Bologna process and Russia
The educational reforms initiated in the Russian Federation at the end of the 1990s were formally focused on raising the level, quality and relevance of Russian education on a global scale, thus contributing to raising the country's prestige in international politics. Ideologists of the reform of Russian education emphasized that the need to modernize the activities of domestic higher and secondary educational institutions was caused by the need for Russia’s fuller integration into the world community, including in the field of education. It was during this period that the idea of the world educational space as a kind of “service market” spread, in which specific states and educational institutions freely compete with each other, attracting students, teachers, and scientists with more favorable study and work conditions, higher quality teaching and research. Naturally, the Russian state was given the task of increasing the competitiveness of the system of domestic higher and secondary education on a global scale. Prospective success of the Russian Federation in economics, science and technology, culture and art was associated with the solution of this task. However, the reality turned out to be much farther from the bright prospects that the advocates of reforming the education system drew.
Back in 2012, the State Duma of the Russian Federation adopted the Federal Law “On Education”, which enshrines the further integration of the Russian education system into the world educational space. As you know, from the beginning of the 2000's. Russian higher education is being reformed in accordance with the principles of the Bologna process. The Bologna process, as a matter of fact, sets the task of integrating the educational systems of individual European states into a single educational space. At the heart of the desire to integrate the education systems of Europe, there were initially two goals: ensuring the further construction of a “united Europe” and increasing the competitiveness of European education systems compared to the United States and Japan. That is, the adjustment of European universities to the principles of the Bologna process was carried out not only to improve the education system itself, but also to strengthen the political and economic positions of the European Union. It is known that the only worthy rivals of the EU countries in economic and cultural terms are currently the USA and a number of the most developed countries in East Asia (Japan, South Korea, and more recently, China). In the Russian Federation, the implementation of the Bologna process program in the field of education initially set itself the following tasks: to improve the overall quality of educational services provided, to orient the higher and secondary vocational education to practice, to increase the mobility of students, researchers and teachers, to unify the qualifications and degrees awarded, so that they can be freely quoted abroad, form a credit system for education (On the model of European countries).
Internationalization of education
The desire to increase the mobility of students and teachers was caused by the ongoing processes of globalization. Economic globalization provides for employment opportunities in foreign and transnational corporations. Accordingly, not only the labor market is internationalized, but also the educational services market. In the Middle Ages, roving students moved across Europe, and today “mobile” students, graduate students and teachers can easily change one country of study or work to another, entering into contracts and moving from university to university. Another thing is that Russian higher educational institutions do not yet have attractiveness for the majority of foreign students and, especially, teachers. This unattractiveness is explained more likely not by the low quality of the education provided, but by the insufficient financing of educational institutions, the lack of a developed material and technical base, and the unsatisfactory organization of the social sphere. Therefore, more prosperous and promising students - not only from developed countries, but also from “third world” countries, do not go to Russia, but prefer to receive education in the USA or Western European countries, even if there is higher prices for educational services. It is doubtful that the reforms of Russian education will lead to a sudden and sharp increase in its popularity among students from other states. Moreover, in the form in which they are carried out. The internationalization of education leads to the loss of the rich national traditions of higher education, which, although it did not fit into the framework of “European standards”, has been preparing excellent, highly qualified specialists for over a century. However, to please “integration into the global educational space”, today there is a gradual destruction of the existing methods and mechanisms of education, which took shape over seven decades of existence of the Soviet Union and go back to the pre-revolutionary era.
Most foreign students arrive in Russia from third world countries.
