Under these conditions humanitarian training of any specialist becomes not only a means to improve the overall culture, but also a way to adapt to a rapidly changing social reality and a tool for its construction. Ultimately, humanitarian training does form that defines today prospects for personal growth and the creative potential of the individual.
In consideration of the increasing role of intercultural communication, the intensification of migration flows and other factors there will be inevitably rapprochement between Russia and Europe in the field of humanities. But in this way, there are certain problems.
Not long ago, the teaching of some subjects was equated with preaching immorality because basic moral values, such as the sense of responsibility for people and for nature, were neglected.
It is necessary to learn one very trivial thing: there are some strategic spheres (transport, power engineering, strategic materials), including education, which even in highly developed capitalist countries are not farmed out to the market. These spheres are too closely connected with national interests and state security. They have never been settled on the level of private business however powerful it may be. Handing these spheres over to business means inevitable collapse of the state. Russia's experience of the past years proved the truth of it.
The quality of students` knowledge depends on three factors: set of subjects, quality of teachers themselves and quality of textbooks.
The programmes themselves have attracted criticism, much of their justified, for excessive bureaucratic regulation. This is partly down to the poor quality of the programs themselves, and partly down to the bureaucratic barriers that stand in the way of the introduction of the most advanced education technologies. Unfortunately curricular plans for training specialists and undergraduates for all spheres of industry (for a five/four year term of study), developed according to the Federal State Educational Standards are limited in planning for humanitarian and social sciences. The block of social sciences includes subjects from Philosophy to Russian language and Literature. The time allocated for every subject allows to only get acquainted with the subjects offered at best. It is absolutely impossible to learn philosophy, history, foreign languages, logic or rhetoric for 36 hours. That is you can master them on the level of senior classes at school.
The other is the quality of teaching, which means the quality of teachers. The quality of teaching is rather low. It happens to a considerable degree because the majority of teachers are not researchers. They use textbooks written by “scientists”. The problem is that these scientists are dilettanti themselves. They may be doctors or academicians but their level of knowledge does not correspond to the modern realities. Not because they are not clever and educated. The reason is that in modern Russia after 1992 no research in the sphere of the theory was done, but without theoretical knowledge, discussion of issues may either be of empirical character or at the level of sound reasoning, which is good in private life, but rather harmful in understanding of strategic phenomena in any field. It is only one, but very important reason.
The reform of educational system is doomed to failure not because of its methodic premises, but mostly because of poor financing. What's the use talking of reforms when the education budget is 12 bln. rubles.
Is it worth talking of the reform when the government budget is about 11000 bln rubles, the average salary of teachers 6000 - 10 000 rubles (the state debt to the teachers is about 1bln rubles); a professor's salary is lower than that of a yard-keeper. And so on and so forth.
The next problem is tuition fees. Financing - diversification of financial sources instead of a reliance solely on state financing; the reduction of free-fees places for Humanitarian directions of training in such fields as History, Journalism, Sociology, Linguistic, Philosophy, Culture and Arts, etc.
The Russian Constitution (article 43, § 3) guarantees everyone the right to get higher education free of charge on a basis of competition. Adhering the law, the Government allocates funding to pay the tuition fees within an established quota / number of students for each state institution. Traditionally the size of quota varies from institution to institution and from one field (discipline) to another. It depends on the share of state in the institution's budget, demands from state bodies in a region, social programs and other, sometimes rather subjective estimates. Last year nearly 40% of graduates didn't pay tuition fees.
On top of the quotas described above, the universities are free to enroll students on a fee-paying basis and have the right to define the fee for their programmes according to the market price and demand.
The Modernization strategy aims to establish a system ensuring effective operation and use of resources, independent quality monitoring and control and efficient information flow to the learners. The Government must guarantee 1) adequate and free of charge information to the education institutions and control of the trustworthiness of the information; 2) independent and public control of the education quality, validation of the education programs, unified national tests at the secondary to tertiary education threshold; 3) subsidization of education. The two mechanisms presented further target to enhance the choices of the learners, increase effectiveness of the expenditures and promote equity. The proposed schemes operate in conjunction.
The root of the problem lies in the fact that the authorities regard the education sector as the main instrument of modernization and competitiveness in name only, but not in deed.
