Russia Is to Choose Between Education System Models

9 january 2017

The school education reform process in Russia is being transformed under the influence of several factors. Experts from the Analytical Center write in its regular bulletin on education entitled “School Education System Reform (Domestic and International Experience)” that the number of the key lines of development announced in 2008 has remained the same over the past 8 years, whereas their topics have changed significantly. The current issue of the bulletin focuses on assessment of the school education system reform in Russia and abroad.

According to experts, the choice of further development strategy for the Russian school is hampered by a number of factors. On the one hand, a public dialog about the school education system modification is virtually non-existent; on the other hand, there is a notable gap between the innovative potential of school education and not always clear characteristics affecting the development of state-of-the-art technologies and labor market.

The most critical challenges the existing school education system faces is 'resource constraints', growing regional gaps, infrastructural shifts (including infrastructure wear and tear and non-public sector development, etc.), as well as problems relating to the standardization of education, the renewal of teaching staff, talented children identification and support.

However, this problem-plagued field has seen indisputable achievements, too, including the law on education (one of the most advanced federal state educational standards) and a unique system of teacher training for kindergartens and elementary school.

Anyway, experts argue that a strategic choice is to be made between the education system models, each of which implies its own risks. The encouraging education system model places its stake on the innovative education, developing society, country, and economy. However, such school infrastructure is being shaped amid the aggravating risks of social tension due to 'shock' actions, growing costs and uncertainty. A choice in favor of the catch-up development model gives preference to a transformation of the existing school infrastructure, implying common solutions shared by all domestic schools, which can perform poorly as a result.

So far, the school education system in Russia rather follows the catch-up model. Therefore, the systems of innovative school development being established in developed countries are of special interest; such systems mean primarily national and regional support for school innovations based on the joint efforts of all stakeholders. These trends include the research activity of school children, the so called STEM education, another emerging trend in a number of countries.

For details, see the bulletin entitled “School Education Reform Process (Domestic and International Experience)”.

For other bulletins on education, please visit the Publications section.