Alexander Milkus, Laboratory Head at HSE, to Chair a Public Council at the Ministry of Education
A public council for the independent evaluation of the quality of education conditions has been created at the Ministry of Education of the Russian Federation. Alexander Milkus, Head of the HSE Laboratory for Educational and Youth Journalism, has been unanimously elected as its chair.
This new public council will be evaluating education conditions at federal public institutions (from preschool to secondary vocational education) and at organizations that receive federal budget funding for their activities.
‘There are not a lot of federal-level institutions of this kind’, said Alexander Milkus, ‘Previously, when there was one Ministry of Education and Science, universities also were included in this type of inspection. But what is important here, is that such external evaluation sets the high standard: what educational institutions should look like for the customer’.
The public council approved the indicators which will be used when inspecting educational institutions. First, this is the establishment’s website: whether it includes all the information necessary for the customer and if it has a feedback form. Second, they will check how comfortable the premises are, whether drinking water is available and toilets are clean. Third, disabled access to the buildings will be checked. Finally, they will look at how polite and friendly the staff are.
‘Of course, the quality of education is most important in the assessment of a school or educational centre’, Alexander Milkus, ‘But the studying atmosphere also plays a big role’.
Meanwhile, the creation of the council doesn’t mean that now there is one more institution that will impose fines on educational institutions. ‘Fortunately, this council has no responsibility to punish anyone’, Alexander Milkus explained.
As a result of a survey among educational process stakeholders and its evaluation by several criteria, the council will reveal the institutions that treat their students and visitors respectfully, as well as those that need improvement in terms of the atmosphere. After that, together with executives of the ‘troubled’ organizations, the council will look into the reasons for this and for the resources that can be used to fix the problem. In addition, the council will consider local reports on the results of independent assessment and look for the ways to solve these problems together with local ministers.
‘I think we’ll be cooperating with similar local councils’, Alexander Milkus noted, ‘Ideally, I would like to develop a ranking system together with our colleagues from different regions: the country’s most polite school; the best educational institution website; the kindergarten with the most comfortable atmosphere etc. Often, in order to develop an educational institution, its director needs to see an example of how others have managed to do this’.
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