Russia joined the process of forming common higher education area four years later after the Bologna Declaration was signed (in full, Joint declaration of the European Ministers of Education convened in Bologna on the 19 June 1999). The Bologna process seems to be considered by the majority of higher education representatives as the reform agenda one should work with. Having signed the Declaration, the Ministry of Education made explicit its commitment to the aims of integration to the All-European higher education space:
• introduction of two-tier system of education,
• creation of a credit system similar to the European Credit Transfer System as a means of raising mobility of students, teachers, researchers and administrative staff of universities,
• adoption of the common framework approach to qualification of the Bachelor and Master levels, provision of "comparability" of diplomas, separate courses, credits,
• creation of an integral system of education quality assurance and organization of information support and exchange,
• increase of mobility of students, teachers and researchers,
• development of cooperation in quality assurance with a view to develop comparable criteria and methodologies.
But there is not much academic mobility in Russia: Although some of the best students from every region do apply every year to the top schools in Moscow and Saint Petersburg, local universities continue to enjoy captive markets in their home regions.
It is necessary to educate students to be devoted to high ideals, patriotism, and to cherish the scientific and social achievements of their great compatriots. During the hard period in which Russians are now living, this would be a definite contribution to the creation of the character of future intellectuals.
Modern society must realize the value of human relations. To review and reconstruct Russian society, without taking humanistic values into consideration, is certainly impossible. Student must first of all be made humanitarian, and only then will the method of approaching problems systematically be mastered. It involves particular psychological processes, such as imaginative ways of thinking and intuition, which include not only thorough professional knowledge but also a developed sense of fantasy, a rich imagination and associative-thinking capacities. It is obvious that a technologist needs general culture, but it is difficult to touch a student's heart with this simple truth. The humanization of education consists, not only of including humanitarian disciplines in the curriculum, but also of humanizing every type of education.
The perfecting of a human being is achieved through culture and education. Unfortunately in Russia, education existed for a long time divorced from moral values. The current deficit in terms of culture, the graduates' intellectual level, is the most urgent problem. The concept of the humanization of higher education is being disseminated through the chairs of humanitarian knowledge. Humanitarian education presupposes the extension of individual and independent work by students. Clearly it would be desirable to have a concept of engineering humanitarian education for technologists developed by UNESCO.
A famous Russian writer and humanist, Dostoyevsky, said that "when education begins with technology, no Aristotles will appear. But when education begins with an Aristotle, great discoveries are made and expansion of thought emerges."
Most students are able to solve technical tasks but there are not enough specialists who are able to analyze the results of their experiments or foresee the results and the consequences of their activities.
A modern engineer has to learn to adapt to the common culture. Students need to learn to cultivate their receptivity to the different processes and forms of culture, because culture can, actually, nourish the individual personality. As we meditate on the way to perfect the "human being," we must realize that the only means is through culture and education. Unfortunately, education has existed for a long time with clear deficiencies in spiritual culture. This cultural and intellectual deficiency among university graduates is one of the major problems we face today.
Adding humanitarian principles to technical education is a very complicated problem. First of all, it is necessary to revise the traditional opinion about humanitarian education. We are under a delusion that humanitarian education is the responsibility of the humanities, only. The humanitarian component must be included in all branches of education. It needs the closest co-ordination and interdependence between humanitarian and technical education and the correlation between the courses in the humanities and the courses in the sciences.
Andrei Sakharov, one of the creators of Russian nuclear technology, never forgot the moral responsibility of the scientist and was vigorously opposed to nuclear weapons.
"If my subject is chemistry," says Nechaev, a Russian chemist, "I must look into its human aspect, because typical problems of ecology and human health are connected with chemical developments which are not human-oriented."
Berdyaev, Russian philosopher of the first half of XX century, believed that "creative work is the highest mission of a person."
A Russian philosopher at the beginning of the XX century, Florensky, said that "culture is necessary to nurture and foster the personality."
Culture is a life-enhancing environment. The student must be introduced to different kinds of cultural layers, to be able to cultivate in himself or herself, a sensitivity to different processes and forms of culture, including at the international level.
The development of creative thinking must become the fundamental purpose of education. The forming of such creative thinking is the sphere where the humanities can carry a valuable contribution. It is possible to develop creative thinking if you have the following goals for humanitarian education:
an understanding of society's nature and human culture, as well as of the position of personality in the human relationship system
the ability to apprehend the different aspects of culture in its unity, to understand the importance, complementarity and interaction of different cultures
the ability to see the human aspect of science, technology and production
mastering the bases of scientific analysis of social systems including conceptual and technological ones
It is essential to think not only of the students graduating today but also of those who will work in the next century. In the present world, it is essential to realize the role played by universities, regarding humanistic ideas, since universities are charged with the responsibility of preparing graduates suitable for the 21st century.
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