Breakthrough Solutions to Lead the Way in Modernizing Education
On April 11, the educational portion of the XIX April International Academic Conference featured a presentation and discussion of the paper ‘12 Solutions for New Education,’ which was prepared by the Higher School of Economics and the Centre for Strategic Development.
These 12 solutions make up a greater programme focused on looking at the entire spectrum of changes that are needed, noted HSE Rector Yaroslav Kuzminov. Different scenarios are possible in carrying out these solutions, but the inertia or non-monetary options have been excluded as a matter of principle. The government does, however, have other social obligations, and the education system cannot therefore count on the maximum amount of desired financing. Because of this, of the proposed projects and subprojects it is necessary to select the most important ones and determine what can be given up, Yaroslav Kuzminov added.
Currently, four important areas have been selected based on discussions with the professional community: aligning children’s educational opportunities, reforming high school education, creating the conditions for adults to pursue continuing education, and ensuring equal access to quality professional education.
Yaroslav Kuzminov noted that 60% of families are ready to invest in education, and co-financing mechanisms do not have to touch the laws set forth by the Russian Constitution concerning free education. It is also important to attract money from businesses and use state and private partnerships to solve the problems education faces with infrastructure. Another resource for change is the development of the digital environment, which can be used to achieve results with fewer costs than if traditional forms alone were used.
According to the Head of the HSE Institute of Education Isak Froumin, Russia has a high level of educational attainment, but higher access to education does not lead to an increase in workforce productivity. In OECD countries with higher incomes, 70% of the national wealth consists of the human potential that is capitalised in intellectual products and services. In Russia, however, this figure is only 48%. But education is not hostage to imperfect labour market institutions or a bad business climate; the problem is the insufficient quality of education. For example, we have not yet been adequately successful at giving schoolchildren the tools of the 21st century. According to research conducted by PISA, fewer than 2% of Russian schoolchildren achieve the highest level of the three foundational literacy concepts, whereas 6.5% of South Korean students do.
Another problem is that Russia is incredibly behind competing countries as concerns education financing, Isak Froumin noted. Over the last few years, the level of real financing in education has dropped considerably, and there are simply not enough funds. It is therefore difficult to introduce the necessary methods for improving education. A classic example is notebooks for schoolchildren, notebooks that make the learning process more comfortable. The Russian regions are not prepared to spend budgetary funds on them every year, and parents are not ready to spend their own money since they believe that general education should be completely free.
Russian Presidential Aide and Former Education and Science Minister Andrei Fursenko explained that the authors of the paper aimed to answer two questions – how can education promote the country’s development, and how can education spending be used to guarantee that each person is able to realise his or her potential. The question of how those who work in education will feel is also important, but minor.
During the discussion, Moscow Department of Education Chief Isaak Kalina said it was necessary to factor in not only economic efficiency indicators for attracting additional funds for the education system, but also social and pedagogical ones as well, as done in Moscow. He added that an increase in budgetary spending on education does not need to be dragged out over the course of several years; Moscow’s experience shows that a 1.5-year allocation of larger financing provides a lasting effect.
The President of the Russian publishing house Prosveshchenie Vladimir Uzun noted the importance of creating new ‘digital schools’ in Russia that would become modern centres for education, and he suggested starting by transforming high schools. Businesses are also prepared to participate in this programme, so the money the government invests can be doubled in this case. ‘Financial models and roadmaps have already been prepared, and barriers have been identified that prevent private businesses from investing in education. Concrete steps have been set to help get rid of these [barriers],’ Vladimir Uzun concluded.
The Head of the Talent and Success Foundation Elena Shmeleva said that working with talent is a core factor in the country’s economic success. She believes it is critical for representatives of science and higher education, as well as mentors from the business sector, to teach gifted children. They are the ones who will become the ‘drivers of meaning,’ and it is under this model that the Sirius Educational Centre in Sochi is already operating.
The report entitled ‘Twelve Solutions for New Education’, prepared by the Higher School of Economics and the Centre for Strategic Development, was presented at the XIX April International Academic Conference. Professors Martin Carnoy and Tomasso Agasisti, international experts on education and conference guests, have shared their views on the issues and initiatives highlighted in the report.
One of the roundtables held during the XIX April Academic Conference featured a discussion of the report on morphology of Russian cities presented by Robert Buckley, Senior Fellow in the Graduate Program in International Affairs at The New School, US. The report looked at what Russian cities look like in terms of population density, how the patterns Russian cities exhibit compare with those of other cities around the world, and what individual behaviours might have contributed to the appearance of a certain pattern.
The notion that Karl Marx's works have been studied inside and out is fundamentally incorrect. The huge body of his manuscripts has still not been completely processed, and his seminal work, Capital, was only recently published with the final edits of the author. The 19th April Conference at the Higher School of Economics included the section ‘Methodology of Economic Science’ which was devoted to the work of the German philosopher and political scientist. Independent researcher and professor from Berlin, Thomas Kuczynski, gave a presentation at the conference which pointed out numerous aspects of Marx’s continuous rethinking of allegedly fixed truths.
During a plenary session of the HSE XIX April International Academic Conference, participants discussed the technological future of the Russian economy and how it relates to objectives such as speeding up economic growth and improving the quality of life.
These days, no scientific research is carried out without the use of digital media for the production or dissemination of knowledge. The term ‘Digital Humanities’ reflects this process and constitutes a scientific field where humanists not only aim to use a certain software, but also to understand research using quantitative semantics. However, digital infrastructures are not the same globally. In her talk at the HSE April International Academic Conference Dr Gimena del Rio Riande addressed various issues that arise in connection with digital humanities.
Slower GDP growth rates over the last several years were brought about by changes on international markets and the exhaustion of transformational bonuses due to the transition from a planned economy to a market economy, and this slowdown proves the necessity of looking for new solutions for stimulating the economy. The authors of the paper ‘Structural Changes in the Russian Economy and Structural Policy’ conducted a large-scale analysis on structural policy in Russia and around the world, as well as on possible ways for this policy to develop further. The first presentation of the paper took place as part of the plenary session called ‘Structural Policy in Russia: New Conditions and a Possible Agenda,’ which closed out HSE’s XIX April International Academic Conference.
The winner of the 2018 award is Ina Ganguli, Professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The American researcher stood out for her series of articles analysing the productivity of Russian scientists in the 1990s, as well as their decisions concerning emigration and the impact that emigration had on the diffusion of Russian science in the United States.
The subject of the risks and challenges related to sanctions on Russia is crucial in defining a number of different areas of economic policy. Participants in the round table focused on improving the business environment as one of the ways of responding to sanctions, exchanged opinions during the 19th April International Academic Conference on Economic and Social Development about how to move into positive economic growth while under this external pressure.
Russia Has the Resources for a Budget Manoeuvre That Helps Education, Healthcare, and Social Welfare
Issues concerning changes pertinent to key social spheres were discussed during the ‘Human Capital and Social Policy’ plenary session of the XIX April International Academic Conference on Economic and Social Development.
The development of a national data management system, along with its architecture and ontology, is one of the key issues for a future cabinet, believes Maxim Akimov, First Deputy of the Chief of the Government Staff of the Russian Federation. A discussion at a panel session on data in the digital era at the XIX April International Academic Conference at HSE looked into the key challenges in regards to Russian statistics and possible responses to them.