Education as a Condition for Social Well-being of Human


This article touches upon the idea of new educational models which are a guarantee of social well-being. We argue that a classical model of university should necessarily go through a series of changes due to many objective reasons. Contemporary epistemology is symbolizing renaissance. Nowadays knowledge is transformed into information. Hence, information may be interpreted as that, what changes us or as past experience. We bring to the attention different educational models such as: a model of world-class university, an elitist model, a mass model, a two-level model, a networking model, a university of the third age. University is more and more involved in solution of many problems of modern world such as, training of specialists, social elite education, and provision of universal level of education. We also argue that the key task of educational process now is pragmatic values formation instead of the development of inner world of a person through educational process. There are new criteria for understanding the level of developing society. We put particular emphasis and consider the educational model of lifelong learning as one that gives the opportunity to students of different ages to study in various fields of science. This is unlimited research process the sense of which is to find truth, discover new form of knowledge during whole life-time.

Keywords: Information societyhigher educationInnovation Universityuniversity modelssocial well-being


The transition from industrial society to postindustrial, which took place in the XX century, has determined the emergence of a new view of the world. The theory of information society was presented by Porat, Rubin, Masuda, Bell. There are dimensions of the information society according to Daniel Bell: economics, technology, skill base, strategic recourse, methodology, design, and actual principal (Bell, 1980). Yoneji Masuda in his comparison of the characteristics of industrial and information society conclude that information society have advanced technology instead of useful goods and services, increase in knowledge frontiers, information space, information industry, knowledge industry, high mass knowledge creation, time-value. (Masuda, 1981) One of the main forces of industrial society is entrepreneurship and competition which is base of human and technique production for material production. Postindustrial society is organized around knowledge in order to have access to social control, reformation and innovation management. This fact, in its turn, results in generation of new social structures and relationships Contemporary knowledge is transforming to information and take a specific be in constant development, moving and converting to informational floods. Knowledge character is interdisciplinary. The consequence of such tendency in modern science is accent varying from result of scientific discover to the process. Now it is important how, in what way scientists extract scientific result. Knowledge is break up into informational flows, which “get tangled”, “flash” and “pulsate” (Pogukaeva, 2015).

The level of the development of society is determined under new conditions not by the quantity of produced commodities, but by the ability to get and to pass information. Knowledge along with the ability to operate information is becoming the most significant resource in XXI century.

Modern University models

Modern university is represented by a variety of models and offers various opportunities for self-education.

Information becomes a basis of new educational model, which includes the possibility to navigate in rapidly changing flow of knowledge, to adapt and to find opportunities for self-realization in a constant state of alteration.

Modern social and economic conditions set new tasks for universities. University gets more and more involved in modern world issues and helps to solve such problems as specialist training, social elite education, as well as general education. These functions begin to determine university life.

This focus of university on educational services consumer may be interpreted as a threat to classical comprehension of education where knowledge begins to be understood not as a tool to search for scientific truth, but as a commodity. The aim of educational process is no longer inclusive development of human spiritual nature through his introduction to knowledge, the aim is utilitarian and pragmatic orientation of modern human (Pogukaeva & Pankova, 2015). But, in our opinion, the intention to "keep up with the times" should be understood as a condition for higher education system improvement, in order to obtain a qualitatively different knowledge, focused on other criteria of competence and usability. This focus on the needs of modern society requires constant updating of education content, the creation of new forms and methods of knowledge transfer, continuous professional development of academic staff.

Higher Education evidently plays a leading role in modern education system, as in contrast to secondary education, aimed at obtaining of basic knowledge and competence by pupils; it is focused on the training of top-level professionals, industrious and active members of society, able to transform the reality.

Nowadays, many countries, not only Western, but also Eastern, are involved in the development of human capital, which is based on competitive and flexible system of education, which includes world-class universities. Universities, in the struggle for top positions in global rankings of universities, are ready to undergo significant transformations. For example, in 2006, in Russia, it was held the competition among universities, which used innovative programs as a part of the strategic national project "Education". Nearly 200 Russian universities participated in this competition and 17 of them became winners.

