Analysis Of Strategic Planning Regional Documents On Education System Development: Methodological Aspect

Abstract

Currently the socio-economic development of the country and its regions is put in practice on the ground of strategic planning documents. Active work is underway to design strategies for the regional education development. Consequently, strategic analysis of conceptual foundations of education perfection in a particular territory of the Russian Federation has to be conducted on a regular basis. The selective analysis of strategic planning documents at different levels of the system of education shows that strategies of education development are presented as concepts, strategies and development programmes. Such diversity of documents made with no regard for methodological foundations and the corresponding criteria of design and supervision of the implementation may lead to objective, content and processes turmoil, which is a significant hindrance on the way of the analysis and assessment of implementation. In the present research, a strategic planning is understood as a cohesive process of conceptual foresight, goal-setting, programming and supervision. During the research, the regional strategic planning documents have been analysed, methodological foundations of the design and analysis of strategic planning documents at different levels have been identified and the problems of the design of such documents at the regional level have been found out. The basis for the development of the methodology for the analysis of regional strategies for the development of the system of education was the Federal Law No. 172-FZ ‘On strategic planning in the Russian Federation’ dd. 28th June 2014.

Keywords: Regional educationprioritiesstrategiesplanninganalysis

Introduction

In recent years, considerable work has been done to improve the legal framework for the process of education system modernization. Currently, a number of strategic documents operate in the educational system at the Federal and regional levels simultaneously: state programs of education development, the concepts of education development and education development strategy, and these documents have different targets, structure, content and indicators.

The urgency of creation of a strategic planning system that permeates all industries, including the educational system, is justified by Russian scientists (Animitsa, 2005; Lomakina, 2016; Maracha, 2008; Rozchin & Znamenskaya, 2000; etc.). Theoretical analysis of the literature on the problem of research and analysis of strategies for the education development in Australia, the UK, Serbia, the United States, the Arab countries proves that this problem is very relevant, it is solved within the framework of regional priorities, on different methodological grounds and principles (Education strategy 2017–22, 2016; Wai-chung Yeu, 2017; Mouton, 1984; National Strategy for International Education, 2016; Nevin, 2008; Schak, Metzger, Bass, & McCann, 2017; Nataraja & Bright, 2018; Chang, 2006; Strategy for Education Development in Serbia 2020, 2013; Strategy for the Development of Education in the Islamic World ISESCO Publications, 2017; Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), 2012; Winnie, 2018).

At the same time, the share of research devoted to the analysis of strategic planning documents in the educational system, methodology and methods of their development and implementation at all levels of education (Federal, regional, municipal) is very small.

Problem Statement

The research conducted in 2002 by the staff of Institute of Regional Studies on "Main directions of regional and municipal educational systems’ development programs’ formation" and the analysis of regional development programs in 17 regions showed that at the regional level there were three models of programs – program, project and program-project. Scientists have also identified the functions of existing educational programs (Rozchin & Znamenskaya, 2000). The study was conducted within the framework of another paradigm of education development, other strategic goals and needs, a different regulatory framework and, for that time, it was relevant and in demand to promote the creation of a single educational space and to determine common requirements for both the structure and content of educational programs.

The analytical study of education development strategies in the regions of the Russian Federation, conducted in 2006-2007 by scientists of Kant State University, on the instructions of the Ministry of Education, aimed at determining the compliance of regional programs, concepts of educational system development with the Federal Law "On education in the Russian Federation". In the course of the study, it was noted that the role of "strategic documents is performed by a set of unrelated programs, ‘descended from above’", not integrated by a common mission and goals. Both at the stage of strategic planning (including strategy development) and at the stage of control (especially in determining the criteria and performance indicators and methods of analysis) the logic of the strategic management process has been violated (Simaeva & Alimpieva, 2007). It was stressed that though the strategic development objectives complied with the content of the law of the Russian Federation "On education", the goals’ setting itself was formal, did not reflect the specifics and problems of the regions, as well as ways to solve them, which does not contribute to the intensive development of the education system.

