Education Policy Must Respond to Changing Conditions

28 april 2016

“Key trends in the state policy on general education found in the current regulations and a number of strategic documents are primarily to do with ensuring availability, improving quality and creating a common educational space,” said the Analytical Center's expert Inna Karakchieva, speaking at an expert seminar on the methods for assessing the state and effectiveness of education systems in Russian regions. “Being sensitive to socio-economic instability, the state education policy is transforming based on these goals, available resources and changing public demand.”

Ms. Karakchieva believes that most of the time when the development of general education in recent years is analyzed the management system that has a direct impact on the effectiveness of management decisions gets ignored largely. There is also no system for assessing the cohesion of the common education space.

As the general education system is undergoing restructuring today and the number of students is increasing, there is a problem with standardizing the approach to developing a state policy in the education sector. As a sphere of regional and municipal management, general education is coming under a lot of pressure from the federal management system in the form of state standards, final exams, professional development of educators and others. At the same time, regional and municipal peculiarities are never taken into account when the state policy is developed: the federal authorities set the bar and the same management mechanisms are used in all regions. In this situation, all assessments look at the outcomes rather than effectiveness. For this reason, assessment is usually reduced to some ratings, often of rather poor quality, that create the impression that the state of the general education system is being monitored without actually revealing much about what is happening on the ground. The ratings are also used to punish and label educators, the expert concluded.

“As a major contender in the market of education services, Russia chose to follow the trends that dominate in the leading countries of the world such as Germany, Korea, Singapore, Finland, China, Mexico and others. It goes without saying that the state policy must be flexible enough to respond adequately to changing conditions but it must also be built on previous achievements and must remain focused on the overarching goals, creating demand for education and relying on its own decision making processes. A mechanism is needed for making management decision that would take into account the strengths of each region, the available resources and promising trends,” Ms. Karakchieva believes.