In 2009, a competitive selection process was conducted in order to screen over development programs of Russian universities, with the category "National research university" (NRU), where among 12 best universities were Tomsk State University and Tomsk Polytechnic University, and in 2013, these universities joined the ranks of universities that have won the competition for the status of "Leading research universities of Russia" (LRU) on the basis of programs of international competitiveness improvement, which were submitted by universities, as well as on the basis of the assessment of their capacity to achieve new positions in international universities rankings.

To the universities, which became the winners of this competition, it became possible to deservedly present themselves in international rankings. An open contest was announced in the framework of the provisions implementation of the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation on carrying out the necessary measures to provide Russian universities with the possibility to join hundred global leading universities in 2020. This competition was called "5 to the Top-100".

In this transitive situation, which is presented as ontology of social and cultural reality, changes in the practice of education should necessarily happen.

Universities is a unique public place, where two types of knowledge are formed: the knowledge of science and knowledge of culture, that is to say, that university promotes both social and cultural development, and the development of industrial technologies.

Modern universities combine three distinctly different components: culture, politics and market. This finds its reflection in new models of universities: a model of world-class university, an elite university (elitist model), a mass model, a two-level model, a networking model and others.

Secretary of Education of the Russian Federation (till the year of 2012) A.A. Fursenko, for example, did not favor a single university model. And for such a large country like Russia, this idea is quite appropriate. For example, a world-class university model (Salmi, 2009) presupposes the creation of large, successful and modern university. Such a university may have a university - predecessor, as in Russia, or India, or it may be built "from scratch" as few "Universities of Science and Technology" in Pakistan and Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan.

Speaking about world-class universities, among the variety of educational models research type universities are considered in the first instance, because their learning process is complemented by scientific research (Pankova, 2016). It is research universities which play a crucial role in preparing high-level professionals, practical persons, capable not only to reproduce and use knowledge, but also to generate new ideas that will adequately represent the country at international level. Evaluation of competitiveness of a university may be carried out due to various reasons. In our opinion, the most popular ratings are such international ratings as "Times" (Times Higher Education), Academic Ranking of World Universities (the so-called Shanghai ranking) and the International Ranking of presence and activity of universities in the Internet (Webometrics).

Another version of modern university is elitist model. This university may be attractive for prospective students, intellectuals. It is the festival of thought. Even if an institution is elitist in deed, a potential "weak link" in its structure – is practice. Not every result of fundamental research may be applied and put into practice immediately right after the completion of the project.

The two-level model: The system of "Bachelor - Master", adopted as a result of the Bologna agreement, is currently the most common university model in Russia. Bachelor’s program is focused on acquiring of professional knowledge, skills and competencies, and Master's degree is chosen by those students who are ready to devote their selves to science or teaching. Every student has the opportunity to plan his or her future and to choose the area of education.

Innovative University : It is a model of modern university, a new version of Research University. The university of innovative type – is adaptive to environmental requirements functioning and intensively developing scientific and educational center, whose activities are focused on meeting the demand of major domestic and foreign dedicated markets and on profit-making, allocated to increase the capacity of the potential to preserve its academic nature, originality and individuality, moral and intellectual independence (Pokholkov, & Chuchalin, 2003). This center is a complex self-organizing system in which fundamental education and research process (liberal approach) supplemented by the perspective of university transformation into business structure, preparing highly qualified specialists, who are in demand on labor market (pragmatic approach).

Virtual university model or Electronic University: More and more highly reputed universities introduce curricula on Moodle platform and Coursera, creating large-scale virtual educational project aimed at people of all ages and professional affiliation. Various online courses are available on Coursera platform 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year! All online education courses are free. In the process of training students have the opportunity to communicate with teachers and other participants during online courses. Such projects are implemented by many universities, which occupy the highest positions in international university rankings. For example, Oxford, University of Leeds, Edinburgh University, Harvard, Princeton, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stockholm School of Economics, and Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, as well as less popular universities of Peru, or Korea. The project Second Life ( is an online game with multiple users, which allows creating three-dimensional virtual world.

