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Moscow Polytech
30 January 2019

Unobvious choice: the expert explained why school graduates choose colleges

The system of professional education in Russia is undergoing active modernization: the government allocates serious funds for modern equipment, repairs of premises, it introduces new educational standards and programs, and specialists pass retraining. Soon most of colleges will meet requirements of the global level. Head of the Center for Development of Professional Education of Moscow Polytechnic University and one of the leading experts in development of the national system of special professional education Aleksey Ovchinnikov told the correspondent of “The Social Navigator: at MIA “Russia Today” what the colleges will look like in the near future.


- Mr. Ovchinnikov, in recent years it has become difficult for applicants to get admitted to universities due to continuously growing Unified State Exam (USE) points. Will there be an “influx” of students to colleges”?

- Undoubtedly, we are already watching a growing interest to colleges all over the country. Even in Moscow, with a sufficient number of universities and state-financed places. The cause of this fact is not only USE. It is important to parents that their children can work with their hands and get a profession in high demand. Colleges do provide such an opportunity: two thirds of their graduates get employed within the profession. In addition, since the requirements of universities have been raised, many applicants began to consider a strategy of entering universities after college. Moreover, most of professional education institutions have partner universities and concluded cooperation agreements. There are also a lot of universities in the country, where one can be enrolled after college to the second course.

- Many Russians have a stereotype that colleges are for the schoolchildren who have chance to enter university. What do you think about that?

- Indeed, such a myth exists, because many colleges are in poor condition. But the situation is changing. Currently there are around four thousand colleges, according to the data of the Ministry of Enlightenment of the Russian Federation, and over five hundred of them train specialists in terms of applied work no worse than universities.

- Many schoolchildren have already determined their future profession. Who of them should pay attention to applying to a college?

- The applicants who want to work in the IT sphere, in automotive business, medicine, cosmetology, fashion industry – college training will definitely allow them to become high-level professionals. By the way, the leading employers in the IT industry, like “1C”, “Kaspersky Lab”, “Yandex”, do not see any significant difference among diplomas of programmers who have graduated from universities or colleges. For them they are employees with comparable qualification levels.

- Will there be enough places in colleges for all those who are willing to go there?

- The number of state-financed places is adequate in all the regions, it is ensured by the Constitution of the Russian Federation, which guarantees two levels of affordable and free education: a school and a college. But there is a number of directions with a rather high competition: for example, nurses, IT specialists. There, applicants will have to fight for a state-financed place.

- What Russian city is the best for studying at colleges?

- Of course, the best system of secondary education is in Moscow, but it would be incorrect to compare it with other regions, because the capital has a number of significant peculiarities and advantages. More than a dozen leader regions can be mentioned here: Tyumen, Krasnoyarsk Kray, Tatarstan, Rostov-on-Don, St Petersburg with the Leningrad region, Yekaterinburg, Krasnoyarsk Kray, Khabarovsk, Yakutia, Chuvashia. Each of the regions has three-five colleges with a very decent training level.

- How is the system of secondary professional education being improved, what is new in it?

- Firstly, a situation of multichannel regulation of the contents and quality of training appeared. Now, in the process of creating an educational program, a college is guided not only by the state requirements – the federal educational standard, but also by requirements of employers – professional standards, international competence standards, distributed by the WorldSkills movement and industrial special features.

Secondly, a cooperation among the colleges begins to take shape – a networking. The advanced competence centers exchange their experience.

Thirdly, flexible educational trajectories begin to appear. According to the new standard, a college has a right to change the training program by 30%, depending on the industrial requirements and peculiarities of the local labor market.

- Mr. Ovchinnikov, what is the future of colleges?

- A few processes will take place: due to the priority project (the National Project “Education” – Ed.) the general level of equipment and training quality in colleges will rise within three-four years. No less than a half of institutions will pass to new training standards, new equipment will appear, as well as new programs, which we are currently testing. Undoubtedly, a group of leaders will be seen among the colleges, who will demonstrate outstanding success and will overcome universities on a number of directions of applied training. Besides, the colleges will significantly expand their audience and acquire new functions: they will become platforms for the work with various groups of population. Schoolchildren will come to colleges to attend profession-oriented classes, while people of pre-retirement age will study at training improvement programs.

The material was published on the RIA News website (in Russian).

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