Реферат: School Reform: Pros and Cons
Svetlana Levanova, 512 AE
SCHOOL REFORM: PROS ANDCONS
Suddenly thewhole society realized the necessity of a school reform. We clasped our handswith great surprise and exclaimed: “Why, but we have to change it!” There's nosmoke without fire. If we inspect the issue more profoundly it will be clearthat the idea emerged not so accidentally.
Investigationsprove that almost 90% of school students have developed health problems or arenow behind the norm of their age in mental and physical maturity. The reasonfor that can be found not only in poor economy of the state and hostileenvironment, but also in the conditions at school in which students spend tenyears. The load of new subjects and the growing depth of learning are the basicreasons for health problems.
Striving for aprestigious status of gymnasiums or lyceums some schools introduce newsubjects, include them into their curriculum and make them compulsory. They mayteach logic, psychology, and culture of thought, ecology, economics and whatnot! Frequently it is done at the cost of a reduced number of hours intendedfor such disciplines as physics, biology, literature, history and others. Thenorms, standards and demands remain on the same level though school childrenlack the time necessary to learn the subjects successfully. At the same timethey normally spend over six hours at school and over four hours doing theirhomework. Hence the workweek of a regular high-school student is sixty hours!
Specializedschools, which put special emphasis on humanities or sciences or languages, arereputed to be highly professional. They double the number of hours of specificsubjects thus aiming at the quality of students’ knowledge. The result is twofaceted. On the one hand the volume of acquired knowledge is overly increasedtogether with the load of intensified process of learning, on the other hand weface a catastrophic fall in the condition of students’ bodies and minds.
One morenerve-wrecking factor is an independent examination commission. Specializedschools introduced exams at each year beginning with the fifth grade. Schoolstudents strain every nerve to please the commission to simply pass from onegrade to another and then find themselves in breakdowns. There’s no ground forthat. Final control testing is proved to be sufficient except for graduateyears.
Transformationswill be first of all done in the educational standards and the curriculum. Itis necessary to create new standards, to give expertise and to discuss andcriticize them. Those teachers who are really interested in their students’performance and health should participate in this discussion.
If we assess the whole educationalsystem of Russia critically, successes of the past were linked to the skillrequirements of a planned economy, not to the demands of an unplanned labormarket and an open society. Capital investments in education have beendeclining for the last decades. Buildings have deteriorated, libraries areantiquated, and laboratory equipment is becoming unusable.
Russia's curricular traditions are ill-suited for an economy whereproblem-solving ability and occupational flexibility are of great importance.Soviet curriculum tended to emphasize the acquisition of factual material andto underemphasize the skills necessary for applying this material to unfamiliarcircumstances in other words, problem-solving skills.
Teachers’ staff constitutes one more task for the government. Thereis hardly any teacher in Russia who would be satisfied with his or her salaryand working condition. Therefore not so many people, young girls mostly, arewilling to acquire this profession. Experienced school teachers say that todayteaching is based on pure enthusiasm. Only those who feel their naturalpredisposition to teaching are still loyal to the profession. Teaching isneither well-paid nor prestigious.
Defining the problems we may come to the corollary that Russianeducational system has so many burning issues that it is hard to imagine howthis system still manages to survive. The bundle of problems seems to betightly knitted. The much discussed school reform should deal not only withtwelve-year education and curricular changes but also with financing as well aslegislation. The budgeting process should be revised accordingly. The number ofissues is immense but we have to bear in mind that our future depends oneducation of the young generation who is the future of the country.