2007. no4

Educational Policies


Symptoms of a Systemic Disease

This article considers the workings of the state education system, which is almost the same throughout developed countries. Studies on education that became widely known in the 20th and 21st centuries are analyzed, such as John Dewey’s Democracy and Education and Experience and Education, Alexander Neill’s Summerhill, John Raven’s The Tragic Illusion: Educational Testing, Ivan Illich’s Deschooling Society, and John Goodlad’s A Place Called School. The practice of the American school is paid special attention, with reference to personal experiences. The declared purposes of education are compared to the actual goals teachers set themselves. Federal legislation for a new reform of education in the US is also considered. The authors arrive at the conclusion that attempts to create a progressive and democratic education system during the last century have failed.


The article recognizes that the knowledge society and the economics of knowledge have considerably changed the demands placed on education. The teaching of concrete subjects is now combined with a general emphasis on general intellectual development and the stimulation of creativity and independence. Knowledge quickly becomes outdated, and the school must make its pupils aware of the need to constantly be one’s own teacher. This is happening in societies in which the movement towards a knowledge society was gradual, but even then the education paradigm does not change smoothly, but is prone to deep and rapid reforms. In Russia, this change took place in the post-crisis period. Russian schools suffered major losses in staff, and successful reforms are impossible without compensating for these losses. The article considers possible ways of recovering staff potential in the middle term perspective, if the necessary resources can be found. The issues considered here are not abstract; they arose in the course of successful experiments carried out by HSE staff in several regions.

Theoretical and Applied Research


This article was written after the authors visited a number of leading American universities, during which they met their American counterparts, experts in the economics and sociology of education. The organization of the education systems of Russia and the US were compared and contrasted during discussions on academic culture and career, incentives for academic staff and policies for supporting university research. The analysis is centered on the incentives of those who work in the education system. These incentives are the product of the rules or conventions of the education system. Particular attention is paid to the specifics of how curricula are planned in Russian universities (in the context of forming Masters programs, the fixedness of education trajectories, etc), the distance of staff in Russian colleges from modern teaching and research standards, as well as the mechanisms and norms of academic management.


Translated from English by A. Pinskaya.

Content of Education



The Role of Research in a University. Round table, July 2007


Translated from English by E. Pokatovich.


This article uses regional ratings in the problem of evaluating the level of development of higher education in the regions of Russia. Using published ratings of the development of education across regions, the author analyzes the situation in the Yaroslavl region. She determines 11 parameters that characterize higher professional education in the region and investigates the reasons for their change over the course of two years. The article stresses the practical use of such studies for designing programs for the regional development of education. The author proposes a method for improving the data used in ratings, which would ensure the comparability of data. The possibility of increasing the number of parameters and of changing the contents of ratings is discussed.



The article considers the resources and abilities of today’s Russian school for dealing with the most common children’s chronic behavior disorder, hyperactivity. The authors discuss the reasons for hyperactivity, how it manifests itself at various age levels, and the principal discrepancies between the education system and the needs and abilities of a hyperactive child. Schools have enough resources to make the education and upbringing of hyperactive children much more efficient, if there were proper management. In particular, the article presents the results of a study of the learning dynamics in children taught according to the Elkonin–Davydov developing education program, and compares it to other education systems.

Education Statistics and Sociology


PIRLS and PISA tests assess the highly desirable but hardly achievable outcome of contemporary education — how instrumental become the skills and knowledge acquired at school, in particular reading literacy of the students, i.e. their ability to use written texts as the main source for self-education. The current international monitoring of educational results is focused on two crucial stages in the development of learning independence: PIRLS studies the transition from learning to read to reading to learn, and PISA — the transition from the world of school into the world of work. This paper analyzes the controversial data from the representative samples of Russian schoolchildren. The four-graders came out with the world’s top level of reading literacy, whereas 15-year-olds demonstrated poor results. Acknowledging the lack of Step-by-step improvement in Russian schoolchildren’s learning independence in the span of middle school, the authors discuss the possible reasons for ambiguous results of the educational reforms in Russia and propose prospective avenues for further modernization of school system.

History of Education


Book Reviews and Survey Articles


Translated from English by I. Friedman.