The authors pointed out possible vectors of education development in the regions aimed at the past, present or future and reflecting the reactive, inertial, proactive or interactive nature of the strategy, correspondingly. On the basis of "analysis of the declared strategic goals, strategic choice and the basic principles and mechanisms of their implementation, some common strategies of regional educational systems’ development were identified: structural-functional; marketing; human resources; one of systemic and institutional transformations" (Simaeva & Alimpieva, 2007, p.11). The most interesting, in our opinion, is the latter, which allows us to present the education system as a function of personal development, carrying out a holistic strategic planning for the development of all levels of education, taking into account regional specifics, organizing a partnership in the its implementation, planning and control of all subjects of education; creating new resources through intellectual technologies; determining the responsibility of regional education subjects and monitoring the implementation of educational functions according to objective system indicators.

This model is partially implemented in the regions, however, our analysis of the current strategic planning documents revealed a number of problems:

- insufficient attention to solving the problem of formation, saving and development of human capital as a system-forming indicator of citizens’ life quality and a decisive condition for improving labor efficiency in the context of intensive development of import substitution, which is a factor in ensuring the competitiveness and national security of Russia on the world stage (Bychkov, 2016);

- ignoring global trends in global education as a basis for continuous education of Russian citizens throughout their lives;

- lack of methodological basis for the development and analysis of the use of strategic planning documents, which entails a mismatch of forecast, target, program and planned indicators and makes it difficult to assess and correct them;

- lack of a system of quantitative targets and criteria for the effectiveness of strategies;

- lack of algorithm for the development of basic documents of strategic planning and forecasting for different levels of management;

- no requirements to the structure and content of strategic planning documents;

- insufficient accuracy of forecasting, which may be due to imperfect training and teaching forecasting, goal-setting and planning;

- lack of coordination mechanism and systematic methodological support for the development and implementation of strategies at different levels of management (Lomakina, 2016; Kharisova, 2018; Schak et al., 2017; Chang, 2006).

Thus, the problem of the study is to develop a methodology for the analysis of strategic planning documents at different levels.

Research Questions

Analysis of strategic planning documents for the education system development requires a clear adjustment of the conceptual apparatus of the study, the development of scientific and theoretical approaches, principles and methods of the subject analysis.

Purpose of the Study

Changes in the target priorities of the country's development, trends in economic development, socio-cultural sphere, updating the regulatory framework for the development of the education system, the introduction of new state standards have led to the need to develop methodological foundations and a mechanism for the analysis of regional documents of strategic planning and for empirical research.

Research Methods

Methods of research are the analysis and generalization of regional strategic planning documents, which have their own characteristics: the use of a system of indicators that comprehensively characterize educational activities; the study of the causes of these indicators’ changes (innovations); the identification and measurement of the interrelation between them in order to improve efficiency.

Findings

The methodology of strategic planning documents’ analysis for the education system development is based on the experience and achievements of Russian and international practice. It includes theoretical approaches and methods of strategic planning used in the Russian Federation and abroad. Analysis of strategic planning documents allowed us, based on the theory of organizational development, to identify the following theoretical approaches: system, activity, complex, program – target, regional and framework ones. These approaches are implemented through a set of principles outlined in the Federal Law "On strategic planning in the Russian Federation" dated 18.06.2014 № 172-FZ and are the basis for the selection of analysis criteria: unity and integrity; separation of powers; continuity; balance; efficiency and effectiveness; responsibility of participants; transparency (openness); realism; resource security; measurable goals; compliance of indicators with the goals (Strategicheskom planirovanii v Rossiyskoy Federatsyi, 2014). The consistency of approaches and principles suggests that the development of strategies is made qualitatively, and its implementation will ensure the effectiveness of the education system development.

The study analyzed the strategic documents of the education system development in 25 regions of the Russian Federation. It should be noted that the main documents of strategic planning in the regions are state programs. However, in such regions as the city of St. Petersburg, Kaliningrad region, Leningrad region, the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), the Republic of Tuva, Ulyanovsk region and others, Strategies for the development of education have been developed and implemented. For example, in the Rostov region, along with the State program of education development, the Concept of education development is implemented.

