понедельник, 26 июля 2010 г.

Andrey Volkov about contemporary education

A week ago saw a summer fest of the future – Rucamp - that was held in the centre of Moscow on the base of the Institute “Strelka”. There were five thematic areas operating simultaneously.

The guest of “Education Tomorrow” area was Andrey Volkov, Dean of the Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO, who drew attention of the audience to the education as a world market of services with an inherent competitive environment and analyzed a status of the Russian education in this light.

Below are some extracts from his speech:

“What do I consider as the most important thing in the current situation in Russia? Neither quality, nor quantitative ratios, nor salaries of teachers, but competitiveness. 10-15 years ago we were placed in a global market without asking if we were prepared for such changes. And a majority of participants haven’t noticed it yet”.

Then Mr. Volkov explained what exactly competitiveness implies in the market of education.

“When we speak of a world competition of universities, three types of markets, for which one should compete, are usually singled out. A university acts as a provider of services in this case.

The first type is a competition for talented students. And Russia has lost here badly. During the Soviet time we had very good results – we took about 5-7% of the world education. Now, according to the most optimistic assessments, this figure is below 0.5%.

The second type is a market of teachers that formed just for the last 2 decades. Providers of educational services are active to compete for this teaching pool. It consists of several thousands or, maybe even tens of thousands of people.

And the third type is a market of financial resources.
For instance, the budget of an American university is financed by one third from the state budget, by one third from the corporate budget and by one third from the student’s pocket. If we look at the situation in our country, we had about 50/50 four-five years ago. Today 70% goes from the state and 30% goes from its own pocket. Ironically, such ratio, i.e. increased state investment, does not stimulate the development of quality of education”.

Then Andrey Volkov singled out key positive and negative points in our educational sphere.

We have a history - who we are and what education we had in the past. And we should remember it.

Now some negative points.

Firstly, it came around that we had lost all kinds of barriers with regard to who can be admitted to higher education. Today we can teach anyone with all consequences to an institute and higher education in whole. That is we admit anyone who has elementary knowledge. If we question freshmen in some basic things, addition of fractions for instance, the results can shock.

Secondly, a minimum threshold of education cost should be fixed and not lowered.

Finally, the third point is that I started from. We don’t’ believe yet that we are in a global market and should compete in world education”.

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