Modern Russian society lives and develops in a rapidly changing world
Univerzita Jana Amose Komenského Praha
On the basis of a critical evaluation of the current state of higher education in Russia for the most up to date trends and tendencies of its development, we consider : the extension and intensification of the learning process, the adjustment of the content and forms of realization of educational programs in high school , updating the material – appearance of technical basics universities, the emergence of the universities of the new generation.
Meaning of tendency - Trend or tendenciozio (from latin tendo . – giving ) - Possibility of a certain event or situation to develop in a particular way.
Key words: higher education, innovations, university of new generation , active methods of education, trends and tendency
Modern Russian society lives and develops in a rapidly changing world, meaning that continuous and ongoing development has become a necessary condition of existence for the modern citizen. The main mechanism for this development is a system of modern education which is built on processes of systematization, creative processing, and the well organised absorption of the sociocultural experiences of preceding generations. Many aspects, such as the welfare of the population of the state, the state’s economic stability, and the foreign-policy status of the state, necessitate a level of education that corresponds to the important queries of the time. At the moment, there are a lack of innovation processes in Russian higher education, and this propels the development of higher education in Russia to the level of a priority task.
Today, the most popular model in Russian higher education is the classic model which was born in Soviet epoch and is still in extensive use. This traditional system of higher education has inherited the utilitarian approach to traditional educational activities. It examines the methods of and aims to reproduce aspects of working power as a means of gaining knowledge, abilities, and skills. A sense of duty, industriousness, and the ability to memorize are at the core of this classic model of higher education. However, this approach generates a number of intractable problems; an objective contradiction has arisen between the necessity of bringing the modern system of higher education into accordance with post-industrial culture and the domination of a rational paradigm, which has exhausted cultural and socio-economic adequacy.
The necessitates the creation and implementation of the models and trends of modern education, which will help to prepare and educate professionals who are capable of working in a team structure and are able to take over all responsibilities in critical situations, as well as professionals who can think beyond standard approaches to problems and have the ability to search for innovative methods for solving real-world problems.
In the middle of the 19th century, Russia made the choice to officially join the Bologna declaration. The key requirements and basics of this system formed the basis of the modernization of higher education in Russia. Foremost, these multi-level processes included professional preparation, reorientation of the pedagogical process from the absorption of knowledge, abilities, and skills to forming vital and professionally meaningful competencies, the creation of a system of quality management within education, and the provision of academic mobility for students, etc. Inclusion into the Bologna process allowed the Russian system of higher education to adopt the mode of innovative development and become integrated into the world’s educational environment.
The expansion and intensification of this process is now one of the main tendencies in the development of higher education in Russia.
In the near future, higher educational institutions that wish to be included in world rankings will have to find a way to strengthen their personnel structure by inviting leading scientists, researchers, managers, and other specialists from abroad into their educational activities.
If there are lack of necessary conditions in an educational institution for adequately bringing on board such highly educated personnel, then the institution will inevitably return to the level of “ordinary”, with eventual stagnation occurring as a result. Therefore, educational institutions will need to increase their competitiveness by means of internal financial investment, as well as institutional modernization.
Another obvious trend in the development of higher education is the urgent need to adjust and update the methods used in the creation of academic content for university education programs, with the aim of matching these to the current level of humanitarian and scientific knowledge, and its technological support.
This tendency has a systemic connection to the revitalization of the personnel working within the educational institution, as described above. Bringing on board external experts, together with the creation of new, additional content within educational programs, will bring about appropriate and modernized forms of teaching.
As a result of this, the standard lecture and seminary model will be significantly modified, and the independence of students will increase significantly, especially in the choice of ways of understanding educational programs.
The role of university teachers in the pedagogical process will change as well, being reoriented from merely communicating the subject to students to enabling the process of student self-searching and mastery of relevant information.
Online courses, discussions, educational games, training, ratings, and other similar tools will become prominent in educational processes.
Higher education will cease to be only reproductive, and will transform into voluntary and internally deterministic student activity, enabling them to both produce and transform their own experience and competence.
The next key area to consider in the development of Russia’s renewal processes in higher education is the material and technical base of higher educational institutions.
The entire infrastructure of Russia’s educational system is in need of modernization in terms of both qualitative and quantitative dimensions.
The application of modern trends in higher education has a lot of support from both the Russian government and the educational personnel working for leading Russian universities.
Similar trends are currently evident in sports, fashion, economics, as well as education, and over the last decades, the active implementation of pedagogical innovations and computer training methods have become more and more popular, with the aim of improving the quality subsequent results of education.
The ultimate quality of education programs is the determining criterion for assessing the effectiveness of innovative learning technologies, as was the case with traditional higher education models.