Let us consider some of the regional strategic documents for the development of the education system. So, in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) a strategic document, the Decree of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) Head, "On the strategic directions of education development in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia)" has been adopted on the 22 November 2018, No. 190, and is being implemented until 2024. This document clearly sets out the priority goals for the development of education. These are: the entry of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) into the list of 15 best subjects of the Russian Federation in terms of quality of education; formation of an effective system of identification, support and disclosure of the abilities and talents of children and youth; creation of conditions for the education of a harmoniously developed and socially responsible person on the basis of spiritual and moral values, historical and national cultural traditions of the peoples of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia); the preservation and development of a distinctive multi-ethnic culture, languages, diversity of life of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) peoples. To achieve these goals it is planned to develop and implement the following innovative projects in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia):

- a republican system of monitoring the quality of public education;

- a scientific and educational center of the international level on work with talented children and youth involving at least 10 thousand students;

- a republican specialized IT-lyceum;

- a center of continual improvement of pedagogical workers’ professional skill;

- a center for accreditation of teachers and heads of the education system;

- the center of advanced professional training and not less than 50 workshops in the institutions of secondary professional education equipped with modern equipment;

- support centers for additional education of children and youth, coordinating the activities of additional education organizations in the sphere of education, culture and sports;

- 17 digital education centers for children;

- a system of methodical and scientific support, intellectual guardianship and mentoring over educational organizations of secondary professional, general and additional education;

- Center for children and young people’s modern competencies development involving at least 400 children per year (Strategicheskikh napravleniykh razvitiya obrazovaniya v respublike Sakha (Yakutiya), 2018).

This Decree of the Republic Head covers all the stages of the system of general and secondary vocational education. The document is developed on the basis of the program-target approach, the purposes and tasks show unity and integrity of the system of general and secondary vocational education, meeting the objectives will be estimated on those certain affairs which need to be executed (to create, to introduce, to develop, to provide). Responsibility for the implementation of this Strategy is entrusted to the government of the Republic, control remains with the Head of the Republic. This document is open and available for use, it clearly and concretely defines the activities; it is realistic.

The concept of development of the education system in the Rostov region for the period up to 2020, approved by the government of the Rostov region on 19.07.2012, № 659, defines education as a regional priority and lays the foundation for a holistic educational policy development in the Rostov region until 2020. The implementation of the Concept involves the internal transformation of the regional education system, the ultimate goal of which is to bring it in line with Russian and global trends, giving it flexibility and adaptability, the ability to adequately respond to modern and future requirements of the society. Thus, the section "Analysis of the state and main problems of the education system" highlights the following key problems:

- insufficient funding for all types of educational institutions;

- discrepancy of material and technical base to requirements of the Federal state educational standards;

- delay in updating the content and technologies of education depending on changes in modern society and economy;

- poor access to education provided for children from low-income families, orphans and children with disabilities;

- shortage of teaching and managerial personnel with the necessary qualifications;

- low wages of education professionals (Konzepsiya razvitiya sistemy obrazovaniya Rostovskoi oblastina period do 2020 goda, 2012).

The strategic goal of education development in the Rostov region is the formation of a comprehensive harmoniously developed, socially active, creative, patriotic, spiritual and moral personality, capable of self-realization and adaptability in a dynamically changing world. The priority directions of the education system development are the following:

- improving access to high-quality education;

- strengthening, development of material and technical, educational base of educational institutions in accordance with the requirements of Federal state educational standards;

- training of a new generation of teachers;

- preservation and strengthening of children's health in the learning process;

- improving the efficiency of management in the education system;

- improvement of economic mechanisms in the sphere of education;

- development of alternative forms of living arrangements for children deprived of parental care;

- integration of children with disabilities into society;

- identification and support of gifted children and talented youth;

- meeting the needs of the regional labor market for qualified personnel and the formation of a modern system of continuing education.

