Institutions of adult non-formal education/training on the educational services market: strategies of the heads
Full text in Russian (pdf)
|No. 7 (81), 2014|
Author: Dinara Borodina
The increase of information volume and speed of information circulation in modern society has lead to an acceleration of professional knowledge obsolescence, first of all in the most technologically developed industries. In this connection more and more urgent is the task of establishing a harmonic system of lifelong learning that meets the requirements of the labour market and uses, with maximum efficiency, the existing structure of education institutions.
1. Characteristics of parameters of the sociological survey of heads of education institutions implementing programmes of adult non-formal education/training
1.1. Characteristics of the survey of adult non-formal education/training institutions
1.2. Characteristics of heads of adult non-formal education/training institutions
2. Educational strategies and certification of qualifications
2.1. Education programmes implemented at adult non-formal education/training institutions
2.2. Certification of professional qualifications
3. Students of adult non-formal education/training institutions
4. Personnel of adult non-formal education/training institutions
5. Financial and economic aspects of activities of adult non-formal education/training institutions
5.1. Financial strategies
5.2. Pricing policy
6. Competition within the segment of adult non-formal education/training
The increase of information volume and speed of information circulation in modern society has lead to an acceleration of professional knowledge obsolescence (? amortization), first of all in the most technologically developed industries. In this connection more and more urgent is the task of establishing a harmonic system of lifelong learning that meets the requirements of the labour market and uses, with maximum efficiency, the existing structure of education institutions.
At this background in the modern Russian education system the significance of non-formal education/training (hereinafter – NFET) increases as an independent direction in the framework of which the tasks of increasing the competitiveness of the economy, reproduction of the intellectual potential of the society, provision of social security and rehabilitation of citizens can be solved.
To form a fairly clear idea of the current situation, urgent problems and priority directions of further development of NFET system a regular survey of heads of organizations within this segment of the education market was conducted in 2013.
This bulletin presents the most significant outcomes of the survey. The information collected while conducting the survey enables to characterize such aspects of the NFET system as:
· Key changes in the characteristics of the proposed NFET programmes: duration; reasons and degree of update of instructional materials; structure of the teaching personnel and level of infrastructure of education institutions
· Pricing strategies, trends in the income structure and other financial aspects of activities of NFET institutions
· Degree of competition in different segments of NFET.
Most heads of institutions that are accustomed to a perceptible annual profit growth due to NFET programmes revealed in 2013 that the growth rate of profit was lowering and the perspectives that there will be no excess profit was becoming more and more real. The money flows have been at the same level during the past three years and short-term forecasts show that the situation will not alter considerably (other things being equal) (Fig.1). Such trends are a reason why the heads may become sad and assess the financial condition of their institutions as average.
Fig.1. Expected changes in income from NFET programmes in 2013
(responses of the heads of adult NFET institutions, 2012-2013, %)
The main source of financing the NFET is the students’ resources – 43%, followed by the resources of organizations – 36% and a fifth part is financed by the state. An exception is corporate training centers, the main source of their financing being the resources of organizations (Fig.2).
Fig.2. Expected changes in income from NFET programmes in 2013 at different types of adult NFET institutions
(responses of the heads of adult NFET institutions, 2013, %)
The main enrolment is experienced employees aged 30 to 50 years who improve their qualification and/or try to change their sphere of activity. The main factors attracting the students most effectively are the topicality of content of the programmes and cost/quality ratio.
The heads of organizations began to treat more attentively the customer needs. The intensity of updating the content of NFET programmes has increased; 59% of programmes were improved and modified in 2013. Of all types of institutions the independent organizations alter the content of programmes most actively.
The enrolment has been increasing during the past three years. However the increment of this indicator is becoming less intensive. At the same time the expectations of the heads for 2014 are too optimistic, bearing in mind the current situation and forecasts of the previous year.
One would notice that a specialization of adult NFET institutions is taking shape, i.e. there is a steadier distribution by branch. A specialization may be revealed by analyzing the types of those institutions. Thus, for example, the “Economy, law, management” is covered by NFET divisions of higher education institutions; in the sphere of “Health”, “Education” and “Public service” the divisions at higher/secondary vocational/lower vocational institutions and independent organizations prevail appreciably over other types of organizations. In-house divisions prevail in “Trade and services”, “Mechanical engineering” and “Other industries”. “Transport, communication, informatization” is for courses.
As to the structure of types of the implemented NFET programmes, during a year the proportion of organizations implementing programmes of professional training has increased noticeably, while the proportion of those implementing general education programmes has decreased. Education programmes aimed at improving the existing competences and at upgrading the professional level of employees are implemented by 79% of adult NFET institutions.
The ranking of preferences in respect of the programme duration repeats the one for 2012, however it may be noticed that the proportion of short-term programmes increases at the expense of reducing the proportion of more durable programmes. The most active organizers of short-term workshops and training events are in-house training divisions (подразделения внутрифирменного образования). The most substantial resources for implementing long-term programmes are available in the formal professional education system (Fig.3).
Fig.3. Structure of NFET programmes at different types of adult NFET institutions,
(responses of the heads of adult NFET institutions, 2013, %)
NFET institutions began to participate more actively in the certification of professional qualifications. The development of professional standards and qualification requirements promotes the development of the certification activity in all branches of the economy; the certification sphere is growing and expanding; the structure of this segment of the education market is changing, the proportion of some branches decreases at the expense of an increase of other branches.
As to the teaching personnel, one would notice a tendency that the number of those having a practical experience in the production sphere has been increasing. The practical experience has become the most important requirement for the teaching personnel. The next requirement that is also important is the ability to win the students’ interest, to comprehend their problems.
The NFET segment is becoming less chaotic and more saturated. The difficulties of implementing this activity are being overcome; the legal regulation is gradually taking the proper shape (налаживается); teacher-related problems are diminishing; competition becomes less severe; income growth rates are slowing up – as a result the education institutions become more specialized and customer-oriented. It is the opinion of heads of corresponding organizations.
In the conditions when statistical data characterizing the development of this segment of the Russian education market are practically unavailable, the outcomes of surveys implemented in the framework of monitoring of education markets and organizations appear to be virtually the only source of information on the corresponding issues.
There is need to continue the monitoring surveys of adult non-formal education/training. The information obtained helps identify the strategies of the main participants of this educational segment and make an attempt to develop an efficient system of lifelong learning.
These results may be used by executives and specialists of the managerial bodies in the education sphere and those of education institutions for managerial decision-making and policy implementation.
Besides, the outcomes of the survey may be used:
– in the expert & analytical and information system to support the activity of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation in implementing the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation No.599 “On measures for implementation of the state policy in the field of education and science”, the State programme of the Russian Federation “Education development for 2013-2020”, Action plan (“road maps”) “Changes in the branches of the social sphere aimed at increasing the efficiency of education and science” (approved by the Resolution of the Government of the Russian Federation dated 30.12.2012 No.2620-р);
– in monitoring the education system (Regulation of the Government of the Russian Federation dated August 5, 2013 No.662).
Prepared by Dinara Borodina
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