2016. no2

Recruitment, Education and Retention of Teachers: Issues and Challenges in the Eastern/Central Europe, the Caucasus, Central Asia and Mongolia

Editorial. Letter of the Guest Editors to Readers 


Steiner-Khamsi Gita - PhD Professor, Columbia University (New York, USA). Address: Columbia University, 116th and Broadway, New York, N Y10027. E-mail: gs174@tc.columbia.edu

The post-Soviet teacher salary system is referred to as a “teaching load” (stavka) system, because the number of teaching hours accounts for the wide range of teachers’ income. This article discusses the challenges of the stavka system, presents a few changes and modifications over time, and provides examples of salary reforms of two countries: the 2007 teacher salary reform in Mongolia and the 2011 reform in K yrgyzstan. The UNICEF Kyrgyzstan study identifies six negative consequences of the high correlation between the salary and the number of hours taught: vulnerability of teachers, micromanagement of teachers, overcrowding of schools, vacancies as placeholders or “strategic vacancies”, excessive teaching loads, the redistribution of teaching hours to non-specialists. The Government of Mongolia successfully replaced the teaching load system with a workload system in 2007. In Kyrgyzstan, the re-stratification process led to a revolt of those who lost in the wake of the reform. Within a period of two years only, they ensured that the stavka-system was, with a few exceptions, put back in place. 


Belyavina Raisa - PhD Candidate, Graduate Research Fellow, Teachers College, Columbia University. Address: Teachers College, Columbia University, 525 West 120thSt., New York, NY10027. E-mail: rb2024@tc.columbia.edu 

In 2011, the Kyrgyz Republic implemented a teacher salary reform aimed to attract new teachers to the profession and to motivate teachers to improve the quality of their work. A key component of the reform was the introduction of the Stimulus Fund, an incentive pay structure. Although the Stimulus Fund comprised only 10 percent of the budget allocated to schools for staff compensation, this paper shows that it nevertheless played a significant role in the reform implementation process. This article examines whether the Stimulus Fund was successful in motivating teachers and the extent to which it was employed as intended to incentivize and reward high-performing teachers. The theoretical framework for this research builds on the scholarship of Larry Cuban (1998), who posits that schools and not policy makers are the key influencers of whether reforms are adopted or rejected. What this study suggests is that contrary to policy goals, the introduction of incentive pay had a deleterious impact on teacher motivation and resulted in a number of unintended consequences, including intergenerational rifts among teachers, a rejection of other components of the 2011 teacher salary reform, and a failure to make progress in overcoming the persisting challenge of attracting and retaining qualified teachers. As early as six months after the reform was announced, it began to be dismantled by schools and teachers. I argue that the Stimulus Fund was a catalyst for undermining the entire new teacher salary reform. 


Elena Lenskaya - Candidate of Sciences in Pedagogy, Dean of the Faculty of Educational Management, Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences. Address: 82/2 Vernadskogo av., 119571 Moscow, Russian Federation. E-mail: lenskaya@universitas.ru 
Irina Brun - Junior Researcher at the Center for Monitoring Education Quality, Institute of Education, National Research University — Higher School of Economics. Address: 20 Myasnitskaya str., 101000 Moscow, Russian Federation. E-mail: ivbruun@gmail.com

Based on results of TALIS‑2013, of which Russia was a participant for the first time, we analyze demographic characteristics, length of service and working load of school principals, their competencies and opportunities for professional development, as well as working conditions, duties and working priorities. We also discuss how principals participate in teacher performance assessment and delegate their school management responsibilities, which resources they need, and how they assess the ethos of their schools. Research was conducted in 14 regions of Russia and revealed different levels of leadership potential in educational institutions. The recent changes to the education system (new Federal Law “On Education”, new Federal State Educational Standards) require principals to work in a transformational leadership style, but only few of the respondents succeed. Principals prefer micromanagement” and interacting with individual teachers, not staff groups. Authoritarianism and unwillingness to delegate power are the major handicaps to transformational leadership of schools principals. There has been no established  ystem for school principal training in Russia so far. Only some of the regions reported to have trained over 20 percent of candidates prior to employment; meanwhile, there were regions with no training available to principals before the start of their career. It is imperative that the school principal training system involve teaching teambuilding, power delegation and distributed leadership skills. 