According to supporters of the reform of Russian education, “integration into the global educational space” should be followed by improving the quality of Russian education, ensuring its accessibility to wide sections of the population, and increasing the openness of the Russian education system, and occupying worthy positions in the global educational market. As is known, first of all, in accordance with the principles of the Bologna system, the transition to a two-tier model of higher education was carried out in Russian higher educational institutions. Officially, this step was explained by the need to recognize Russian higher education diplomas in European countries. Since there is a two-tier system of higher education in European states, Russian specialist diplomas raised numerous questions among staff of personnel services and educational institutions, that is, they directly hampered Russian applicants and job seekers. After all, European personnel services focused on working with bachelors or masters could not always make the right conclusion about how to use a particular specialist, where to send him to work - to a position requiring the qualification of a bachelor or master. Now there is a bachelor’s and master’s degree in universities, whereas previously there was only a specialty and institutions of higher professional education graduated from the category of specialists. In 2013, the updated Federal Law “On Education” entered into force, according to which a three-tier model of higher education was officially entrenched in Russia - bachelor’s, master’s and postgraduate training of highly qualified personnel. At the same time, the traditional for Russia academic degrees of the candidate and the doctor of science are still preserved, although the standards of the Bologna system do not provide for the existence of the degree of candidate of science and, accordingly, Russian candidates may have difficulty recognizing their degree abroad. But the correspondence of diplomas and degrees is far from the only and, unfortunately, not the main problem facing the national education system. Modernization changes in the life of Russian higher education have led to the emergence of a number of serious problems and contradictions, which, as the educational reform continues to deepen, only grow and give rise to new problems.
Reduction of professors - a blow to universities
First, we are talking about the reduction of higher education institutions. For some reason, this reduction in administrative circles is called optimization, an increase in the efficiency of universities, although it is obvious even to a non-professional that it is impossible to improve the efficiency of universities, dismissing the most qualified part of the teaching staff - professors. On the contrary, the dismissal of professors will inevitably be followed by a decline in the overall quality of teaching. If teachers without a scientific degree or candidates of science are considered to be more high-quality specialists than doctors of science, then what is this about? Why then do the whole hierarchy of academic degrees and titles? It seems that the real reason for this “optimization” due to the reduction of professorial rates and the number of professors in universities is the notorious saving of money. It is easier to dismiss three professors, for the salary of one of them, leaving three assistant professors or senior teachers, who, in addition, will take on the teaching load for two more laid-off ones, than paying a high salary to professors. But after all, the educational institution itself suffers from the implementation of such a model. Suffer students who do not receive high-quality knowledge and will not be able, subsequently, to find a job in their specialty or to fully perform their duties in the workplace. Of course, no one speaks openly about reductions in universities. Employees of higher educational institutions simply “do not spend” on competitions, after which they refuse to enter into a contract with “teachers who have not passed the competition”. There are many ways to refuse to extend the contract - and one of them is connected with the notorious “internationalization of education”. This is a mandatory requirement to have publications in foreign languages in foreign journals. At first glance, this is a necessary thing, because publications in foreign journals raise the rating of Russian education on a global scale. Sort of. But in fact? Why should a professor or an associate professor (conventionally) of the Uryupinsky Institute for the Freedom of Engineering have publications in British or French journals? Is it possible that without graduate publications in English or French, its graduates will not be able to build fences in their native Uryupinsk?
Who will prepare school teachers for rural areas in the event of the closure of provincial pedagogical universities?
The task of the Russian state in the first place should not be the internationalization of education, but the provision of the country's basic needs for specialists - doctors, engineers, teachers, accountants, lawyers, and so on. For this, in the Soviet times, an extensive system of higher educational institutions was created, which trained skilled workers for various branches of the economy, science and culture. In the 1990s, despite the economic difficulties experienced by the Russian state, higher education was in a much better position than it is now. The number of educational institutions, the number of students grew. Even if not all of the graduates of high schools received the opportunity of employment in their specialty, but they acquired certain knowledge and skills. On the other hand, a huge number of Russian citizens were employed in the education system - and this concerns not only the faculty of universities, but also numerous service personnel, including junior-level technical specialists. After all, chemical, physical, technical faculties, medical institutes are difficult to imagine without technical workers, laboratory assistants. Under the conditions of modern “optimization”, all of them are sent “to the street”. Of course, someone will be lucky to get a job in their specialty, but after all, most of the dismissed will most likely leave the education system. And then what? Deprofessionalization? Regular salespeople, taxi drivers, handymen with higher education diplomas and even Ph.D. degrees who compete with people from former Soviet republics?
