- Creation of conditions for fostering public institutions to manage educational establishments. The outspreading of such forms of public control as board of trustees and supervisory board would al low a greater control over the spending of budget and extra budg etary funds, which in turn would allow lowering investment risks in the sector;
- Securing a greater transparency of processes of financial and eco nomic control over educational institutions by designing mecha nisms and forms of public accounting with regard to performance of educational institutions of all the levels of education and the rise of independent forms of control (auditing) of their performance;
- Enhancement of the quality of managerial staff in the sector by means of training and retraining courses for the sake of their pre paredness to operate in new financial and economic conditions.
It is envisaged that in the course of the restructuring some higher schools will be retained in the form of budget institution (BI)). Such uni versities will be funded from the budget on the basis of estimates, thus de facto being deprived of the right to spend extra budgetary funds at their discretion, for such funds will be re channelled to the budget to be consequently returned to the BIs, to be spent according to the estimate approved by its founder.
Other universities will be transformed into organizations of new or ganizational and legal forms, with a part of them turning into autono mous institutions (AI), which in many ways appears the comeback to their earlier, pre Budget Code, mode, but with the cancellation of the government’s subsidiary responsibility for universities' liabilities. That means that the government can place an order with a university to train a certain number of staffers and fund the tuition of every “budget” stu dent at a level lower than the costs of tuition of the paid students, with the tuition of the budget students being estimate based. However, as in the framework of the performance based budgeting the estimate should be simplified considerably and deal only with enlarged expendi ture items, there should occur an extension of the universities’ financial autonomy in terms of spending the budgetary and extra budgetary funds.
Other universities will be transformed into public (municipal) autonomous non for profit organizations (PANO). Having become a PANO, the university will be able to refuse to provide tuition to budget students, if the amount of budget funds earmarked for their education fails to meet its requirements. So, the PANO and the government should establish the contractual relationship with regard to the budget contingent for the whole term of tuition of each student. The transition of a university to the organizational and legal form of PANO also leads to the liquidation of the subsidiary responsibility of its founder, which makes it possible for a PANO (as well as AO) to face bankruptcy.
The organizational and legal form of PANO will be favored primarily by the universities whose volume of extra budgetary receipts accounts for over 70% of their overall volume of budget and extra budgetary funds. It can also be envisaged that at the initial stage of the budget network reform most universities with a considerable volume of extra budgetary funds would opt for the form of AO, rather than PANO.
4.2.3. Main avenues of the vocational training reform Shaping the system of continuous vocational training The system of continuous vocational training is aimed at provision to every individual an opportunity for casting his individual path of educa tion and receiving the professional training that he (she) requires to en sure his (her) professional, career and personal growth. The develop ment of the system will allow a greater receptivity of the educational sphere to external demands, particularly those on the part of the labour market.
Recent years have witnessed a rapid rise in the need for re training.
In the past 5 years contingents of students enrolling in the respective programs grew by 59.5% (without regard to retraining of workers), with the rise in demand for retraining accounting for 92.1% of the rise in demand for the postgraduate education (while the remaining 7.9% fal ling on professional retraining). By 2008 the postgraduate continuous education programs will cover annually not less than 10–12% of work ing population in Russia, with a subsequent rise of the proportion up to 20–25%.
The growing need in a constant rise of qualification or retraining ne cessitates creation of infrastructure that should provide access to the continuous vocational training during the whole period of a person's professional activity.
Underlying the infrastructure are the following basic elements:
- Vocational training and retraining programs built according to the module principle, as well as organizations and institutions of various property forms that deliver them;
- Public and professional organizations whose operations focus on forming qualification requirements to the level of training, searching for and selecting of modern education technologies, as well as as sessing (attesting and accrediting) the quality of educational pro grams that should be adequate to demands on the part of the la bour market;
- A uniform system of test units built upon modern informational in frastructure of accounting, storage and collection of an individual’s performance data on education and training he (she) has received at various education organizations;
- A nationwide system of assessment of quality of education desig nated for ensuring a uniformity of the education space by means of control of the level of knowledge and qualification.
To ensure competitiveness of this particular sector of the national education system and improvement of its quality, it appears necessary to extend the list of organizations entrusted to provide the continuous vocational training services by including therein large commercial and other noneducational organizations that are in possession of resources to implement various educational programs in the framework of the in house corporate tuition.
In addition, the development of the noted sector of vocational train ing necessitates a transition from the control over education institutions to the control over curricula, due to which such administrative functions as control, funding and assessment of the quality of performance will be exercised with respect to the educational programs.
The creation of fundamentally new mechanisms of attesting and ac crediting educational programs will require casting organizational and legal conditions of the rise of public and professional organizations.
They will be formed by representatives of professional associations, educational community, and employers associations. The mission of such organizations should particularly imply formulation of require ments to the level of a necessary professional qualification, substance and technologies of tuition, and the sphere of competence of those employed in various sectors of public production. The noted public and professional organizations should also ensure efficient control over the quality of educational process and the trained cadres meeting dynamic demands of the labour market.
