While declaring the need to support adult education in the CIS member states, the issue of complementarity between formal and non-formal education, which allows the creation of conditions for both personal and social development, has not been resolved. One of the reasons is the use of inadequate approaches to the interaction with businesses and representatives of NPOs. The nature of self-organization determines the specific potential of public associations. The current stage in the development of adult education as an open and continuous institution requires conceptual foundations of managing the interaction of its subjects. The practical result of management is to satisfy the educational system's demand for flexibility, practice-oriented programs intended for adults, and development of civil society. Management based on the network principle is required. An analysis of reasons for the unsatisfactory state of the interaction in the CIS countries is provided. Based on the ideas of modern adult education as a space, diversity of non-formal education practices of self-organizing structures, the need for support infrastructure, interaction of systemic and non-systemic areas of the adult education space is emphasized.
The post-Soviet history of the educational policy of the CIS countries can be characterized as a conceptual development and search for ways to implement continuity and openness. Awareness of these ideas was universal, as was the entry into the European Association for Adult Education (EAEA), the adoption of the IPA CIS model laws "On adult education" (1997 and 2002), "On educational activities" (2002). The humanistic ideas of the development of non-formal education for adults, its complementarity in relation to the formal one, which would create favorable conditions for development throughout life, were system-forming for the modernization of education systems.
The systemic field of adult education has narrowed down to the professional direction. The scarcity of resources in formal education is growing. For practitioners, non-formal education is associated with distance education, which blocks personality and social development effects. The response to the challenge of stagnation was the request to update the model laws (2016), adopt new ones aimed at creating the lifelong education system. They recognize the value of public associations of adults and confirm the need to consolidate resources in the adult education space of the CIS. However, we have not entered the stage of optimal realization of the potential of informality. When there is a request for practice-oriented flexible courses, there are difficulties in recognizing the eligibility of a practice-oriented module in the formal education program. This practice in public organizations allows you to increase motivation, form professional and life experience. An urgent task for all CIS countries is to develop a model for managing the development of regional education systems, which makes it possible to develop practice-oriented programs. The beginning of the movement is coordination of conceptual foundations.
In the past 10 years, the idea of intersectoral interaction in education has been generally accepted, but implemented in a peculiar way. Article 15 of the "Law on Education in the Russian Federation" provides for a network form of implementation of educational programs; however, priority was given to educational organizations. The situation is similar in other CIS countries: we have educational programs implemented by educational (less often – cultural, sports) organizations of one region or international network universities (CIS University, Shanghai Cooperation Organization University, BRICS University).
Any educational organization of the CIS countries has a partner network. However, the practice of interactions is complicated, including due to the imperfection of its legal framework; it concerns the cooperation of organizations (rather than communities) of different jurisdictions (Korshunova, 2016). A self-organizing structure is not considered as a subject of the educational space. This fact is obvious in adult education and runs counter to the global trend, according to which communities are actively involved in the process of formal education, even using digital tools (Zhu, 2020).
There are at least three interrelated reasons. The first one is the replacement of integrity of adult education with a professional component for economic reasons. The second reason is the lack of understanding of the developmental potential of extra-systemic phenomena. As a result, the problem of validating the results of non-formal education has not been solved. The third reason is the lack of conceptual understanding of intersectoral cooperation in education, its goals, and positive results for each party. It is necessary to form educational culture of the population and educate management structures (Ainsworth & Eaton 2010; Uhl-Bien & Arena, 2017).
The research focuses on conceptual foundations of regional management decisions aimed at the interaction of systemic and non-systemic subjects of the adult education space. They should stimulate traditional educational organizations to implement the principle of openness, which will create an opportunity to master the experience of various subjects. The research group suggest a conceptual basis as a subject matter of discussion whose purpose is to decide on interaction.
1. The research tasks are to identify grounds for managing interaction in adult education, taking into account the specifics of the self-organizing structure of public associations.
2. It is also necessary to determine stages of competence formation in representatives of the management of educational regional systems / organizations in the field of interaction with public associations, aimed at overcoming deficiencies in formal education of adults.
Purpose of the Study
On the basis of modern ideas about inter-organizational interaction and existing practice in the CIS member states, the research aims to discuss conceptual foundations of partnership between educational organizations and public associations of adults.
