The Effectiveness of State Investments in Education to be Assessed

18 may 2016

"It is paradoxical, but despite huge investments in the reform of the budget sector in education, the introduction of 83-FZ has not changed school autonomy! On the contrary, a number of new difficulties were encountered," concluded the Analytical Center expert Inna Karakchieva, speaking at an expert seminar on the reform of the budget sector in education held at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration. "The outcomes we’ve obtained so far mean the budget segment still dominates and risks faced by autonomous organizations in education are increasing as they are having to deal with more and more unwarranted monitoring and supervision."

The core of reforming the budget sector in education revolves around the idea that there is a link between ensuring social guarantees and providing quality education services. The budget reform of the education system that began in 2010 was aimed at making schools more independent economically, expanding their freedom and promoting the non-budget sector, which in the end was supposed to have reduced the budget pressure and replaced administrative management with economic tools. And the transition from budget financing to target-based subsidies stipulated in Federal Law No 83-FZ dated May 8, 2010 was supposed to have simplified the budgeting procedures and resulted in more efficient use of budget funds, Ms. Karakchieva noted.

"So what kind of result have we ended up with?" the expert asks, "As administrative pressure keeps increasing, there is mounting distrust in the way that financial resources both among the public (the consumers of education services) and among educators and even among administrators themselves. Even though formally subsidies are used, money is still effectively being allocated on the basis of budgets and since budget-funded organizations don’t really get the money, we do not really know how to assess the quality of education services and there are other problems as well. Practically all of the goals remain unachieved."

It is paradoxical but despite huge investments in the reform of the budget sector in education, the introduction of 83-FZ has not changed school autonomy! On the contrary, additional difficulties are being encountered. For each ruble invested we got a kopek in return, the expert believes.

All of this is happening in an environment of economic instability and budget deficit at all levels. In this situation, looking at the real socio-economic situation in the country and the state policy, it is clear that a course correction is needed not just with regards to the mechanism used but also with regards to the goals we are trying to achieve. Not only do we need to assess the effectiveness of the money we invest in reforming the budget sector in education but also the tools we use to minimize costs and maximize target achievement.