The creation of a uniform system of test units (credits) that would ensure a universal recognition of educational outputs, transition to the control over curricula and the outspread of the module program princi ple will enable every individual to enjoy the possibility for studying in dif ferent educational institutions in the frame of his (her) educational strategy. The said measures will ensure extension of the choice of edu cational programs, with education and training becoming targeted and more efficient.
The nationwide non partisan system of assessment of quality of education should form an integral part of the infrastructure of continu ous education, which would allow the uniformity of the education space and greater objectivity of assessment procedures of an attained educa tional level by means of their separation from the educational and train ing processes. The system should embrace non for profit organiza tions that deal with conduct of examinations and certification of the citi zens’ educational capacity. In the future, such structures should ensure conduct of finals at basic and higher schools, entrance examinations to the second level of higher learning, and other qualification examina tions.
To ensure development of the system of continuous education, presently a bill has been drafted on introducing amendments to the RF Law “On education” in the part that deals with regulation of comple mentary vocational training.
The subject of the bill that would allow laying down foundations for furthering the development of the continuous vocational training is set ting new procedures of regulation of operations of organizations that deliver complementary professional programs, in particular:
Extension of the list of organizations that deliver complementary vo cational programs;
Modification of attesting procedures of with regard to complemen tary vocational training programs, creation of prerequisites of a public and professional attestation of main professional programs;
A respective modification of the government accreditation proce dures of organizations that deliver complementary professional pro grams.
Transition to the two level higher education The transition to the two level system (Bachelor=s – Master=s) forms a critical component of the comprehensive reform in the higher school area. The transition should lay down fundamentals for the rise of an adequate structure of qualifications and specialties in the society.
The current Russian higher vocational training system consists of the one level training of certificated specialists in their respective special ties or groups of kindred HVE specialties (with the term of training of and 5.5. years) and the two level one: with awarding the graduate with the Bachelor degree (the term of training is 4 years) and Master degree (upon another 1.5–2 years of training after receiving his Bachelor=s or specialist qualification). While in 2000 the number of Bachelors and Masters roughly accounted for 52,500 by all forms of tuition (of which 47,500 by the day one), in 2002 their number was 59,000 (of which 53,000 by the day form of tuition), with the respective output practically doubled over the past 6 years.
Meanwhile, the Master term is presently viewed mostly as an artifi cial extension of the length of education by specialty training programs.
In current conditions, to improve the quality of the higher education, the Bachelor and Master courses should form independent levels of educa tion, whose separation implies certain objectives and tasks.
The educational task of the former level lies with laying down funda mentals of the professional culture (communication skills, those of search for and analysis of information, self education, team work, among others). The Bachelor degree gives a right to carry out profes sional activity of a certain level, meeting, at the same time, the mission of boosting the nation’s human capital.
The Master learning focuses on training specialists capable of orga nizing new areas of operations, engineering, research and manage ment. The application of pro active forms and modern educational technologies, such as solving real research and design tasks, analysis of concrete situations, modeling real technological or management processes on the basis of information systems allows realization in the Master course of the concept of practically oriented education, includ ing training of the modern corps of researchers.
The legal fixing of the two levels of education provides the subject of the education process with an opportunity to make a conscious choice of his educational and professional strategy.
The transition to the two level system of the higher education re quires development of fundamentally new standards of education.
Recent attempts to evaluate availability of higher education have highlighted the main watershed that lay between free education and paid one, at the same time leaving in the shadow a more critical proc ess: namely, the rise of practically three higher education systems with different functions – the mass (general), professional and elite ones.
The systems overlap and interact, while the government educational policy mostly either appears inefficient, or faces a serious public resis tance. The regular reform of the secondary and postsecondary voca tional training, whose development is underway now, may cross out de velopments of the previous stage of education modernization simply because there is no desire to identify these three subsystems. Mean while, the ideology of government personal education loans (GPEL) emerges in the frame of the dichotomy “free paid” or “free – with co payments”, which also affects a clear vision of the ongoing processes.
A part of experts negatively perceive the fact that higher education is becoming mass (general). They believe that as a poor country, Russia is not ready for such a transition. Meanwhile, the idea of the 12 year schooling does not any longer generate idiosyncrasy (with the conscription forming a main unresolved problem). However, the mass higher school currently solves practically the same array of educational and social tasks as those justifying for the transition to the 12 year sec ondary education. Meanwhile, the national schools have not yet de facto accomplished their transition to the 11 year schooling, which is why one will have to extend the term of the secondary education by two years, rather than by one. Naturally, the term of higher education is longer than secondary. While speaking of the transition to the 4+2 sys tem, i.e. to the nationwide introduction of the Bachelor=s and Master=s, it is the former that should be considered as a mass form of higher education.
The introduction of the 12 year secondary school resolves the prob lem of teachers’ employment, as they otherwise would find themselves unemployed due to the demographic decline, but the refusal of the mass higher education can pose grave problems to university faculty.
Plus, once the possibility for enrolment in the university is diminished, it will give a rise to corruption, which even now is breath taking and be lieved to somewhat fall with the transition to the USE GPEL system.
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