The acceleration of socio-economic, scientific and technical progress influences greatly in all sides of material and spiritual production; on the system of social relations; on a person him/herself. It is the dynamism of society development that caused the necessity and urgency of education reformation.
In former historical periods relatively slow evolution of social production stipulated the structural and content constancy of education. There formed the ‘ultimate´ educational type presupposed that once obtained knowledge preserves its value during the whole professional activity of a person.
Under the conditions of scientific and technical revolution the renovation rate of technique and technologies as well as the forms of labour organization became superior to the role of generation replacement. There appeared inprecedented mobility and changeability of social production demanding constant change of content, character and direction of professional activity.
The efficient execution of duties became embarrassing of practically impossible for a number of working categories - from employers.
The ‘ultimate´ education aggravates the problems of functional (professional) ignorance and technological unemployment. There appeared the deficiency of political, economical, legal, technical, socio-psychological and ecological knowledge - so the human estrangement from labour, nature, society and other people has intensified.
The established system of education intensifies social , contradictions as well. Professional incompetence, low legal conscience, inability to carry on political dialogue, social irrestponsibility, economic and political illiteracy along with ignoring Russian and world cultural and historical experience impedes the choice for many members of the society.
The education´s lagging behind new life realities caused the devaluation of its social significance. The gap between constantly increasing volume of necessary knowledge, skills, understanding and limited (in any ‘ultimate´ educational system) conditions to get it permanently deepens. The traditional system of education has practically reached its limit.
The demand for permanent renovation of knowledge, for maintenance (at the required level) the readiness to execute sophisticated social and professional functions gave rise to different kinds of informal, in-service training, self-education and so on, which to a certain extend compensate the shortages of the established system of education.
Thus, there have formed objective preconditions for transition to continuous education realized in the system of further vocational training; in-service training, retraining and refreshment courses as well as other target-oriented ones. But the orientation to the ‘ultimate´ education and the established links of comprehensive and vocational training remained unchanged.
It is obvious that adult training is the top of the ‘iceberg´ rooted to the secondary school and childhood.
The compensatory training unfortunately doesn´t lead to the integrity of the educational system. Simple addition of new links to the existing ones without qualitative changes in content and form of their work can´t make the education continuous neither can it solve the arising contradictions thus causing overloading of students.
It is necessary to re-interpret the target functions of educational system, the tasks of its separate stages and links; to revise traditional conceptions concerning social essence of education, correlation with other sorts and forms of social practice; to recomprehend the place and role of education as a social institution in life of human being and society.
The dynamism of modern civilization, growth of the cultural layer the strengthening of a personal social role, raising humanization, democratization of society, rapid change of technique and technologies presuppose to replace the formula ‘education for life´ to ‘education through the whole life´.
However, the outlining approaches to understanding the essence of continual education are rather contradicting. In some cases they are identified with infinite training considering that mechanical unification of all stages of education process will eliminate existing contradictions and deadlocks in education. In other cases, the simple addition of some new links to the existing system is assumed to be enough.
The qualitative improvement in public conscience, new political and pedagogical thinking are highly demanded being sine qua non of changes efficiency in the sphere of social educational practice.
The central idea of continual education concerns the development of human being as a personality, subject of activity and communication during al his/her life.
The education can be called ‘continual´ if it is general in its completeness and is individualized in time, rate and direction, thus giving everyone the possibilities to follow one´s own program to get education.
The dim of continual education naturally results in personal development both in the periods of the physical and socio-psychological maturity, prime and stability and in the period of organism ageing when the idea of removing functions and possibilities compensation acquired vital importance.
We should here unite the understanding the development as a continual process with the principle of developing education whose tutorial activity is oriented not only to cognition but also to the transformation of the reality. That causes the transition from information to productive education, from memory school to the school of thinking, feeling and social activity.
The deliberate social demand in constant personal development or every human being serves as a system-forming factor of a continual education. It defined the ordered sets of educational structure - principle and parallel, basic and additional, state and public, formal and informal.
Their correlation and interconditionality, the system of mutual seniority of levels, coordination on direction and purpose and provision of co-assistance relations turn the complex of those structure into the integral system.
Continual education as a pedagogic system is an integral aggregation of means, ways and forms of obtaining, deepening and broadening the comprehensive education, professional competence, culture, upbringing of civic and moral maturity, aesthetic attitude towards reality.
For every person the continual education is a process of forming and satisfying the cognitive demands and spiritual needs, of inclinations and abilities development in the system of state and public educational institutions and by self-study, which guarantees the reservation in his/her personal and professional integrity in a dynamically changing society (‘Concept of continual education´(extract). Approved by USSR State Committee on Public Education March 18, 1989).