The state program "Development of education and science of Tatarstan Republic for 2014-2025", approved by the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Tatarstan on February 22, 2014 № 110, refers to the documents of strategic planning, the purpose of which is to ensure high quality education in the Republic of Tatarstan in accordance with the changing needs of the populationand perspective tasks of society and economy development. To achieve this goal, the following tasks are envisaged:

- modernization of educational programs in the systems of pre-school, general and additional education of children, aimed at achieving the modern quality of educational and socialization results;

- creation of a modern system of education quality assessment based on the principles of openness, objectivity, transparency, social and professional participation;

- in cooperation with employers, provision of advanced development of human potential of the region and opportunities for different categories of citizens in the acquisition of the necessary qualifications throughout life which is the interest of the socio-economic development strategy in the Republic of Tatarstan;

- creation of conditions for advanced development of the research, scientific development and effective innovation system, ensuring technological modernization of the economy and increasing its competitiveness on the basis of advanced technologies, and the transformation of scientific potential into one of the main resources of diversified growth (Gosudarstvennaya programma “Razvitiye obrazovaniya i nauki Respubliki Tatarstanna 2014-2025 gody, 2014; Osnovnyie napravleniya formirovaniya program razvitiya regional’nykh i munitsypal’nykh obrazovatel’nykh organizatsiy, 2002).

Conclusion

A sample analysis of regional strategic planning documents has led to the following conclusions.

1. The methodology of development and analysis of strategic planning documents proposed in the framework of the study is consistent with the principles of the Federal Law of June 28, 2014 № 172-FZ "On strategic planning in the Russian Federation" and can be used in practice.

2. The strategic objectives of regional strategies for the development of education are often formulated declaratively, formally, they are rewritten from Federal documents, which prevents their implementation and evaluation. The objectives often lack a regional component that reflects the specifics of the region.

3. In some strategic planning documents there is no analysis of the factors influencing the development of the regional education system (political, legal, economic, socio-cultural, sectoral, ethno-cultural, etc.).

4. Problems that are prescribed in regional documents are formal in some regions and mainly affect the problems of insufficient financing of the education system; yet they poorly reflect other components of the system: teachers’ professional skills, availability of educational and methodical literature, innovative projects’ introduction, educational technologies’ use, students’ motivation, the educational process’ organization, relationship with parents and reasons for the poor quality of education.

Therefore, it is advisable to regularly conduct a comprehensive analysis of the educational system, to identify problems and their causes and to plan appropriate changes in order to develop the education system in the region.

5. The structure of regional documents does not always correspond to the tasks set, the logic in the continuity between the sections, goals, objectives and the chosen directions of their implementation is broken.

6. Many strategic planning documents are long-term, however, they do not take into account the current realities in the country and the world, the forecast characteristics of the development prospects, which leads to formalism.

7. It is puzzling why the education system development is seen only as the expansion of its infrastructure, the construction and opening of new educational institutions, centers, their reconstruction, repair, improvement of material and technical support of the educational process, i.e., mainly quantitative indicators are used. It is not taken into account that development is a change of the existing educational system, its components on the basis of new educational technologies’ introduction which would promote the education quality improvement, the students’ education and development, which would preserve their physical and spiritual health.

Acknowledgments

State task № 073-00086-19-00 for 2019 and for the planning period of years 2020 and 2021, the project "Research, analysis and synthesis of practices in the development and application of sectoral, inter-sectoral and regional strategic planning documents containing the education system development issues, in order to take into account the development of the sectoral strategy of education development in the Russian Federation.

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18 December 2019

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Lomakina*, T. Y., Kharisova, L. A., Gudilina, S. I., Bychkov, A. V., & Novikova, G. P. (2019). Analysis Of Strategic Planning Regional Documents On Education System Development: Methodological Aspect. In & S. K. Lo (Ed.), Education Environment for the Information Age, vol 69. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 534-542). Future Academy. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2019.09.02.61