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As concerns the problems, which became apparent in the course of the SSE experiment, according to the RF Ministry of Education, it is necessary and sufficient to take the following measures to solve them:

More clearly define and develop the normative base of SSE at the federal and regional levels;

Improve control and measurement materials;

Improve organizational and technological procedures of SSE;

Test different variants of organization of information flows at the stages of SSE preparation and implementation;

Allow representatives of institutions of higher education and secondary vocational training establishments more broadly participate in the experiment at all its stages;

Develop monitoring relating to the quality of school education in Russia in the framework of the experiment;

Develop the practices of involvement of public observers.

It is apparent that among the problems indicated by the RF Ministry of Education there were no problems relating to the financing of the SSE system after the completion of the experiment. It should be noted that even at present the financing from the federal budget is strained, and the RF Ministry of Education agrees to include new regions in the SSE experiment only in the case they participate in co-financing of SSE. The FPDE program, which funds the major share of expenditures for the SSE experiment should cease the financing after its completion in 2005. At the same time, organization of SSE on regular basis in all regions will require about Rub. 800 million a year in the case the present level of expenditures persists (proceeding from the amount of expenditures registered in 2003, minus expenditures for purchase of equipment).

Yet another problem requiring special attention is the lack of a clear and efficient technology of enrollment basing on the SSE results. As a matter of fact, an entrant sending his / her SSE results to several institutions of higher education may be accepted by several of these institutions, however, the entrant can present the original documents to only one of them. Other higher education institutions will have to wait for a certain number of days before enrolling the second wave of entrants many of whom may by that time be enrolled in other institutions of higher education (maybe less prestigious). As a result, a number of higher education institutions may have enormous enrollment problems they would fail to cope with by the beginning of the new school year (what is highly probable taking into account the well known flaws in the operation of the Russian post service and the traditional summer transport problems).

The next potential serious problem is related to the fact that the city of Moscow participates in the experiment. In 2003 / 2004, the Moscow Government agreed to carry out the experiment only in half of city administrative districts (about 50 per cent of Moscow schools) and put forward a number of additional requirements, which create special conditions for Moscow. The major requirement is to use a combined test for Russian language and literature and to conduct SSE not in the specially designated facilities, but in schools allowing the presence of school teachers.

Apparently, in the case in even one region there is set forth a special SSE procedure, it will destroy its whole construction, since SSE results become incomparable. This approach to SSE makes it impossible not only to enroll entrants basing on the uniform requirements, but prevents the use of SSE results as an indicative evaluation of the quality of work of both unspecialized schools, and regional educational systems.

Besides, regions may use the special conditions granted to Moscow as the basis of their own demands for special treatment, what makes the SSE concept absolutely senseless.

At last, the leading national higher education institution (Moscow Lomonosov University), the only Russian University which officially is outside the jurisdiction of the RF Ministry of Education, has resolutely refused to participate in the SSE experiment (in contradistinction to other Moscow institutions of higher education). Apparently, this development definitely undermines the very concept of SSE.

Therefore, having listed these problems, it is not surprising that the RF Ministry of Education has delayed the terms of transition from the experiment to the mandatory SSE implementation in the Russian Federation from 2005 to 2006.

I. Rozhdestvenskaya Forecasting certain macroeconomic indicatorsBelow are presented the results of forecasting of the monthly indicators of household living standards, the size of employment in the economy, and the total number of the unemployed basing on time series models ARIMA(p, d, q). it should be noted that since November of 2003 IET has monthly published the bulletin of For the purposes of this presentation, a forecast is defined as an estimate of the future values of the indicator obtained basing on a model with the best statistical qualities. For more details of the modeling of time series see, for instance: S.

Sinelnikov-Murylev, R. Entov, S. Drobyshevski, V. Nosko, A. Yudin (2001) Econometric Analysis of Time Series of Key Macroeconomic Indicators, Moscow, IET.

model based calculations of short term forecasts of social and economic indicators observed in the Russian Federation (see www.iet.ru).

Indicators of household living standards Below are presented the results of forecasting the real wages and salaries and real disposable cash household incomes basing on the models of time series of respective indicators calculated by the RF Goskomstat in the interval from January of 1999 till October of 2003.

Table 1.

Forecast of household living standards.

Period Real disposable cash Real wages and salaries household incomes ARIMA model based forecasts (in % of the respective period of the preceding year) 18.2 11.January 17.6 13.February, 11.9 10.March, Memorandum: actual values in respective periods of the preceding year (in % of the respective period of the preceding year) 14.8 10.January 17.0 10.February, 15.6 8.March, According to the forecasts (see Table 1), the average increase in real disposable cash incomes the 1st quarter of 2004 as compared with the figures observed in the respective period of 2003 will make about per cent. The similar indicator of the growth in real wages and salaries according to the obtained forecasts will make about 12 per cent. On the whole, the obtained forecasts demonstrate the persistence of the positive trend in the dynamics of household living standards indicators.

Indicators of the size of employment in the economy and the total number of the unemployed Table The results of calculations: forecasted values of the indicators of the size of employment in the economy and the total number of the unemployed Size of employment in Total number of the the economy unemployed Month 65.January 2004 5 1.0 6.05 -5.5 9.65.February, 2004 7 1.7 6.05 -8.4 9.65.March, 2004 9 1.1 5.83 -7.5 8.Memorandum: actual values in respective periods of the preceding year (million persons) January 2003 64.70 6.February, 2003 64.10 6.March, 2003 64.60 6. g (%) economy the figures the figures million persons million persons registered in the registered in the comparison with comparison with rates of growth in employment in the the preceding year the preceding year in (%) of the size of respective period of respective period of In order to estimate the future values of the indicators of the size of employment in the economy and the total number of the unemployed, there were used models of time series evaluated over the period from October of 1998 till October of 2003 in accordance with the RF Goskomstat data20.

On the whole, the obtained forecasts indicate the persistence of the positive trends in the dynamics of the indicators of the size of employment in the economy and the negative trends in the total number of the unemployed. According to ARIMA models (see Table 2), the average monthly increase in the indicator of the size of employment in the economy makes 1.2 per cent over the forecast period as compared with the figures registered in the respective months of the preceding year. At the same time, it may be expected that the number of the unemployed will diminish (in terms of increases in comparison with the figures observed in respective periods of the preceding year): the forecasted average monthly increase in this indicator is negative and makes on the average (- 7.1 per cent).

A. Yevtifyeva, S. Ponomarenko, M. Turuntseva, A. Yudin The indicator was calculated in accordance with the International Labor Organization (ILO) methods, the respective figures are as by the end of a period.

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