The development of private social services aims to improve the quality and accessibility of social services available to the general public. However, the success of privatizing the provision of social services at the regional level depends to a large extent on the level of the socio-economic development in each specific Russian region and the general prosperity of its population. In the new bulletin on the development of competition the Analytical Center experts consider these issues taking preschool education services as an example.
The experts believe that developing the private sector in preschool education at the regional level faces certain difficulties and barriers. First of all, the regions want the federal center to give them more regulatory guidelines with the regard to implementing these services, for example, the specific terms and definitions stipulated by laws or standardized assessment methodologies.
Secondly, demand for private social services depends first and foremost on the level of socio-economic development in every specific Russian region and the purchasing power of its population. This means that the success of regional policies aimed at promoting social entrepreneurship depends not so much on the amount of effort the local government puts in these policies but rather on the average household income in the region.
Third, the analysts point out that it's quite difficult to assess adequately how effective regional governments are in their efforts to promote private sector involvement in preschool education services. The specialists believe this has to do with the lack of a national standardized methodology for collecting data and calculating target performance indicators set at the federal level. In addition, the performance indicators defined at the federal level for the regions are not included in the Federal Statistics Assessment Plan, so the regional governments have to use statistics provided by various ministries as their main data source. At the same time, ministerial statistics and the methods used to collect them cannot be checked so, according to the experts, they cannot be regarded as verified. Furthermore, Russian regions often are not aware of all the social organizations operating in their territory.
Fourth, as analysis of international experience in this area suggests, promoting the involvement of private business in the market of preschool education services on the whole cannot guarantee that the goals set for preschool education will be achieved and can sometimes lead to serious distortions in performance indicators as the burden of paying for these services gets shifted from the state to the public.
For more see the bulletin “Social Entrepreneurship in Preschool Education in Russian Regions: Problems”.
For other bulletins on the development of competition see Publications.