Also, the function of the State may become the provision of free ac cess to these standards.
4.2. Licensing, Certification and Accreditation:
the Triple Barrier in the Way of Competition and Improvement of Education Quality In recent years, numerous initiatives aimed at further toughening of the procedures for the interaction of higher educational establishments and their affiliations with state authorities have been put forth. Their authors suggest that there should exist, in the general procedure, not only the licensing and attestation of such affiliations, but also their State accreditation separately from that of their parent higher educational establishments.
Such solutions, either suggested or already exiting, result in lowered competition between higher educational establishments. In this con nection it should be stressed that the greatest sufferers from such practices would be those regions where the negative consequences of the lack of access to quality education are the strongest, and not the capital and other big cities. Many small size higher educational estab lishments, even if the level of their performance is high, cannot afford to keep the impressive legal and administrative staff needed for overcom ing the triple barrier of attestation, accreditation and licensing (none of those barriers, in fact, being a reliable tool for preventing the appear ance of poor quality services on the market). In any event, the costs of overcoming such barriers are being borne mainly by students and their parents.
Such initiatives once again emphasize the inadequacy of the current version of the Law “On licensing certain types of activity”, whereby types of activity, including education services, were excluded from the sphere to be regulated by that Law.
The competition for enrollment and the amount of fees established by a given higher educational establishment, with due regard for the results of independent ratings, as well as the information concerning the professional success of the alumni of that higher educational estab lishment on the labor market, in scientific research or business, can all provide a more than sufficient form of licensing.
Naturally, in a situation when there exists army draft, coupled with the problems relating to its “legal” (or, more exactly, permitted) avoid ance, it appears impossible not only to overcome the resistance of dis honest groups of specific (or private) interests, but also to determine the true demand for higher education proper, and for its use as a means to avoid “army slavery”.
4.3. The Experience of Introducing the Single State Examination (SSE) and New Approaches to Education Standardization From the year 2009 onward, the transition of all secondary schools and higher educational establishments to SEE is envisaged. While there will still exist opportunities for establishing additional entrance examina tions by higher educational establishments, this measure appears to have lost its essential meaning as a measure against corruption. The experience of the “test SSE” should be taken into account – in 2005 the number of regions where such tests took place42 was as high as 79, while the man test index was 1894 thousand.
In this connection, the press reported such phenomenal cases as the superior knowledge displayed by the alumni of secondary schools in Tuva and Bashkortostan as compared to their Moscow peers in sub jects like mathematics, which casts doubt on the notorious arguments being put forth by the defenders of the State’s ability to ensure univer sal justice43.
The senselessness of SSE, in absence of legal order (when courts of justice and the militia comply with the law, and not vice versa) and transparency, unattainable for lack of democracy at the local and re The information published by the Federal Center for the Conduct of Tests, see at http://www.rustest.ru/ege/stat_main.php.
“Objectivity” (of scoring – author’s note) can be ensured by:
1. high quality of the materials for controlling and measuring the results of SSE, devel oped by experienced teachers of specific subject;
2. scientifically substantiated scoring methodology, that is, the methodology for gener ating the final test score, based on the results of a corresponding test performed by an applicant;
3. the maximum computerization of the procedure for processing the whole complex of control and assessment materials, as a guarantee against any non sanctioned inter ference with the results”.
gional levels, and the existence of interregional controversies, have all demonstrated that the examination cannot be conducted by local teachers in cooperation with the militia. As for the transportation, for the conduct of such an examination, of thousands of teachers and militia men from other regions, appointed virtually on the eve of the examina tion, it represents a measure that, however effective it might be for pre venting wonderful academic achievements in backward regions, would hardly be affordable for this country’s budget, even in view of the cur rently high oil prices.
4.4. Problems Associated with the Financing of Education A general approach is suggested, when a physical person’s expenditures on the education of his or her children should be subject to all possible tax exemptions and of deducted from that person’s tax able income. This last measure, by the way, will result in equalizing the existing situation faced by private tutors, informal educational establishments and teachers of formally registered secondary schools.
The assumption that a parent’s expenditures on the education of his or her own child may substitute for the much higher state (or municipal) expenditures on education, being at the same time more cost effective that even the expenditures of private charity funds, must be given more importance that the fears that tax collection might be, as a result, too low.
The expenditures of juridical persons (corporations and funds) may be subject to reasonable control. However, the requirements that transaction expenditures should be lowered will give advantage to the long established secondary schools and universities with solid reputa tion, the donations to which would have made the donors safe from any suspicions that they thereby lauder their money.
It is suggested that the incomes of educational establishments – both the officially registered and informal ones, – as well as the in comes of private tutors from the fees paid by the parents of their stu dents (or the students themselves), similar to the incomes defined in Item 6 of Article 217 of the RF Tax Code (Part 2) (in respect to the in come tax), should be treated as the sums received by the taxpayer in the form of grants (or gratis aid) for purposes of supporting science and education, culture and the arts in the Russian Federation by interna tional or foreign organizations in accordance with the list of such or ganizations approved by the Government of the Russian Federation.
