The Analytical Center experts propose key approaches to introducing new mechanism for financing extra-curricular training for children.
Russia plans to introduce new mechanism for financing extra-curricular training for children (music schools, sports training, creative and art schools etc.) These new mechanisms are going to use standardized targeted per capita financing that should ensure that all educational establishment have roughly the same transparent requirements they have to meet to get financing. The principle of targeted per capita financing is already applied for preschool, middle through high school education and professional training: educational establishments get funds based on standardized training costs per student multiplied by the number of students.
Difficulties with financing extra-curricular training stem from the fact that the Constitution does not guarantee availability of free-of-charge extra-curricular training for children and the authority to offer such training free of charge is delegated to regional and municipal governments. However, the federal government also wants to see progress in extra-curricular training. Official statistics show that in the past 3 years the number of state and municipal extra-curricular training organizations has increased by 28.5% and the number of children and adolescents attending them has gone up 16.9%. In the same period budget financing of these organizations has almost doubled.
Experts point out that the most obvious difficulties with introducing targeted per capita financing stem from the vast diversity in extra-curricular training programs. In accordance with the Federal Law on Education in Russia the contents and time-frames for education must be set in curricula or training programs developed and approved by the educational organizations themselves. Seeing how at the moment there are a little over 8 thousands of such organizations (run by the state or by municipal governments) and they are attended by about 8 million children and adolescents, development and approval of state educational requirements and standards for every training program that they use is impossible.
The Analytical Center experts believe that if new financial mechanisms are to be introduced successfully for extra-curricula training, the regions should be given the right to develop their own financing mechanisms. On the other hand, the experts believe that funds must be allocated on a competitive basis in accordance with regional financing standards. It is suggested that such standards should be developed for aggregated extra-curricular training programs in the various fields in which extra-curricular courses are offered by various extra-curricular training organizations, namely in science and technology, in sports and fitness, in arts and aesthetics, in tourism and local studies, environment and biology, in social studies and pedagogy, in natural sciences, in military and patriotism studies as well as in general intellectual development.
In the opinion of the experts, a new financing system can be developed taking into consideration the student and applicant tracking system currently under development (based on the digital daycare queue system) which should allow children and parents to place orders for spots on extra-curricular training programs and give administrators the capability to offer spots with already allocated funds to new applicants if the students who these spots were originally offered to are not attending.
In addition, the Analytical Center experts are suggesting that federal executive authorities that are currently in charge of developing the state education policy should be given the right to develop financing standards for aggregated fields of extra-curricular training programs for children. This model will allow for the development of a private sector (giving it equal opportunities) and establish transparent financing conditions.
The proposed changes should also give federal executive authorities the right to offer children extra-curricular training at federal state educational institutions. Under the current system this right is not even defined in the law.