When it comes to modern educational trends, the following aspects should be identified, as should facts which might necessitate changes being applied to educational content:
First, the creation of new conditions and active learning methodologies, which are the basis of the educational paradigm.
Second, the demands of society for preparing functionally literate individuals who can think critically and are capable of continuously updating their knowledge, self-training and retraining, and changing or adjusting their abilities for a successful life in a rapidly changing world.
New forms for the presentation of educational material, new methods of working with new educational means, and methods of measuring the independent cognitive activity of students using the latest computer technologies will help to achieve the best result and increase the activity of students and the effectiveness of the entire educational process.
Based on information that has been provided by rectors from the leading universities in Moscow, it has been possible to highlight a number of the most important trends in the improvement of the systems inherent in modern higher education in Russia.
The first trend is computer technology. Many Russian universities do not have well-developed computer systems. Computer learning technology is not only a trend, but is a combination of methods, forms, and effects on a student during the process of their educational development. Computer technologies should be seen not only as a simple addition to existing teaching methods, but also as a powerful way to achieve an elevated level of visibility of necessary learning materials and an opportunity to expand the variety of interactive educational activities, including academic feedback and support
This makes it possible to revive and boost the dynamism of the learning process and helps to increase students’ interest in the material they study, while also adding new elements to the educational program.
Nowadays, in the world of information technology, a lot of attention is payed to the developing sector of smart devices and mobile applications. Analysis of the current market has found that tablets and smartphones are one of the most promising directions of development in the near future.
How can smartphones, tablets, and other smart devices aid educational processes? Increasingly, we see that mobile technologies are being utilised by students in areas such as: gathering information from the online encyclopaedia Wikipedia, in the use of translator programs, information visualization, viewing video lectures, taking tests or surveys online, as well as in various laboratory experiments.
With transitions to wireless networks, the proliferation of smart terminals, the progression of smart devices, and the expansion of the mobile office, a new type of society has emerged in which the majority of trained people using prepared material, technical means, services, and the internet itself, which leads to qualitative changes in the interaction of subjects and has positive economic and educational impacts.
When used in education, the Smart-medium creates the right conditions for the implementation of the UNESCO guiding principles of education in the 21st century: ‘creating education for all and lifelong learning, Smart-learning will improve access to education at any time and from any location.’
Smart-learning is the second trend which consists of merging online distribution and software content in multimedia educational programs.
Key aspects of the current Smart-learning include the creation of flexible and open learning environments, using mobile devices to aid learning, and creating open educational resources and management systems.
The Smart-Learning environment supports the above principles proclaimed by UNESCO, that education is for everyone, and for life. Smart-learning will help to increase the availability of education at anytime and anywhere.
The main goal of Smart-learning systems is to create an environment which will provide a high level of competitive education through the development of students' knowledge and skills applicable to 21st century society, which include: cooperation, communication, social responsibility, the ability to think critically, quickly, and efficiently, and of course, problem solving.
The need to develop an integrated intellectual learning environment requires a high standard of Smart technologies and the encouragement of their penetration into everyday life.
If everything is done correctly, then Smart-learning systems can be a great tool for the presentation of educational content, conducting collaborative educational projects, and improving the quality of communications, surveys, tests, and the application of new teaching methods.
Distance learning and education through webinars can be allocated as the third important trend in education. In Russia today, this practice is very common, although still not widespread enough because of a lack of computer equipment. Also, the financing of higher education remains on par with updating educational standards and systems. Teachers and students react positively to these changes, as it means they can keep pace not only with the rapidly developing world, but also allows them to gain knowledge from other world-leading educational systems and practices.
Education outside of the university sphere is presented as another supplementing trend in modern education. This means that learning is not only based on theory, but also includes research and the successful application of knowledge in practice. At the same time, students are immersed into history, culture, and politics through a wide range of tasks which are put in front of them.
The fourth trend in modern education is social media. Facebook, Google apps, the website Wiki edits, podcasts for distribution of audio or video files on the Internet, blogs, video hosting sites such as YouTube, Cloud technology - all of these can and should be used in education.
For example, blogs and online forums present a great opportunity for feedback to take place between teachers and students, and with the help of YouTube, video lectures can be posted online to be watched at anytime and from anywhere in the world.
The fifth trend affects a narrow field of education, and is associated with the methods of teaching natural sciences (learning sciences). While the teacher should not lose sight of the fundamental concepts and notions within this filed, students also need to work with real problems and situations. Education is social process, which is why in the process of teaching, science teachers should use newly developed technologies more often, such as distance learning and forming working cohort groups, which encourages the dissemination of accepted knowledge between students.