Accordingly, in order to reduce the burden of taxpayers, in respect to the single social tax, these payments are to be treated equally with the payments listed in Item 4 of Article 239 of the RF Tax Code:
“ … the Russian funds for the support of education and science – from the sums paid to citizens of the Russian Federation in the form of grants (or gratis aid) to teachers, tutors, students of secondary school, and to undergraduate and (or) postgraduate students of state and (or) municipal educational establishments”.
4.5. Protection of the Autonomy of Educational Establishments and of Academic Freedoms It is quite obvious that a modern competitive education system must take into account the failure of the experimenting with “free develop ment of a child’s personality” at the state funded secondary schools in developed countries, despite some brilliant achievements in this field observed in the West, as well as in Russia44.
However, a secondary educational establishments (especially in re spect to the students in senior grades) must give due regard to the ne cessity of ensuring adequate guarantees of academic freedoms and the upbringing of students in the spirit of respect for these freedoms.
The degree of autonomy of academic communities must be propor tional to the share of private incomes (and not to promote socialism among the teaching staff).
The success of those Russian schools where original specific curricula are introduced, developed by individual teachers, represent the proof of the efficiency of small size and flexible forms of the organization of educational establishments, which are better adapt able to experimenting and to adjusting to individual needs of both teachers and students.
A talented and charismatic teacher may sometimes do without applying the prescribed strict measures or administrative pressure for ensuring proper order in class. However there are few such teachers. The refusal to control the situation in class by an average teacher, even when he or she is well educated and properly trained, may lead to grave consequences. Unfortunately, children in general are rarely able to maintain order by themselves, and in absence of adult control, instead of enjoying “the kingdom of free development”, will become victims of the dictatorship of the most cruel and cynical teen agers. Such a situation in conductive neither to quality education nor to the upbringing of dignified, free and responsible citizens.
It is necessary to introduce the procedure of criminal prosecution for restricting the freedom of speech in the academic community, similar to the corresponding norm existing in the RF Criminal Code in respect to the protection of the rights of journalists.
It is evident that a healthy education system, based on growing pri vate interest and responsibility and on growing competition, in terms of variety and quality, between the educational service provided by differ ent agencies, is incompatible with archaic forms of state dictatorship, coupled with diminishing guarantees of “free of charge” education on the part of the State. Here we are referring to the new procedure for appointing the rectors of higher educational establishments, introduced by Federal Law of 18 July 2006, No. 113 – FZ, concerning the introduc tion of amendments to Articles 12 and 20 of the Federal Law “On higher and postgraduate professional training”.
The actual appointment of rectors, with the accompanying strength ening of state control, on the one hand, makes a rector dependent on the power of officials. On the other, a rector becomes an official proper, being independent from the academic community, let alone the useful (to a certain extent) dependency on students and their parents – the consumers of educational services, who have to face the market’s de mands and at the same time are shouldering an increasing share of the costs of higher education, even at state funded higher educational es tablishments.
The long term effects of that Law will result in fewer opportunities for creating market incentives for improving the quality of education, lim ited scope of scientific discussions and, consequently, undermine the scientific potential of best higher educational establishments. No doubt, it would be feasible to have this Law abolished and then further develop the systems designed to manage higher educational estab lishments, specially as they will be commercializing in an opposite di rection.
The autonomy of educational establishments in providing solutions to the problems associated with the need to generate incomes, coupled with the abolition of autonomy in management, appears to be quite il logical and counterproductive.
The development of Competition The legalization of remote tutoring in the Russian Federation and the recognition by the State of the competence of those educational estab lishment where remote tutoring is organized, as well as the legalization of the incomes of private tutors and their informal groups, will be con ductive to higher competition in some regions, while creating unique opportunities for obtaining education in other, more remote regions.
With the elimination of the factor of “higher education safeguarding against army draft”, such measures could considerably increase com petitiveness, and, consequently, the quality of education in this country.
Security Problems and Challenges Security challenges remain, perhaps, the strongest argument in fa vor of state patronage of educational establishments. However, consid ering the catastrophic failure of the state organized measures in Beslan, it would be advisable to study the practices of Israel (as they had existed prior to the onset of the so called “process of peace recon ciliation”). There, the male teaching staff of secondary schools were strongly recommended to acquire personal weapons45, in order to resist terrorists when the latter attempt to overtake a school. The risk of being hit with a bullet in any classroom where they may dare enter will inevita bly make terrorists move slower, while the rapidity of the arrival of spe cial forces is much higher than that of their Russian counterparts.
And the parents also, in view of a decreasing pressure on the part of the State (in terms of administering, rather than taxation), could, when necessary, take upon themselves either the responsibilities of patrolling schools, or, in an event of growing income, the burden of costs of the services of private security agencies.
The probability of a situation when all the armed male teachers and private security guards, who are being paid by parents, would conspire with terrorists, is quite negligible. At least, it is negligible as compared to the risk of a conspiracy of this sort on the part of the lower rank staff of the power structures, whose remuneration provided by the State is quite low, and existing legislation on the militia is such that it, in fact, encourages corruption.
While the State undertakes the function of training them in the use and maintenance of materials.