Marina Pinskaya - Candidate of Sciences in Pedagogy, Lead Researcher at the Center of Social and Economic School Development, Institute of Education, National Research University — Higher School of Economics. E-mail: mpinskaya@hse.ru 
Alena Ponomareva - Master of Psychology, Junior Researcher at the Center of Education Quality Monitoring, Institute of Education, National Research University — Higher School of Economics. E-mail: aponomareva@hse.ru 
Sergey Kosaretsky - Candidate of Sciences in Psychology, Director of the Center of Social and Economic School Development, Institute of Education, National Research University — Higher School of Economics. E-mail: skosaretski@hse.ru 
Address: 20 Myasnitskaya str., 101000 Moscow, Russian Federation.

Based on TALIS‑2013 results, we analyze professional competencies of young teachers in Russia, their employment patterns, introduction into the profession, professional development, the challenges the meet in teaching, and their satisfaction with the feedback they get from school administrators and colleagues. We show that the corpus of Russian teachers is not homogeneous, as assessments made by teachers of different age differ greatly in all areas. Young teachers have difficulties with professional communication and face barriers in accessing professional development. Meanwhile, they are not ready to solve practical teaching problems and have insufficient knowledge of modern teaching techniques. We come to the conclusion that young teachers need their professional growth opportunities to be extended, primarily through active group-based training. Their chances for successful adaptation to school practice requirements could be increased by establishing an introduction to the profession period to support their basic motivation and prevent the flight of young teachers from school due to low job satisfaction. 


Mikayilova Ulviyya - PhD in Biology, Executive Director of the Center for Innovations in Education (Baku, Azerbaijan). Address: Vidadi str., 24/26, A Z1095, Baku, Republic of Azerbaijan. E-mail: umikailova@cie.az 
Kazimzade Elmina - PhD in Educational Psychology, Associate Professor of Applied Psychology at the Baku State University (Baku, Azerbaijan). Address: Academic Zahid Khalilov str., 23, A Z‑1073/1, Baku, Republic of Azerbaijan. E-mail address: ekazimzade@cie.az

This paper builds off current research trends on teacher professional development in Eurasian countries, including the diversification of teacher training, opportunities for teacher professional networking, and developing collaborative community culture within schools and the broader education community. This study aims to explore teacher beliefs and thoughts on the effectiveness of professional development, specifically in the context of the Education Sector Reform Project (ESRP), implemented in Azerbaijan during 2008–2013. This study analyzes quantitative data from two surveys- the teacher self-assessment and the education reforms assessment. In the prevailing conventional teacher training system, teachers are perceived as beneficiaries of professional development programs. However, over the last decade, policy-makers are beginning to attach greater importance to professional development where teachers are seen as learners that are encouraged to make professional development decisions based on their needs. Including teachers in the design of teacher professional development programs might be suggested as a way to ensure teacher learning activities have a greater impact on the quality of teaching. Such a participatory approach that strengthens teachers’ roles as decision makers in their professional development has the potential to advance the teacher support during education reforms. Education researchers also have an important role as facilitators mediating dialogue between teachers and policy-makers in order to build the effective partnership within the education community.


William C. Smith - Senior Project Officer — Research, Global Education Monitoring Report, UNESCO. Address: Global Education Monitoring Report, UNESCO, 7 Place de Fontenoy, 75007 Paris, France. Email: mrsmithatmckay@yahoo.com 
Anna M. Persson - Ph. D. Candidate, The Pennsylvania State University. Address: Curriculum and Supervision, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, USA 16801. Email: anna.persson720@gmail.com

