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Minister Livanov Will Double Fursenko’s Deeds

Minister Livanov Will Double Fursenko’s Deeds

New Minister of Education and Science of Russia Dmitry Livanov considers that the number of government-subsidized students should be reduced twice. He declared it a day before the appointment in the interview to "The Russian Newspaper” published on Tuesday. "The matter is not in the number of higher education institutions. But in the quantity of students who study at the expense of the state. I think, this figure can be reduced twice with simultaneous increase of financing for remaining places", - the minister told.

"It is obvious that there should be less places, thus the cost of one student should be much higher. Not 60 thousand as now, but 200-250 thousand rubles. As soon as we pass from the system of general free higher education to the paid one, there will appear mechanisms which will help to involve valuable staff to the enterprises. For example, credit for education. If good education will cost a lot and a person is compelled to pay for it, he can take credit and future employer will pay it off in exchange for obligations", - Dmitry Livanov told.

According to him, for example, now "the country doesn’t have special need in engineers", thus there are three times more places in higher education institutions than earlier.


From editorial board: As always it doesn't happen that a person is totally wrong – there’s, of course, a grain of truth in the words of the new minister. Existing system of the higher education in the Russian Federation (and not only in the Russian Federation) produces "professional unemployed". But it’s not the problem of system of the higher education – no one is guilty that we received from the USSR high school system focused on the future, while there’s 20-years setback in the former national economy.

But the minister doesn't offer anything that would change discrepancy between quality of education and request for it from the part of economy.

Firstly, it is natural that such discrepancy being stretched for decades turned higher education into "transcendental object", knowledge received in higher education institution hardly corresponds to the job of the future graduate in real life.

Secondly, the problem of compliance of a number of graduates and requirements of the national economy can't be solved from one side, from the side of education system - accurate demand for experts of a certain profile is necessary from the side of branches. But this demand can’t be formed, as production of goods continues to get reduced, most intensively it happens in those spheres where the highest qualification of the personnel is necessary - in comparison with the current year industrial production in the country fell by 5,5 percent, it leads to that the new minister says that “the country doesn’t have special need in engineers".

Thirdly, the market mechanism can't solve this task in principle - in order increase in production, first of all of industrial, causes serious demand for experts with higher education, it is necessary that its level was comparable to an era of accelerated industrialization. While this era is in the past. We live in the era of recession and disintegration.

Our country, however, knows the period when the national economy (not yet former) requested from institutional system tens times more experts of different profiles – it happened just when all other world was suffering the Great depression. Actually it was then when the Soviet institutional system became what the Russian Federation inherited from the USSR. At that the growth of industrial production accompanied by its simultaneous complication demanded mass preparation of not only engineers, technologists, designers, but also experts in non-productive sphere - doctors, teachers, economists, architects and even artists (Stalin USSR prepared more artists with higher education, than in all Europe of that time).

At that it was an example illustrating that good education, contrary to opinion of minister Livanov, shouldn’t be obligatory expensive. While it should be connected with direct production and real scientific base, the Soviet student most of his time spent not in audiences, but at the factory (in hospitals, on the construction site, in laboratory). It costs almost nothing, but it’s impossible to organize it even for money in conditions of turning-off production.

The minister will solve the problem by extensive way - decrease in budgetary places. He is right – if bad state needs so many clever men?

Though it would be possible to offer, likely, some kind of reciprocal mechanism, "from the return". If the social production can't offer higher education institutions base for preparation of students and place of their future work, why not to create to higher education institutions conditions for formation of own research-and-production base? It’s just competence of the ministry. Higher education institutions try to do it for long using own efforts: for example, MADI has quite developed research-and-production base for service of agricultural machinery on a range situated near Moscow and even own car-care center where competence of the personnel is simply non-comparable with the one in "hardball" capital center. But institute makes it by own efforts, it’s not enough for large-scale decisions. Though it is an enormous reserve for hi-tech and intellectually capacious productions.

Even in Moscow, not to mention province, medical universities have even no own clinics - all of them stay in city hospitals without any rights.

We practically have no schools which would work in coordination with pedagogical higher education institutions. Municipal educational system doesn’t need it, though all know that the vast majority of schools don't give knowledge necessary for future acquirement of higher education. It would seem, let higher education institutions prepare themselves entrants from school students, at least on the commercial basis... None of the kind, system of the Unified State Examination kills this practice, it makes it senseless in general.

Unless the ministry will get engaged in it, if it is possible simply to reduce the number of budgetary places by half and to increase grants to the students: earlier the grant was enough to buy a pack of cigarettes, now it will be sufficient for two packs. Progress.

The problem is that it’s possible to start the process of reduction of budgetary places and it is impossible to stop it. It will stop by itself only when free higher education will disappear as that. For money it isn't necessary first of all to its main consumer - former national economy. The circle became isolated. Then we will have Middle Ages with its tiny islands of universities in the sea of wildness.

Аnatoly Baranov, editor-in-chief of FORUM.msk

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