"The Russian system of preschool education is recognized by the international community and it makes a huge contribution to the development of the human capital of the country, however in the new national project titled Development of Education, there is no special section devoted to preschool education," said Analytical Center expert Inna Karakchieva speaking at the Childhood Reference Points held the other day in Moscow.
Ms Karakchieva is sure that the role of preschool education in the overall education system and the development of society can hardly be overestimated. "It's the first step in the social institution of education and the success at this stage determines a great deal of what happens in a person's life later in life after they become an adult," she believes.
Interest in preschool education is rising every year and this trend signifies a change in the reference points of development. Children are entering the education system at earlier and earlier ages and they are staying in it longer and longer. Society is imposing more and more requirements on preschool education, its forms and ways to get it. The position of society on it is changing, people are going from being mere consumers of preschool education to active participants in the process.
"We're seeing an integration of education system, the merging of resources of additional and general education,development of network communities and what's becoming most important is the issue of effectiveness of investments, and I'm not just talking about the mere availability of resources but also about how effective the allocated resources are used and how they are distributed within the system," Ms Karakchieva believes.
Preschool education is accumulating huge human, financial and management resources. About half of all educators employed by educational organizations are involved in preschool education. The same is true about organizations that offer preschool education programs, as well as day care services, while 5% of the population of our country are preschoolers who are in this system.
This means that preschool education is one of the largest subsystems in the education system and that has a huge impact on human development in the country, Ms Karakchieva believes. The goal of educating well-rounded and social responsible people is explicitly set out in one of the May decrees of the president and achieving it requires not only new methods and technologies in education and training but also an upgrade of the content of education, the introduction of adaptive, practice oriented and flexible programs, the use of modern safe education environments.
In essence, changes in the preschool education system should bring about changes at all levels of education in the country.