Incentive mechanisms need to be developed to help promote private education

3 august 2018

The Analytical Center has published another bulletin on education that continues to explore the topic of private education. The issue on the agenda this time around is the development of private higher education in Russia.

Some of the factors that make private general education attractive include comfortable conditions, customized client oriented programs, in-depth courses in a number of subjects, small numbers of students in a class, diversity and flexibility of curricula, the ability of private educational organizations to more quickly respond to changing demand in the labor market. This begs the question: how come this sector is so underdeveloped in our country? The authors of the bulletin try to answer this question.

General education organizations offer all Russian citizens an opportunity to exercise their right to free general education guaranteed by the Constitution. On one hand, this is an undisputed advantage, but on the other, it impacts the way people regard private general education.

When it comes to general education, in our country traditionally emphasis has always been on free services, the experts note. The wide spread belief that private education is only for the elites does non make one hopeful about the prospects of private education in Russia either. Public organizations, professional and expert associations for the time being don't seem to agree with the general public in their assessment of the significance, necessity and the importance of the development of private education. And if we take into account the fact that there is practically zero state support of private general education while people tend to restrict their expenses on education to within 10 to 50 thousand rubles per year, it's hard to imagine the sector booming any time soon.

The authors of the bulletin enumerate the key barriers holding back development in the private education sector. These include lack of any incentives for the development of private education, conservatism of management, lack of coordination in the existing mechanisms aimed at the development of the private sector in education, serious gaps in the management decisions made for preschool, grade school and high school education and the fact that the education sector as a whole is generally regarded as being unattractive to potential investors.

Despite all the talk about the booming market of education services in the country and the doubling over the past five years of the sales of education services, we are still seeing stagnation in the growth of the paid education services themselves in the general education systems, the share of household spending on education is falling as well. Over the past twelve years the consumer price index has gone down by 23% for the preschool education and by 10.2% for general education. This is most likely a sign of a negative tendency among the public to save money on education.

The situation we see at the moment in the private general education sector suggests that even though the state wants to see development of individual abilities and growth of the human potential, so far the expected growth in the share of private education services has not materialized. There are a number of factors that need special attention in terms of how to best regulate the private education system; these include variability in conditions from region to region, high sensitivity of the population to prices and features of the education process, the fact that education services are customized and tailored to specific students and the uncertainty of outcomes from the rendering of education services.

The bulletin also includes a list of key activities, professional holidays and memorable dates in July-September 2018.

Read more in the bulletin "Development of Private General Education in Russia".

Other bulletins on current educational trends see in Publications.