The materials used were descriptions of interaction between traditional educational organizations and public associations of adults (Internet resources, media, interviews); the experience of the research group in the implementation of the model laws "On adult education" and "On educational activities" (2016); normative and methodological documents (Ilakavichus, 2018). The methods of abstraction, generalization, induction and deduction, systemic, logical and comparative analysis, and analogy were used.
The starting points of the study were formulated at the previous stage (Ilakavichus et al., 2019). We consider adult education as a space created by the efforts of systemic and non-systemic actors. It operates on the basis of a network principle, focused on the goal of solving common tasks. Interaction is viewed as a joint activity of the subjects, oriented towards a consolidated mission, which leads to significant results and influences them (from taking a conscious civic position to creating more formalized collaborations).
The creation of conceptual foundations for the management of this interaction was influenced by the analysis of scientific works devoted to new organizational alternatives, and existing practice in the CIS. The classical view of a network as a new specific organizational form is significant (Lee & Hung, 2015; Snow et al., 1992). There are developments in sociology of organizations (Powell, 2003); ideas of a “global factory” (Buckley, 2004), an analysis of results of inter-firm strategic alliances (Hinterhuber & Levin, 1994), Russian works analyzing world achievements and Russian practice (V. Dementyev, V. Katkalo, V. Radaev, M. Sheresheva), educational problems (A.I. Adamskiy, I.M. Remorenko, A.M. Tsirulnikov). A flexible model for managing intersectoral interaction is instrumental (Enright, 2000). It stimulates the innovative development of a public sphere as an integral part of the innovative development of the region (Etzrodt, 2020).
The conceptual foundations of the interaction were determined by the following provisions. The space of adult education is the ability to ensure effective cooperation of all subjects, including non-systemic ones, and thereby to retain itself as a repository of events and processes of development of a region, country, and the world. The second foundation postulates the priority of the network principle of interaction (taking into account both regional specifics and interregional values), aims management at the development of horizontal ties, taking into account interests of all subjects. The third foundation is the recognition of interdependence of development of the adult education space and network interaction. The fourth foundation considers associations of adults filling the resource shortages of traditional educational organizations as points of growth. The fifth foundation determines the effect of participation of adults and their communities in network activities as relevant for the development of civil society: it involves the development of subject positions and social relations. The sixth foundation affirms the leading role of informal relationships and an ongoing channel of communication to retain participants focused on solving common problems in the network.
Traditionally, interaction management is associated with the systemic area of the adult education space due to its institutional role and administrative resource. The first stage involves the adoption of a situational model for managing the development of the adult education space for the mobility of response to the requests of regions, communities and individuals. It solves the problem of forming an attitude to support public associations, carriers of experience that is relevant for a given region and interregional interaction; mastering supppoty methods and mechanisms. The second stage involves the creation of conditions for agreeing on the targets for developing the regional space for adult education and ways of their implementation with the participation of stakeholders (Vandekerckhove & Dentchev, 2005). The stage involves the dialogue that is renewed as the situation changes, optimal deformalization of planning. The third stage involves the formation of a strategy for the development of the adult education space in the region.
The goal of management is to establish and develop nonlinear connections between network participants (a set of state, private, and public subjects). This can be achieved by creating regional consulting centers that would solve the problem of monitoring the deficiencies of traditional educational organizations and educational demands of adults; ensuring contacts of stakeholders; methodological support of interaction.
However, one should bear in mind the inclusion of a non-systemic area in the management of interaction, which is updated as the institutions of civil society develop (Osipov, 2010; Tretyakov, 2014). An important role belongs to "tacit knowledge" of development agents (civil activists, volunteer groups, confessional associations, non-profit non-governmental organizations). Representatives of the non-systemic field put forward initiatives in the media space, personal contacts, publishing public inquiries in the educational sphere, inviting them to establish contacts. Management can be implemented through a procedural mechanism of intersectoral interaction. It involves the joint adoption of partnership rules (from legislative acts to dialogue platforms) (Yakimets, 2004).