In fact, the reduction of universities in the interests of improving their "efficiency" is a very dangerous undertaking. Far from all Russian universities need international recognition - at least, simply because of the specifics of the staff they prepare. The province has a large number of pedagogical, medical, agricultural, technical higher educational institutions that train specialists for specific areas of the economy. In these universities, there is also a faculty who cope with their responsibilities for the training of teachers of provincial schools, doctors, agronomists, engineers, veterinarians, and so on. Does it make sense to load teachers with additional responsibilities and require them to comply with international standards? Indeed, in the event of the dismissal of these teachers, there will be no one to train teaching, medical, engineering and technical personnel for the province. Accordingly, we will see reductions in the number of schools, clinics and hospitals, and the aggravation of the outflow of labor resources from the province, since more or less active and young teachers will not move to other areas of activity, but rather leave small cities and rush to the capital. Another companion to reduce universities will be the increase in unemployment, including the number of unemployed high-skilled professionals, such as university professors. In the context of the constant statements of the top leaders of the Russian state about the need for infrastructure development in rural areas, increasing the birth rate and improving the quality of human life in modern Russia, aimed at weakening the higher education system in the provinces, the events look, to say the least, strange. In fact, they are wrecking, aimed at undermining the economy and, consequently, the national security of the Russian state.
As the academician, professor, doctor of pedagogical sciences Sergey Komkov notes, “In 2014, the crisis in the system of higher professional education continued. We are witnessing its actual destruction today. The so-called ratings of the leading universities of the country and the definition of "performance criteria" of their activities, invented by the Ministry of Education and Science and Rosobrnadzor, led to a massive closure of regional universities that trained industry professionals at the regional level. All this happened against the background of the ongoing process of destruction of the system of primary and secondary vocational education. (Komkov S. “We were all taught a little bit” // http://www.regnum.ru/news/society/1881456.html).
University becomes a “slave to the market”
The second most important problem that the so-called Russian higher education system poses for the Russian "Modernization" is the subordination of universities to the interests of the market. In the public consciousness, with the help of the media and some representatives of the faculty of Russian universities, the idea of the education system as a “market of services” is fixed, although in reality the education system is not a “market”, but an important state institution that should be regulated and controlled by the state, not by market laws. A number of specialties may have little demand on the labor market, especially at the international level, but this does not mean that they should stop training specialists. There are basic professions that are the core of the culture of the state - for example, the profession of a librarian or a museum worker, low-paid and, by and large, low-profile. But to abandon libraries and museums is to abandon your culture and storiesTherefore, the preservation of the state itself requires the preservation of relevant specialties in universities, even if they are exclusively subsidized, not fully staffed, and do not show any serious success on a global scale. A number of specialties should be prepared by the state, despite their “popularity” and demand in the international labor market. First of all, these include employees of social infrastructure, industry, agriculture. Of course, there is nothing wrong with the fact that universities are oriented today to the training of specialists demanded by the economy. But it is the task of the state to organize control over universities with the aim of preventing their complete subordination to commercial interests, turning universities into preparatory institutions for specific corporations.
Olga Chetverikova, associate professor of MGIMO, asserts that “the current reformation is due to the struggle to ensure the competitiveness of universities, the battle for finances. If an educational institution wants to receive the appropriate funding, it must adjust to these new requirements. And as a result, the purpose of training is not the formation of a developed, educated person, but the training of narrow specialists who are able, in a timely manner, like managers, to respond to a particular reality, need and, accordingly, to be integrated into the management system that we have: corporate or state . Basically, of course, the reformation is aimed at the corporate governance system, to the extent that departments are created, funded by separate business structures, which for four years prepare the people they need. And such a person would hardly be able to choose activities in a different area, since he was used to thinking in a certain way ”(O. Chetverikova. The transition of theological schools to the Bologna system is a serious blow to theological education // http://www.blagogon.ru/) .
