Children’s goods manufacturers call for modernisation of the educational system
On 10 March a session of the manufactures’ third congress looked at a proposal to enhance the ‘infrastructure’ of contemporary childhood nationally. Participants made the point that the Russian system of education and child guidance was out of date and they made proposals for improvements to the structure of the industry and government policy.
Russia is expecting a demographic down-turn in the near future, an increase in the quantity of migration (though not in quality) and a change in educational priorities in favour of the innovative. The My Generation Foundation makes these forecasts in their report ‘Childhood 2030’. A representative of the public chamber said that many of the conclusions of the report were bound to alter perceptions of what needed to be done in relation to working with children. By 2015 half the world’s population will be using the internet. Linguistic barriers will be removed for most of the population of developed countries. It will be possible to receive an education from anywhere on the planet. So different means of development at government level need to be considered both in the field of education and the manufacture of children’s goods. It is essential to forget about traditional class-based lessons and to make an educational menu available to children from which they can make selections. Furthermore, it is really important to take into account the children’s interests where innovative technologies are concerned.
One of the key ways forward must be the development of teacher potential, in the view of the director of the educational products department of Novy Disk (New Disc). The national initiative Our New School should be directed towards improving the professional training of higher education lecturers, modernising teacher training and moving towards raising the level of teaching qualifications. ‘It is no secret that at the moment we are producing teachers for the twentieth century, which is simply unacceptable today’, emphasised the director. Schoolteachers are not up to working with the modern equipment that is being supplied to schools. The training organisations are not in a position to assist in this respect.
A representative of the ministry of education who heads the department for supplementary youth and children’s education said that it was possible to deal with the problem by setting up special centres in each federal district where multi-media materials could be available for use. However, both government and industry should participate in the work of the centres. Thought should also be given to combining the efforts of the National Association of Toymakers, the manufacturers of articles for children and the teachers themselves. Perhaps the associations might organise a ‘Teacher of the Year’ competition. She went on to say that industry could also play a key role in nurturing a sense of patriotism in the children and promoting the development of a healthy lifestyle.
The president of the toymakers’ association promised that the proposals would be taken into account in the resolutions to be passed by the congress and would be submitted for consideration by the Duma on 24 March with a view to appropriate decisions being made by the government.
ASI Bulletin 17, 2010,