2008. no4

Educational Policies


This is the first part of the translated report "Trends Shaping Education", prepared by OECD experts. The continuation will be published in the next issues. 

Theoretical and Applied Research


This article is based on the book our research team is currently working on, Reality of Education. From a Research Metaphor to Data Interpretation. Our sincere hope is that the reader will find our ideas on the nature of interpretation of sociological data discussion"provoking rather than dogmatic or provocative.


Risk and uncertainty are well"recognized features of modern, dynamically changing societies. They penetrate social development mechanisms and become an integral part of social reality. Risks are felt particularly acutely by the youth as an objective part of life. Fundamental theoretical research is conducted to elucidate methods for managing risk. In this regard, the article examines how uncertainty and risk emerge in the social development of youth, it uncovers changes in the level of environmental and activity risks, and considers how these risks might be regulated. The analysis deals with the grounding of sociological mechanisms for risk management rather than with concrete risk trends. Due to its extreme importance for the social development of youth, the case of education is used to study changes in the institutional regulation of risks, and in school and college students’ self"regulation of risk. Particular attention is given to youth’s attitude to the National Project “Education” as to an institutional means of reducing risk, and to youth’s attitude to non"institutional regulation mechanisms involving social stratification, social organization, and cultural mechanisms of individual self"regulation. Sociological mechanisms of risk management are considered in the perspective of the nonlinearity of social changes in modern society and in education as an integral part of society. The study is based on representative surveys conducted by the Youth Department of the Social and Political Studies Institute of the RAS. The conclusion is that the social changes manifest themselves in modern Russian education in a variety of ways.


The article presents the results of a further multidimensional analysis of PIRLS"2006 data on the Russian sample. In the first part, the author discusses research on the connection between various characteristics of the school and family and the child’s achievements in PIRLS. In particular, she demonstrates that children from different socio-demographic groups showed a non"uniform five year long dynamic of achievements. The conditions under which school resources begin to have an impact on students’ reading skills are determined. The author suggests optimal combinations of reading tasks and text comprehension tasks. The second part describes the procedure and results of a regression analysis of key variables relating to school and home learning environments. The conclusion is that school and family factors have an unequal impact on the reading skills of a child. A negative impact of certain factors on reading skills is shown. The author proceeds to discuss alternative interpretations of the results and the desirability of secondary analyses of international surveys.



Most recent research clearly shows that the quality of education of any particular country heavily depends on the quality of its teaching cadre and competent policy decisions in that sector. In Russia unfortunately teacher training remains largely neglected by policy makers: both pre"service and in"service teacher training systems are neither efficient nor effective, no substantial reforms have been undertaken in this sector in the course of the last fifty years. The paper discusses recommendations made by international surveys and reviews as regards to selection, training, recruitment and retention of qualified teachers. It argues that Russia needs to develop outcome-based standards of teacher training. The status of a qualified teacher recently revisited by the Teacher Development Agency in Great Britain is considered as regards to policy implications it entails. Particular consideration is given to issues which need to be discussed as regards to development of an outcome based teacher training system in Russia.


The article considers an approach to the development of a system of indicators and specific measures of efficiency and productivity of educational services. This approach takes international practices into account. The author analyses more then 80 indicators of 56 Russian correctional education institutions located in 7 Russian regions. Using specific measures and indicators of providing education services to the handicapped, it is possible to manage the efficiency of spending in the education policy of a city, district or region. This would aid early discovery of weak areas in the financing of a standard education service, management of education quality, and the upholding of social justice. The use of a system of indicators and specific measures can help optimize expenditures on correctional education and more efficiently distribute the limited budget available.



A comparison of education systems in the USA, Western Europe, China, and modern Russia, shows that urgent reform of Russian universities is necessary. Based on the well-known theory of inferior goods, the author concludes that a large segment of Russian higher education either offers services of doubtful quality, or simply sells diplomas not substantiated by any real education. The article considers the consequences of this state of affairs for the job market and the education system itself.

Education Statistics and Sociology


This publication is an abridged version of a chapter from an analytical comparative report published in November, 2008. Based on the indices of education statistics, the report compares the Russian education system to that of 47 other countries. It uses materials published in yearly reports such as Education at a Glance, OECD, 2008; Education counts. Benchmarking Progress in 19 WEI Countries, UNESCO-UIS, 2007, and other data published by international organizations. The report discusses issues on the size of the Russian education system, the conditions under which it functions, and its funding. The present chapter deals with only one group of indices that describe the scale and structure of the population’s participation in education. An appendix contains tables with statistical indices for each country and aggregated values for country groups discussed in the main body of the paper. In the tables, countries are listed in order of decreasing GNP.


The article presents the general principles underlying the author’s program for studying in detail the political socialization of high school students. The program had been launched in 1996, and the results were published in a monograph entitled ‘High School Student in the World of Politics’ (1997). The basic purpose of the program is not simply to look at the modern Russian political landscape through the eyes of a teenager, but to use this view to bring into relief the actual contradictions and tensions of Russian political life. This is based on the understanding of the particular culturological significance and status of teenagers, and of their uniqueness in the general culture. Moreover, the author believes that teenagers’ opinions sometimes reflect sociocultural tensions more precisely and in more detail than do those of adults. The second large survey in the framework of this program was carried out almost a decade later, in 2005. The concluding part of this article compares the responses of the two generations of teenagers that deal with various aspects of Russian politics. The author’s goal is to determine shifts in values that influence the trajectory of changes in teenagers’ perception of political issues.

History of Education


The viewpoint that pedagogical terminology started emerging in Russia only in the 18th century is common in the Russian literature on the history of pedagogy. However, on the basis of various 11th–17th century sources, it is possible to conclude that the concepts of ‘upbringing’, ‘education’, ‘learning’, ‘teacher’, etc were already extensively used during this period. The terms ‘lesson’ and ‘class’ were established by the second half of the 17th century, despite the widely held opinion that they emerged only as a result of the late 18th-century education reform instituted by Catherine II. The present article uses published material and archival documents to show the emergence of basic pedagogical concepts in Russia from the 11th to 17th century.



A comment to the article "Crisis of General Secondary education in the Late 19th century" by Eduard Dneprov. 


Forty years have passed since one major social upheaval that occurred in many Western countries. It laid the foundations for a new culture and changed the education system all over the world. An international diary of the student protests in 1968 and a calendar of the events helps re"create the picture of university classrooms turned into a political stage, where processes were initiated that are still relevant today. (Prepared by E.N. Penskaya)

Book Reviews and Survey Articles



This article is one of the first attempts at a holistic study of the so-called youth press. The goal of this micro"study was to compile a list of leading media projects, to analyze their ideology, language, and target audience, and to compare two non"overlapping worlds: the metropolitan press and the provincial press.