Provided the shared post-soviet context and the rapidly declining school age population, this comparative study of teachers in Estonia, Georgia, and Latvia can shed light on alternative approaches to increased teacher satisfaction for countries in similar contexts that are unable to make across the board increases in teacher salary. The focus on high poverty schools is essential in these countries as the changing demographics and present school funding mechanisms disproportionately affect rural schools which are often high poverty. This study addresses two pressing research questions, exploring each independently for Estonia, Georgia, and Latvia: 1) How does teacher satisfaction and other teacher characteristics differ by school poverty level? 2) What policy relevant factors are related to increased satisfaction for teachers in high poverty schools? Data from the 2013 Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) were used in this study. Given the dichotomous measures of the outcome variable (teacher satisfaction), hierarchical generalized linear modeling (HGLM) was the primary method of analysis. Although the policy  implementation and internalization process is challenging, this study indicates that simplistic, externally driven policy solutions, such as introducing induction programs or changing the contract status of teachers, are not as effective in increasing teacher satisfaction as investments that contribute to a positive school climate where teachers feel valued and included as professionals. 


Aydarova Elena - PhD, Postdoctoral Scholar, Arizona State University. Address: 1120 S Cady Mall, Interdisciplinary Building B, Suite 353, Tempe, A Z 85287–1811. E-mail: olena.aydarova@asu.edu

Teacher recruitment and retention are often examined as technical problems that can be solved by providing teachers with incentives, evaluations, or more practical initial preparation. This paper proposes a reconceptualization of pre-service teachers’ flight from the profession. By applying Lefebvre’s (1991) theory of space to the analysis of ethnographic data collected in the Russian Federation between 2011 and 2014, this paper highlights how teachers’ plight in schools and in the society at large shapes teacher education students’ career aspirations. Based on classroom observations, focus group data, as well as media artifacts, I show that the perceived, lived, and conceived spaces of schooling hold little promise for students in teacher education programs. Teachers’ pay, the structure of teachers’ work, as well as school students’ attitudes towards teachers reveal that schools have come to occupy a peripheral position in the Russian society. Teachers’ experiences in schools as managed professionals burdened with bureaucratic responsibilities and undergoing significant amounts of stress make teaching a precarious occupation. Representations of schools and teachers’ work in the media and public service announcements portray schools as irrelevant and immoral spaces where only “losers” go to work. In this situation, meaningful educational change would require both a reimagining of the spaces of schooling and a collective dialogue on the role education should play in the Russian society.


Kuzhabekova Aliya - PhD in Higher Education Policy and Administration (University of Minnesota, USA); Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Education, Nazarbayev University (Kazakhstan). E-mail address: aliya.kuzhabekova@nu.edu.kz 
Zhaparova Raina - Master of Science in Investment Banking and Finance (Glasgow University, U K); Teacher of Economics and Social Studies at Nazarbayev Intellectual School of Astana city. E-mail address: raina.zhaparova@nu.edu.kz 
Address: 53 Kabanbay Batyr Avenue, 010000, Astana, Kazakhstan.

Active learning instruction is promoted by the most recent version of the National Program for the Development of Education in Kazakhstan as it is believed to provide more meaningful learning and deeper understanding compared to traditional instruction. In order to achieve greater utilization of the instructional approach at schools, teachers must be aware of active learning techniques and know how to use them. The paper studies whether ‘apprenticeship of observation’ during a graduate course using active learning techniques had an impact on novice and experienced teachers’ attitudes towards active learning instruction. The study used data from a survey of students taking the course, which was focused on educational issues rather than methodologi cal training. The results of the study confirmed the hypotheses that ‘apprenticeship of observation’ has an influence on teachers not only during pre-service training, but also at later stages of their careers, when they become involved in professional development or continuing education. This influence was especially obvious for teachers with no or little exposure to professional development. Based on these results the paper also suggests some practical implications. Limitations and biases that could affect results are also mentioned.