Mass University: This university model is also designed for students of all ages and professions. The educational process can be arranged both on budgetary and on extra budgetary basis, but in such a university it is difficult to talk about the prestige of professions or the demand of its graduates on labor market. This institution is oriented to the reality, functioning according to the laws of market, and it is more oriented to educational services consumer. The head of Moscow State University V.A. Sadovnichiy during the Xth Congress of Russian Rectors' Union, speaking about university models, warned against the interpretation of education as a service, and against the interpretation of rector – as the manager, highlighting the danger of losing the university essence (Sadovnichi, 2009).

Lifelong Learning

Nowadays Lifelong Learning is frequently chosen as a direction of modern research in the field of education. This concept is a constant search for new knowledge, new competences throughout whole life. Such a lifestyle is conducive to professional growth and competitiveness of a person on labor market, and thus it presents an important part of personal growth. Thus nationwide mass adoption of this concept has a beneficial effect on the formation of human intellectual capital and its quality, accelerating economic development.

The concept of lifelong learning implies that it should involve people regardless of their age and activities, and at the same time it should provide them with opportunities for development and implementation of absolutely any educational interests and preferences.

There are several basic stages of lifelong learning according to the age of students. The first group of students requires focus on participants of learning process between the age of 6 and 24 years. They are trained in special educational institutions, from elementary schools to universities. This is the initial stage of person formation, as after it the learning process, as a rule, does not finish. Socialization or personality development takes place not only in schools but also in dialogue with other people, in public life, in social sphere. It is this non-formal education, along with a formal, which lays the foundation of intellectual, social and emotional development of a person.

The next category is presented by adults aged from 25 to 60 years. By this time, formal education, as a rule, is already completed, but modern person should not stop their education. We are necessarily constantly engaged in professional development, getting new skills, mastering new knowledge in our professional field, we are engaged in scientific work (formal sphere). In addition, due to the tremendous rate of changes occurring in the world, we have to receive additional education, to solve new problems that arise not only in our professional but also everyday life, expanding the circle of acquaintances and horizons, traveling, learning new skills and making new hobbies.

The third group of "students" is represented by students over 60 years old. During this very period of life, people usually have an excellent opportunity to devote their selves to their interests and hobbies – it may be social work, traveling, crafting etc. Older people need to feel meaning of their lives, that's why it is so important to support them and to provide their continuing development and education (Medel-Añonuevo, 2002). Moreover, modern educational technologies give us such opportunity. So far, the Russian Federation has several universities of this type. For example, "The University of the Third Age" (U3A) offers interesting online courses of various content from "Personal financial security" to "Traditional puppet".


We live in new world, in new reality with new values, new technologies and even with new types of family, accepted in some countries. Under these conditions it is not possible to save classical model of University. Nowadays there are some objective reasons which determine the transformation of classical education. Such presented models as a world-class university, an elite university (elitist model), a mass model, a two-level model, a networking model, a university of the third age are oriented to students of different ages, demands and intentions.

If a person has a desire to meet the needs of the age, he should constantly improve himself, move only forward and gain new knowledge. In modern world learning is not always “getting a profession” or “forming new competencies”, which further can be applied in professional area or in production process. Increasingly frequently getting education is understood as conditions of life.


This research was realized and subsided within the framework of the Programme for enhancing Tomsk Polytechnic University's competitiveness. The results presented herein were obtained within the project of Evaluation and enhancement of social, economic and emotional wellbeing of older adults under the Agreement № 14.Z50.31.0029

We would like to express our gratitude to many people who helped to bring this research project to fruition. First, we would like to thank Professor Alla A. Kornienko for improving the earlier version of this article. We are deeply grateful for her help, professionalism and valuable guidance.

We would also like to thank Tomsk Polytechnic University for organizing the III International Scientific Symposium of Lifelong wellbeing in the world.


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17 January 2017

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Pankova,  . M., Pogukaeva, N. V., Korovkin, M. V., & Bolgova, D. L. (2017). Education as a Condition for Social Well-being of Human. In F. Casati, G. А. Barysheva, & W. Krieger (Eds.), Lifelong Wellbeing in the World - WELLSO 2016, vol 19. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 563-568). Future Academy.