Volume:1, Issue: 2

Sep. 1, 2009

Initial vocational training: all efforts towards modernization
Vyacheslav V. Pogodin [about]

SYNOPSIS: This is initially a paper presented at the recent Perm regional educational meeting. The author describes the work of the Board of Directors of Initial Vocational Training and some new tendencies which help the regional vocational training system stay in line with the regional economy.

The system of vocational training in the Perm region is managed by a special state-public organ, called the Board of Directors of Initial Vocational Training; it was founded by the Regional Ministry of Education. All the educational institutions that are under the Board’s supervision are divided into four main groups: Northeastern, Western, Central, and Southern. Each of the groups has elected its representatives for the regional Board of Directors; a number of representatives is defined by the established quotas. These representatives have become deputies of the Board Chairman and then, through the election process, we formed an entire Board of Directors. Together with principals of professional schools and colleges this Board has the most experienced instructors from the vocational training system, potential employers, and representatives from the Regional Ministry of Education.

The primary goal of our Board is to assist the development, stability, and modernization of the system of initial vocational training, uniting the efforts of the administration and staff of educational professional institutions. This is quite a complicated and complex task. In our attempt to meet the needs of vocational training and to completely fulfill the task, we stay in constant cooperation with Boards of Directors of secondary vocational training establishments and the Privolzhsky federal district, as well as with non-governmental organizations, and executives of industrial enterprises.

Board meetings are held once a quarter, and we discuss issues of modernization of educational establishments of initial vocational training together with suggestions and instructions of the Regional Ministry of Education. The decisions that we make are then fulfilled with the help of local boards and sections which work in different directions and, without any exception, are as mandatory for all educational institutions in our system.

While preparing and training qualified workers the system of initial vocational training is playing an important role in providing stable economic growth in the region. It also fulfills an important social task providing our youth with free professional education. At the present moment the system of initial professional education unites fifty-eight regional educational establishments and six institutions of the federal level. All in all, they teach 30,000 young people. To illustrate these figures, in 2008 our professional schools were teaching 20% of the teenagers and youth whose ages ranged from fifteen to eighteen; in other words, 25% of all the ninth grade graduates of our secondary schools and 10% of secondary school graduates. Every year our system issues 11,000 diplomas to its graduates.

We foresee a number of radical changes in connection with recent additions to the law on professional education and with the introduction of full secondary education as a prerequisite to be enrolled in institutions of initial vocational training.

In 2007, the Governor of the Perm region Oleg Chirkunov introduced the following idea: “We should radically change the system of forming and financing a state order in initial and secondary vocational training. I suggest that the Government should start issuing certificates which will allow different businesses to send their workers and young people to study at regional expense.” This was a totally different and new approach. The Regional Ministry of Education, together with boards of directors from systems of initial and secondary vocational training, have worked out principles and strategies of introducing such certificates, and the project was launched in 2008. The certificates that are given to employers allow regulating streams of students and putting them into the direction most valuable for the regional economy.

Monitoring of this new system feature has shown that we can definitely put training of new workers in line with the most demanded vocations in the region. This happens because certification has allowed to clearly defining numbers and types of specialists which the regional economy needs. It also showed what vocations were most important for both employers and potential students. Taken all together, this made the strategy of the development of initial vocational training more valid. Naturally, this mechanism of certification is not yet perfect but still it is very helpful in creating a whole new goal-orientated program of initial vocational training in the region, and in this way to effectively solve any problems that appear.

The whole network of initial vocational training demands a lot of restructuring as the number of students decreases with every passing year. The process of certification has once again proved it. Our current activities are directed towards combining different educational establishments with the main goal to bring together those that prepare workers for the same type of industry. The reason for such work is to preserve the material base and to do everything possible which allows the renovation of the entire system of vocational training while effectively fulfilling its primary goal.

Today, educational establishments of initial vocational training in the region can give qualifications in 113 vocational areas and 253 specialties. By themselves, these figures show the rich possibilities for choosing different educational programs and establish a positive balance between needs and offers. With every passing year we observe the tendency of increasing the number of students who want to study house construction, become lathe and machine operators. This is explained by the priorities of the regional economy and the development of our industrial enterprises.

One can define the quality of teaching using different criteria. One the most important of these criteria is the professional level of instructors and teachers in the system of initial vocational training. To illustrate this, I can give you a couple of figures: 90% of all staff members have college degrees, 320 of them have achieved the highest attestation level. We are doing some separate work to help raise the professional level of teachers. A special section of methodological work that was created by the Board of Directors helps as well. There is one more institution whose activies are also helpful, that is the School of Professional Education of the Regional Institute of In-Service Training.

In 2008, the Professional Lyceum #1, won the national prize in the competition «Education». This is also a solid proof of the quality of teaching and learning in this venerable school of vocational training which is managed by Honored Teacher of the Russian Federation A.N. Naugolnyhk.

To conclude, restructuring and reorganizing of the educational establishments of the Regional Perm system of initial vocational training is orientated primarily towards uniting the efforts of all forces involved to reach higher levels of educational quality together with the effective use of public funds.

1 Pogodin, Vyacheslav V. [ In Russian: Вячеслав Владимирович Погодин], Chairman of the Regional Perm Board of Directors of Initial Vocational Training, Principal of Professional School No 39, Merited Teacher of Vocational Training of the Russian Federation.

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