Converting Russia’s Educational Potential into Capital
At ‘Crossroads and Prospects for the Development of Russian Education’, a special session held as part of the XVIII April Conference, experts discussed the section related to education from a recent report on the strategy of Russia’s development by the Centre for Strategic Research. Since investments in education have an effect after 15-20 years, participants analyzed development prospects up to 2035.
The main goal of the strategy is to accelerate economic growth as a way to ensure public well-being. Problem areas, including education, are discussed in the context of this goal, said HSE Rector Yaroslav Kuzminov.
Today, Russia is losing about 10-12% of GDP, as the education system does not provide people with a full set of required competencies, about 25% of students do not comprehend core concepts in mathematics, natural and social sciences, or the humanities. Their employment and career prospects are deteriorating, they find it difficult to adapt to work and earn little. However, the situation is not hopeless: the experience of several countries shows that significant reductions can be made in the number of unsuccessful students, believes Kuzminov. For instance, Finland succeeded in reducing this number to 5-7%.
Isak Frumin, Academic Supervisor of HSE Institute of Education, says that ‘we live in an educating society’ — there is a good foundation for future development in Russian education. Universal access to preschool education for children aged 3 to 7 years is guaranteed, and the number of schools requiring major repairs has decreased. Furthermore, Russia has also made a breakthrough in the PISA — an international study of education quality — with the country’s results in reading and mathematics being comparable with the average results across the OECD. The difference in the average salary of university graduates with all the others in Russia is one of the largest in Europe. Previously only Moscow State University was in the top 100 in global subject rakings, but now a dozen more universities have also joined the list.
At the same time, Russia is not rich. As Yaroslav Kuzminov stresses, we are ahead of other countries in our income group in terms of education development, since this resource can be compared with oil in recent years. The main problem now is how to turn this potential into capital, said Froumin. Current education financing does not provide the conditions for development. Russia lags behind all the countries it competes with by percentage of GDP on education, and expenditures on education in the consolidated budget have reduced since 2013.
The share of the students who cannot cope with general education programmes continue their studies in technical colleges where the quality of education that gives them functional literacy is very low; these colleges have no support programmes for these students, as is the case in Finland, for example. No one has tried to solve this problem in Russia. While general education has been purposefully improved in schools, almost half of the students obtain it in colleges. Differences in the education outcomes in families with different social statuses are increasing, as children from certain social classes concentrate in certain schools. Poverty and low social mobility, which are dangerous for the country’s social stability, are increasing.
The so called ‘new literacy’ (financial, medical, legal), which wasn’t necessary 20-30 years ago, hasn’t yet been formed in schools, colleges and universities. The formation of key competencies of the 21st century (teamwork, problem solving, project activities, etc.) is not a target function of general and higher education. Motivation and interest in learning are falling, despite the fact that motivated study is a main driver of success and a prerequisite for initiative among the population. Continuing education in Russia is not mandatory, and the level of skills upgrading among the adult population in Russia is three times lower than in competitor countries. Graduates are not only unprepared to make innovations, but they are also unable to quickly assess and develop innovations by others.
Thus, considering the advantages of Russian education and the elimination of the problems identified, we will have to understand how to enhance the contribution that education makes to economic growth and technological modernization, how to apply it to ensuring social mobility and stability, and to enhancing Russia’s global influence.
On April 14, 2017, Andreas Schleicher, Director for the Directorate of Education and Skills at OECD, spoke at the XVIII April Conference at Higher School of Economics (HSE). In 1999, he invented the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), one of the biggest international comparative studies of education quality. His honorary lecture was dedicated to global trends in the transformation of national education systems.
An important area being researched today is the relationship between universities and the government in the formation of socioeconomic policy, and this discussion was raised at the international seminar ‘Universities, Inclusive Development, and Social Innovation’ that took place as part of HSE’s XVIII April International Academic Conference.
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Why did Trump win the election? Who votes for right-wing xenophobic populist parties? How do we account for Brexit? Ronald Inglehart, Academic Supervisor of HSE Laboratory for Comparative Social Research, traces the change in public opinion to rising inequality and the resulting cultural xenophobic backlash and prevailing feeling of insecurity.
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The International Symposium on Economics and Sociology of Education is being held on April 11-14 as part of the XVIII April Conference on Economic and Social Development. On April 11, experts discussed the dynamics of educational outcomes in Russia and beyond (based on data culled from international projects to monitor the quality of education) at a roundtable session organized by the World Bank.
At this year’s April Conference on Economic and Social Development, speakers in the first expert discussion on strategies for Russia’s development discussed growth prospects for the Russian economy. The main speaker was Chairman of the Board at the Centre for Strategic Research, Alexei Kudrin.
The XVIII April International Academic Conference has kicked off at Higher School of Economics (HSE). This major event includes expert discussions on the strategic problems facing Russia’s economic and social development. Representatives of the Russian Government will take part in the debates.
‘By Observing Best Educational Practices at the International Level, Schools and Universities Can Improve Efficiency’
Tommaso Agasisti, Associate Professor at the Politecnico di Milano School of Management, researches management and economics of the public sector and teaches business administration, accounting, and control & performance management. In an interview with the HSE News Service ahead of his presentation at the XVIII April International Academic Conference on Economic and Social Development, he spoke about his recent research and the importance of taking a multi-country perspective to today’s questions of education reform.
XVIII April Conference to Discuss ‘Hidden Champions’, Building Social Networks, and the Economics of Sport
From April 11 to 14, HSE is holding its XVIII April International Academic Conference on Economic and Social Development. Conference Programme Committee members Fuad Alekserov and Andrei Yakovlev discuss the key themes and main reports that will be presented at the conference. This conference will draw around 2,000 people, including 200 international participants.