Another prominent trend in global education is STEAM. This sixth trend is a form of new educational technology that combines several academic areas, and is a tool for developing critical thinking, research competencies, and the skills needed to work in a group.
The acronym STEAM stands for:
S - science
T - technology
E - engineering
A - art
M - mathematics
Science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics are the most popular academic disciplines in the world today. STEAM is an educational plan which is based on the idea of teaching students through an interdisciplinary and applied approach. Instead of studying these five disciplines separately, STEAM integrates them into a single scheme of education, and importantly encourages the use of technology to allow student to collectively work on projects.
As a discipline, STEAM encourages students to utilise the right hemisphere of the brain, which is responsible for creativity, emotions, and feelings. There are already many examples of successful design work being created through use of this technology. How STEAM will influence the learning process in one, five, or even ten years from now is yet to be seen.
Trends in education are changing dynamically, and are influenced by many factors. No matter how successful traditional teaching methods are, modern reality requires that we search for new and effective forms of learning.
How and what should be taught today, to create successful students tomorrow, is the main ideology of modern education.
Instilling self-learning skills throughout our lives, teaching cooperation at different levels, developing independent and critical thinking: these and many other principles constitute the strategy for the development of modern educational technologies.
There is one marked and fundamental trend that is one of the prerequisites for the development of the Russian system of higher education; the appearance of the country's new generation of universities, based on completely new educational and methodological principles. This trend is consistent with the laws of the development of educational systems on a global, worldwide scale.
Each historical epoch produces its own characteristic needs for professional training and education, not least due to the specifics of the dominant mode of production of the time.
For instance, at various periods of time the leading types of higher institutions were either classical, industrial, or research based, each meeting the contemporary demand for acquiring common knowledge, developing new scientific ideas, or for facilitating industrial growth.
The realities of modern times have given rise to the need for a new type of university model, which most experts define as "innovative". Education within this new type of university system is aimed at training people how to carry out the transformation of existing socio-cultural experience, and also how to design new, previously non-existent public benefit human activities.
The demand for these types professionals in the near future will grow rapidly both in Russia and around the world, a prediction that stems from the results of analysis of the geopolitical situation, and the challenges of our times.
Increasing competition in the international arena, the rapid development of technology, economic uncertainty, and global financial crises necessitate training and educating people through an educational system that encourages learners to go beyond generally accepted ideas, and to be capable overcoming large-scale and widespread problems despite adverse circumstances.
It should be said that the innovations discussed here do not in any way diminish the importance of existing higher education formats. Of course, universities of this new type, which have incorporated progressive educational potential into their educational model, have taken the lead in the modernization of the Russian higher education system.
However, both classical and industry-focused universities will continue to solve the inherent problem of emboldening and strengthening the national economy. While many areas of the Russian higher education system go through a process of renewal, universities employing the traditional educational model at the local level and in regions with well-established social and economic infrastructure will continue to be of vital importance.
However, the analysis of general trends in the development of the Russian higher education system provide a basis for the introduction of a revision of outdated models in and the implementation of modern trends and standards, which will allow Russia to return as one of the worlds’ strongest economic players in upcoming decades.
As the Minister of Education and Science of the Russian Federation D. V. Livanov, notes: ‘the central processes of new formation will be communication and intellectual technologies aimed at solving urgent problems, and the highest form of educational activity will be in the areas of strategic projects and teamwork.’
We should not have any illusions that these transformations can occur spontaneously or can be provided externally. We need to clearly assess the capabilities of the Russian higher education system, bearing in mind the current systems’ inherent conservatism and inertia. At the present time the Russian education system cannot directly compete with global educational systems, for a number of reasons
The problems of funding, lack of technology, and absence of international specialists, are very urgent ones. At the same time, any blind copying and borrowing of the characteristics of higher education systems that work successfully under the conditions of other countries that have significant cultural, political, and economic differences from the reality in Russia will be doomed to have merely a temporary and limited effect.
To restore the international competitiveness of Russian higher education, critical analysis, rethinking, and the rational use of the best international practices is strongly needed. Such a balanced approach will establish the necessary guidelines required, and will be the most effective mechanism for reforming the Russian system of higher education in the next decade.
Problems within Russian higher education are now being actively discussed in the press, by the online community, and by the government. Although, of course, this is not the first time that reforming the education system has provoked mixed assessment within the wider community.
Also, teachers themselves have not remained on the side-lines – they themselves are trying to find the best way to solve these underlying problems and find the right direction for development at professional forums and conferences. Concurrently, the government is making promises to implement innovations and appears to be committed to the overall improvement of the Russian university system, including applying the trends of modern education discussed here.
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