For the higher education system, following the labor market environment is quite ungrateful. After all, 4-6 years get higher education in Russia. This is quite a long time, during which the demand for certain professions may fall or even disappear altogether. Accordingly, entering the market demand specialty, 17-year-old applicants have no idea whether he will be employed in several years, when in 22-23, he comes to the personnel department of a corporation or institution. The high dynamism inherent in both the economy and the culture of modern society leads to rapid changes in the scale of priorities, including in the field of higher education. Therefore, in this case, it makes sense not so much the concentration of higher education institutions on the market demand specialties, as the reduction of the term of training in a number of areas. Where professional responsibilities require specific skills that can be learned in an 2-3 year of study, it makes no sense to keep a student in high school for five or six years. During this time, the profession may lose its popularity, and the student will lose the years of his life to acquire a specialty not in demand in the labor market. Short-term and long-term courses, colleges with two-year and three-year studies are the best way out of the situation, allowing you to respond quickly enough to changes in the labor market and build up an educational policy in accordance with them. Adaptation of the fundamental faculties to the needs of the labor market only negatively affects the quality of education, the motivation of students. Moreover, it leaves those specialties in a losing position that cannot exist without funding and organizational support from the state, and this is practically all areas of the humanitarian profile, plus a considerable part of the natural science and exact disciplines.
The problem of “brain drain” is closely related to the “internationalization” of education. As is known, over the past two decades, hundreds of thousands of young and promising specialists with high qualifications in various fields have left Russia. Physicists, biologists, chemists, doctors, unclaimed at home, were necessary in the United States of America, the countries of Western and Eastern Europe, in China. They were attracted, first of all, by more profitable salaries, as well as working conditions, significantly different from Russian ones. Now that the state has transferred education to the Bologna model, eliminating, thereby, the differences between domestic and European levels of higher education, the task of further emigration of Russian specialists abroad has actually become easier. If before many of them had concerns about the relevance of Russian higher education diplomas or degrees in other states, now the diplomas are reduced to a single model. It means that the process of finding a job and studying in foreign corporations, educational institutions, research organizations has become much easier.
Strange as it may seem, but for some reason, the “higher efficiency” of Russian education is promoted by a general decline in the quality of knowledge of graduates of Russian universities. The implications of the introduction of the Unified State Examination of the Russian higher education are being cleared up right now - a large number of applicants have passed to universities, who could hardly have passed the entrance exams prior to the introduction of the Unified State Exam. But when they get to higher educational institutions, students face overloaded and tired teachers, with the administration, which focuses on organizing events, sports competitions and student participation in public events. At the same time, it becomes difficult to deduct students for academic failure, since the number of students and the number of defenders of diplomas also affects the teacher's rating. The staff of higher educational institutions say that the representatives of the administration during the session simply force them to affix satisfactory marks to almost all students, regardless of their real progress and level of knowledge.
Without education - nowhere
Another extremely serious problem is the loss of the educational functions of national education in the process of its modernization. For a long time, it was educational institutions that assumed a significant part of the functions of educating the younger generations, sharing educational functions with official youth organizations. After the dissolution of the Komsomol, the Russian state was never able to form a viable youth organization whose activities would cover a significant part of the Russian youth. All attempts to create youth structures focused on supporting the government’s course ended in failure. “Walking Together”, “Ours”, “Young Russia” could not unite and, even more so, engage in any systematic activity any significant number of young people - both in the capital and in provincial cities and rural areas.
only a qualified teacher will raise real children from the children
Accordingly, in the absence of a developed youth policy of the state, the only institution capable of performing educational functions (we will not consider the armed forces now - this is purely about the civilian segment of society) left educational institutions - schools, colleges and lyceums, institutes, universities, academies. However, in the institutions of higher professional education, the educational component gradually disappeared, which was the result of the adoption of pragmatic principles as the main guideline for the development of Russian higher education. In modern Russia, higher education is oriented towards the training of specialists who possess certain knowledge and skills and are in demand in the domestic and world labor markets. Up to the present, at a certain level, Russian universities have coped with this task, but for the sake of pragmatic interests, little attention has been paid to the implementation of the educational functions of the Russian education. The majority of Russian students “fell out” from the educational influence of the state, which immediately affected the value system, behavior and ideology of many young people and girls. After all, the lack of educational policy towards young people inevitably entails the spread of social deviations among young people, which can take an asocial form in the form of alcoholism, drug addiction and substance abuse, gambling, and an active antisocial form, manifested in the commission of crimes, in joining aggressive youth subcultures or radical and extremist organizations. The sensational history of the Moscow student Vari Karaulova is one of the most typical examples of the negative consequences of the loss of educational institutions by higher education institutions. Modern teachers are important that the student more or less tolerably studied, and what are his values, what he is interested in and does, the teaching staff is of the least interest today.