Theoretical and Applied Research


Olga Gorelova - Research Assistant at the International Research Laboratory for Institutional Analysis of Economic Reforms, National Research University — Higher School of Economics. Address: 20 Myasnitskaya str., 101000 Moscow, Russian Federation. E-mail: ogorelova@hse.ru

We investigate into cross-university academic mobility, which implies working for more than one university over a teaching career. Judging by available research results, mobility affects positively the academic system as a whole, although its correlation with personal teacher characteristics differs from country to country. According to the Changing Academic Profession survey conducted using the same methodology in 19 countries of the world in 2007–2009 and in Russia in 2012, we analyze the correlation of cross-university academic mobility with publication activity, working time distribution and professional communication of the academic staff. We demonstrate that the level of cross-university staff mobility was extremely low in the early 2010s, which was considered normal by the academic community though. Under such conditions, almost no significant correlations were found between mobility and professional activity characteristics of instructors (productivity, time distribution and collaboration with colleagues), the latter being more or less the same for both mobile and non-mobile staff members.


Arabela Oliven - Professor of Sociology of Education in the Graduate Program in Education at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS); Research Fellow at GEU — Grupo de Estudos sobre Universidade (Center for the Study of Universities). E-mail: arabelaoliven@gmail.com 

Luciane Bello - PhD Student in the Graduate Program in Education of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS); Social Worker at UFRGS’s Department of Education and Social Development. E-mail: luciane.bello@ufrgs.br 

Address: Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Av. Paulo Gama, 110 — BairroFarroupilha — Porto Alegre — Rio Grande do Sul, Brasil. 

The best Brazilian universities are public, free of charge, and highly selective. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, many public universities began to earmark spots in all courses for underrepresented groups. The targets of these affirmative action policies were usually  students coming from public schools, African-Brazilians, and Natives. This article introduces data on Brazil’s higher education system since its early beginnings: its expansion, segmentation between public and private sectors, and the elitist character of public universities. It points out specificities of race relations in the country since the arrival of the Portuguese, and the historical context that favored the introduction of inclusion policies in public universities. It then deploys qualitative data in order to present the experience of African-Brazilians and Natives who entered an elite university — the Federal University do Rio Grande do Sul — through affirmative action policies. This university is located in the South of the country, the region that has the highest percentage of white population. The analysis focuses on the educational trajectory, family support and expectations, race relations in the university, resilience processes, and plans for the future of a group of racial quota students. By reporting on a pioneering experience, it discusses the importance of diversity in the student body and the challenges the university has to tackle for facing this new reality.

History of Education


Mayofis Mariya - PhD in Philology, Senior Research Fellow at the School for Advanced Study in Humanities, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration; Associate Professor at the Institute of Public Policy, RANEPA. Address: 82, Vernadskogo pr., 119571, Moscow, Russian Federation. E-mail: mmaiofis@yandex.ru

Through the analysis of published and archived documents the author seeks to discern the reasons that impelled the Soviet government to establish schools with the advanced study of foreign languages. These reasons seem to be particularly interesting when taking into account that the said schools were founded in the period known by harsh fighting against “cosmopolitanism” and “kowtowing to the West.” Graduates of the new schools were expected to alleviate the acute shortage of experts with foreign language skills, so the focus was put on speaking skills first, while the common secondary school syllabus was restricted to reading and translating. The author believes the conception of schools with the advanced study of foreign languages was self-contradictory from the very beginning and analyzes the resource, social, methodological and  deological restrictions that had to be forced on the language school project. The era of “fighting against cosmopolitanism” left an imprint on the teaching philosophy: all learning materials had to pass numerous ideological filters, as Soviet leaders feared foreign languages would have underlying negative effects on students.

Book Reviews and Survey Articles


Isak Froumin - Doctor of Sciences in General Pedagogy, History of Pedagogy and Education, Tenured Professor, Academic Supervisor of the Institute of Education, National Research University — Higher School of Economics. Address: 20 Myasnitskaya str., 101000 Moscow, Russian Federation. E-mail: ifroumin@hse.ru

In 2016, Voprosy obrazovaniya Library was enriched with another book, the Russian edition of Philip W. Jackson’s classic book on school education, which was first published in 1968 and has become a bestseller for Western teachers and researchers. We introduce the reader to the foreword to this book written by professor Isak Froumin, who was lucky to know the author personally and who is discussing the relevance Jackson’s lessons maintain even nowadays.