State Policy is What Determines the Professionalism of Teachers

5 april 2016

According to the Analytical Center's experts, a nation-wide system for the professional development of teachers can only be created after planning for what is going to be required based on the existing challenges, barriers and prospects of state policy and taking into account the available resources. Another education bulletin titled Challenges and Prospects for the Creation of a Nation-Wide System of Professional Development for Teachers focuses on this topic.

The experts say that the main challenge is changing the environment that teachers work in: schools need to be restructured and the federal general education standard should be introduced with the result that the number of students per teacher is going to increase.  The bulletin emphasizes the need for a new incentive mechanism that would encourage teachers to constantly work on improving their skills. Such an incentive scheme should be part and parcel of the new national wide professional development systems for educators. A poll conducted when the Strategy for the Innovative Development of Russia through 2020 was being prepared found that the important incentives for educators include pay and recognition of their achievements by colleagues, management and the professional community of educators as a whole.

Between 1970 and 2015 the number of general education schools fell by a factor of 2.24, including a 1.1% fall in 2015, bringing the total to 43,200, with Crimea and Sevastopol taken into account. The total number of schools is falling as schools are getting bigger, which in turn creates completely new challenges for educators (for example when a school with a good academic track record is merged with a school with a poor record). Changes in the requirements for the professional level of educators working in suburban schools in large metropolitan areas are of special importance in this context, because these schools see an increase in the number of kids from poor and dysfunctional families and from migrant families.

The Analytical Center's experts believe that the development of a state policy in these conditions will also be affected by the shortage of human resources in education: between 2008 and 2015 the number of educators in general education schools fell by 8%.

The bulletin also looks at the global trends in the development of national professional development systems for educators and features a list of key events and professional holidays that will be taking place in Q2 2016.

For other issues of our bulletin on the state of education in Russia see Publications.