centralized Testing can't be called a single-valued assessment of readiness of a school-leaver for continuing his education on a professional level. Moreover it is possible during the last school year to train a pupil for 3-4 exams in Centralized Testing form, as it was in the Soviet time.
Now let's talk about the education standard, first of all about the governmental standards of Higher and Secondary Professional Education or, to be more exact, about those requirements towards the minimum content, which is compulsory for all institutions of professional education. The personal practice and work experience in the system of Higher Education show that for professors and lecturers the standard dogma is unshakeable. The thing is that the RF Ministry of Education and Science, the founder, and now its legal successor, the Federal Service for Supervision of Education and Science, estimate the quality of work of an education institution mainly according to formal features or, to be more exact, according to how precisely and timely all requirements of the state education standards in the sphere of study and exploration (due to the Internet-based testing) of standard didactic compulsory disciplines are carried out.
Even the smallest digression of the standard or non-compliance with it at least in one discipline, discovered in the process of accreditation, can result in that an education institution won't receive a certificate of state accreditation, and it means that it won't be able to give diplomas of state standard to students. This will inevitably influence the contingent of students, consequently the financial stability and survival of an institution. That's why administrations and professors of HEIs and SSSs don't doubt the correctness of the standard and practically don't analyse its content.
Meanwhile, using the market language, the very graduates, as a product of the activity of a professional education institution, should be ordered by concrete consumers today, to be more exact by enterprises and organisations of any form of ownership. It means that for the fulfillment of the order of every concrete organisation the administration of a HEI or a SSS must make changes and peculiar additions in the education standard, so that the production (competence, knowledge, skills and practice of graduates) corresponds as much as possible to client's demands. Now you may have a question: Which of our universities and institutes regularly get and adequately take into account demands and interests of clients in the realization of the education process?
For this main market condition administrations of professional education institutions and the education system as a whole always had one answer: “A consumer can't formulate what they expect to see in future specialists!” It was so. It can be explained by means of different reasons. First of all to answer this question one should usually turn to the office of personnel management or to the head of an enterprise. But these people are of different professions and they can't talk about the competence of concrete specialists. All their efforts to get information from workers themselves haven't produced any results yet. Moreover to make a curriculum is not their business.
That's why the education process in our HEIs and SSSs continues strictly according to the standards, ratified 10 years ago. Who developed them and when? And what did developers think about, including in the standard these or those 50 disciplines, which in their turn include another list of concrete didactic units? And how do each didactic discipline and its constituents, didactic units, reflect the order, demands and interests of principle consumers and graduates of this specialty? And how do standard disciplines and didactic units agree with each other and with the main objective, that is to train a qualified specialist with good job opportunities? Unfortunately, we have more questions, than answers.
I emphasize once again the fact that there are a few people, as well as employers, who are interested in studying or solving of these questions. Do they agree with the existing situation? No, the don't! Without knowledge about the ideal structure and content of state education standards, according to which the education process is carried out, consumers declare that the level of necessary competences and practical skills of graduates is very low and not sufficient and that the education process is torn away from preparation of students for the real economic and industrial situation.
Now we observe a tendency of a global scale: all over the world cooperative universities are intensively opened under large holding companies, corporations and even separate enterprises. Does it mean that the existing Bologna conception of Higher Education doesn't correspond to the market demands?