In the national classical educational tradition, the main goal was not only vocational training of the student, but also the formation of a “whole person”, a comprehensively developed person who, in addition to certain knowledge, would also have relevant moral and ethical qualities. This model was the basis of the educational policy of the Soviet state. The education of the student was regarded as an equally important function of education than his training. “Become people” of youth were helped by higher and secondary educational institutions, whose teaching staff was, in fact, educators of the younger generations. Thus, in contrast to the pragmatically oriented western education system, Russian education has always been distinguished by a humanistic orientation. The humanistic paradigm determined the development of the higher education system in the Soviet period and it was she who laid the foundation for the organization of the educational process to study not only professional, but also general developing disciplines, first of all - philosophy and national history. In 1990-s. the humanitarian component in higher education was even more strengthened - now even the future “techies” studied not only philosophy, but also sociology, psychology, other social and humanitarian subjects (depending on the specifics of a particular university). Today, the educational functions of universities are practically not implemented, and what university administrations call educational work is rather its profanation, performed for reporting and creating a positive image of a higher education institution. After all, various student organizations formed on the initiative of university administrations have no influence on the bulk of students, but are small groups of careerists who use them as an initial step towards the subsequent ascent of the career ladder in the education system or youth policy. Educational functions of educational institutions, by and large, are preserved only in educational institutions of law enforcement agencies.
The internationalization of education, carried out in the interests of Russia's integration into the “world educational space”, will inevitably entail further pragmatization of the higher education system. Meanwhile, the adoption of a pragmatic paradigm as a defining vector for the development of the higher education system poses a direct danger to the security of the country in terms of the “brain drain”, which has already been mentioned above. After all, the pragmatic paradigm directs students to search for the most highly paid jobs, orients them to the acquisition of specific knowledge that will be claimed by the future employer, but within its framework it is impossible to inculcate patriotic values, to educate a worthy citizen of their country.
A pragmatist who will be offered a lot of salary abroad for performing the same functions without hesitating to agree. After all, he has no limiters. On the other hand, it is difficult to imagine the assertion of pragmatism as the philosophy of educational institutions where the “basic intelligentsia” is prepared, that is, teachers, doctors, cultural workers. For this segment of the Russian system of higher education and the reduction of teaching staff, and the commercialization of universities, and their subordination to the needs of the market can be considered as annihilating, since it is possible to prepare a full-fledged doctor or teacher if he passes through the appropriate upbringing, is formed as an individual, then there is - learns not only professional knowledge, but also a certain model of behavior, ideas about morality, morality, about permissible and unacceptable acts. In the process of educating future specialists, an important role is played by special “teacher-student” relations, which are less and less common in the modern system of higher professional education.
The problems discussed are only a small part of the difficulties that Russia has already begun to face in the process of modernizing education. Of course, it will not be possible to avoid innovative changes in the higher education system of the Russian Federation, but, on the other hand, the state should control the process of modernization of education and direct it, guided by genuine state interests, and not the interests of transnational corporations, which are the main buyers of brainwashing on the world’s intellectual the market. Without a developed system of higher education, modern Russia cannot exist, but a developed higher school is not always a copy of Western experience and an attempt to keep up with another civilization. A developed higher school is the fundamental nature of education, professionalism, high moral qualities, patriotism and the preservation of Russian university traditions.
Photos used: http://www.centerasia.ru/, http://health.ej.by/.