Рефераты. School Reform: Pros and Cons

School Reform: Pros and Cons

Svetlana Levanova, 512 AE



Suddenly the whole society realized the necessity of a school reform.

We clasped our hands with great surprise and exclaimed: “Why, but we have

to change it!” There's no smoke without fire. If we inspect the issue more

profoundly it will be clear that the idea emerged not so accidentally.

Investigations prove that almost 90% of school students have

developed health problems or are now behind the norm of their age in mental

and physical maturity. The reason for that can be found not only in poor

economy of the state and hostile environment, but also in the conditions at

school in which students spend ten years. The load of new subjects and the

growing depth of learning are the basic reasons for health problems.

Striving for a prestigious status of gymnasiums or lyceums some

schools introduce new subjects, include them into their curriculum and make

them compulsory. They may teach logic, psychology, and culture of thought,

ecology, economics and what not! Frequently it is done at the cost of a

reduced number of hours intended for such disciplines as physics, biology,

literature, history and others. The norms, standards and demands remain on

the same level though school children lack the time necessary to learn the

subjects successfully. At the same time they normally spend over six hours

at school and over four hours doing their homework. Hence the workweek of a

regular high-school student is sixty hours!

Specialized schools, which put special emphasis on humanities or

sciences or languages, are reputed to be highly professional. They double

the number of hours of specific subjects thus aiming at the quality of

students’ knowledge. The result is two faceted. On the one hand the volume

of acquired knowledge is overly increased together with the load of

intensified process of learning, on the other hand we face a catastrophic

fall in the condition of students’ bodies and minds.

One more nerve-wrecking factor is an independent examination

commission. Specialized schools introduced exams at each year beginning

with the fifth grade. School students strain every nerve to please the

commission to simply pass from one grade to another and then find

themselves in breakdowns. There’s no ground for that. Final control testing

is proved to be sufficient except for graduate years.

Transformations will be first of all done in the educational

standards and the curriculum. It is necessary to create new standards, to

give expertise and to discuss and criticize them. Those teachers who are

really interested in their students’ performance and health should

participate in this discussion.

If we assess the whole educational system of Russia critically,

successes of the past were linked to the skill requirements of a planned

economy, not to the demands of an unplanned labor market and an open

society. Capital investments in education have been declining for the last

decades. Buildings have deteriorated, libraries are antiquated, and

laboratory equipment is becoming unusable.

Russia's curricular traditions are ill-suited for an economy where

problem-solving ability and occupational flexibility are of great

importance. Soviet curriculum tended to emphasize the acquisition of

factual material and to underemphasize the skills necessary for applying

this material to unfamiliar circumstances in other words, problem-solving


Teachers’ staff constitutes one more task for the government. There is

hardly any teacher in Russia who would be satisfied with his or her salary

and working condition. Therefore not so many people, young girls mostly,

are willing to acquire this profession. Experienced school teachers say

that today teaching is based on pure enthusiasm. Only those who feel their

natural predisposition to teaching are still loyal to the profession.

Teaching is neither well-paid nor prestigious.

Defining the problems we may come to the corollary that Russian

educational system has so many burning issues that it is hard to imagine

how this system still manages to survive. The bundle of problems seems to

be tightly knitted. The much discussed school reform should deal not only

with twelve-year education and curricular changes but also with financing

as well as legislation. The budgeting process should be revised

accordingly. The number of issues is immense but we have to bear in mind

that our future depends on education of the young generation who is the

future of the country.

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