The interaction of traditional educational organizations with adult associations does not differ from interaction with business structures. The main reason is the lack of demand for the potential of self-organization phenomena. The non-systemic area is the result of actions of self-organizations. It obeys the corresponding laws of development and is the “generator” and “accumulator” of effective educational practices. However, attempts to reproduce informal experience are often ineffective: organizations and self-organizations have fundamentally different bases. The non-systemic area of the adult education space needs financial and material support – it can be funded by budgetary institutions. As a result, both sides lack resources, which means they have mutual interests. There is a tendency to search for contacts with the non-systemic area among social organizations experiencing a shortage of state resources (for example, the target audience of the “silver age”, pre-retirees, people with disabilities). In the interstate space of adult education, this interest is due to the historical, cultural and political demand, but it turns out to be easier to overcome the borders linearly (non-systemic unification of one country with the non-systemic unification of another country or similar to traditional organizations). Thus, the idea is not supported: management efforts are required.
However, the practice of interaction is expanding. To a greater extent, they assume the function of managing the interaction of socially oriented organizations and cultural and leisure institutions. Having a license for educational activities, they accept self-organizing communities, initiative citizens. Involvement in the management of interaction of public associations is manifested in initiatives and coordinating functions. These initiatives of the state structures are perceived as a pandemic.
The coronavirus made the voice of public associations to be heard. Initiatives of volunteer communities have come to the fore, offering knowledge and skills to educational organizations as a topical informal module. For example, in Sverdlovsk region, on the basis of the regional medical college, participants in the "rapid response" groups have been trained to help the elderly: the volunteers share their experience in information and educational activities. The experience of the volunteer center of Volgograd region was updated. During the quarantine and self-isolation and forced massive implementation of distance learning, modules devoted to the analysis of alternative behavior of children in ambiguous situations (negative modeling of life situations for a child in society, risky habits) have been updated. Similarly, educational modules of the national Public Association of Volunteers are in demand in Azerbaijan, where mobile training of volunteers has been actively developing since March 2020.
“Peaceful” life is replete with examples of a procedural management mechanism with initiatives of public associations. The example of Armenia, the recognized leader of non-formal education in the CIS, is indicative. This type of education solves a general developmental problem for adults. The metropolitan Center for the Arts n.a. after J. Cafesjian opened an interactive education center that brought together a variety of interactive programs (role-playing, business and educational games, imitations, inviting specialists, excursions), involving creativity, teamwork, social design, and competition. The proposed databank was formed in close cooperation with non-formal education communities; it is available for all educational organizations in Yerevan.
Adult education in the CIS needs support. Public associations are not seen as a resource for the continuity and openness of the education system. Non-systemic actors are becoming initiators of interaction with traditional educational organizations. The step forward on the part of traditional organizations is mainly due to emergency situations. It is necessary to stimulate the openness of the systemic area of the adult education space and educational measures. Creation of conceptual foundations for interaction management is the first stage for reaching a consolidated position on filling resource deficits.
The existing practice of interaction confirms the effectiveness of the procedural management mechanism. However, the mechanism of initiation has not been worked out by traditional educational organizations. The adoption of conceptual positions based on ideas about the adult education space, the network principle of interaction, which allows establishing partnerships between business structures, NGOs, and a range of public associations, seems productive. This aggregate is seen as a resource for eliminating the lack of traditional educational organizations, support for personal and social development, inflexible, cumbersome programs. The way to remedy the situation is integration with non-formal education practices. The management of such interactions should be based on communication to keep participants in the network.
To build a system of lifelong education, it will be necessary to use effective experience, create conditions for experiments in establishing links with public organizations, and analyze practices and develop norms on the dialogue platforms. Only in this way we will be able to reach the desired result – to create an education system as a system of support of development of citizens and society.
The research "Managing the interaction of educational organizations and public associations of adults in the CIS" was funded by the RFBR (grant No. 18-013-00435).
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Ilakavichus, M. R., & Yakushkina, M. S. (2021). Traditional Educational Organizations And Public Associations Of Adults Interaction In The Cis. In D. K. Bataev, S. A. Gapurov, A. D. Osmaev, V. K. Akaev, L. M. Idigova, M. R. Ovhadov, A. R. Salgiriev, & M. M. Betilmerzaeva (Eds.), Knowledge, Man and Civilization - ISCKMC 2020, vol 107. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 659-665). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2021.05.90