The role of education on the modern stage of Russian development of defined: 1) by the tasks of State transition: a) to the democratic and legal state; b) to the market economy; 2) by the necessivity of overcoming the danger of lagging behind the world trends: a) in economy; b) in social development.
In the modern world the meaning of education as the most important factor contributing to the formation of new quality of economics and society is conctantly increasing together with the growth of the influence of human capital. Russian system of education is apple to compete with developed countries educational systems. In this case broad public support of educational policy, restoration of responsible and active role of state in this sphere, deep and thorough modernization of education provided with all necessary resources and mechanisms for the efficient usage - are highly needed.
The general tendencies of world development which stipulate the necessity of considerable changes in educational system are as follow: 1) the acceleration of social development rate, broadening possibilities of political and social choice caused the necessary increase of civic readiness to make this choice; 2) transition to post-industrial information society, substantial expansion of intercultural cooperation due to which the factors of communicativeness and tolerance obtain vital importance; 3) occurring and increasing of global problems that could by solved only as a result of collaboration on international level which in its turn required cultivation of modern thinking among young generation; 4) dynamic economics progress, competition growth, reduction of unskilled and unqualified labour, sufficient structural changes in an employment area, demanding persistent training and retraining of employees as well as growth of their professional mobility; 5) increase of a human capital role standing for 70-80 percent of national wealth (in developed countries) stipulated intensive, outstripping education progress both young people and adults.
The Russian system of education is an important factor that could help reserve Russia in the row of leading countries, increase the prestige of the country with high cultural, scientific and educational level.
School - in its broad sense - must become the most significant factor of the humanization of socio-economic relations and formation of new personal life aims. The developing society requires up-to-date educational, moral, enterprising people able to take responsible decisions in critical situation and predict the possible consequences, able to collaborate; are mobile, dynamic and constructive, feel responsibility for their country.
On the present stage of Russian development education becomes more and more powerful driving force for economic growth, increase of efficiency and competiveness in national economy which is important for a: a) national security; b) national wealth; c) well-being of every person.
The potential of education has to be used in full measure: 1) to consolidate the society; 2) the reserve indivisible socio-cultural space of the country; 3) to overcome ethno-national tension and national conflicts paying attention to: a) the priority of human rights; b) equality of national cultures and confession; c) limitation of social inequality.
Multinational Russian school has to conserve and elaborate both Russian and mother tongue, form Russian self-consciousness and self-identity.
The renewed education should play the key role, in national self-preservation, in maintenance if the gene pool, in providing stable, dynamic progress of Russian society - society with high living standards, civil and legal, professional and everyday culture.
In is essential to provide equal access of young people to appreciated qualitative educational 1) according to person´s: a) interests; b) inclinations; 2) irrespective of a) family income; b) place of residence; c) nationality; d) state of health.
It is necessary to use all the possibilities for social defence of parentless children and teenagers. It is also important to form the professional elite, single out and support most talented and able children and youth.
In case of prior state support the system of education must secure the efficient utilization of the resources: human; in formation; material; and financial.
National-political and socio-economic reforms of late 1980´s influenced dramatically on Russian education having allowed to realize economic self-sufficiency of higher educational institutions; secure the diversity if educational institutions and the variety of curricula; elaborate multinational Russian school and non-state educational sector.
These processes were reflected in Russian Federation Law ‘On Education´ and Federal Law ‘On higher and postgraduate professional education´. However, the total socio-economic crisis of 1990´s slowed down the positive changes. The state almost left the educational sector which had merely to survive being disengaged from actual country demands. In present-day situation no more can stick to the position of isolation and self-sufficiency.
Outdated and overloaded curricula of school education do not provide graduates with fundamental knowledge: 1) as significant components of advanced educational standards in: a) Maths; b) informatics (including the ability to search and select information); c) Russian and foreign languages; 2) as basic social and humanities subjects: a) economics; b) history; c) law.
Vocational training, in its turn, is not yet able to solve the problem of ‘human resources hunger´ caused by new demands on employer´s professional skills. At the same time a lot of graduated from vocational schools can´t get a job and determine in modern economic life.
In transitional periods of its development a country must nor solve its own critical social and economic problems by economizing on comprehensive and vocational schools, but must consider education as a future of a country where state and society, enterprises and organizations - all those interested in qualitative education - take part.
In this connection it is requires to guarantee advanced growth of expenditures on: 1) education (training, upbringing, progress); 2) substantial rise of educator´s salaries; 3) stimulation of quality and outcome of pedagogical efforts.
There must occur: 1) raising of the investing appeal of education allowing to invest assets of enterprises, organizations and citizens; 2) modernization of existing organizational-economic mechanisms permitting: a) to increase the volume of extra-budgetary means in education; b) to improve cardinally the use of this means by sending in directly the educational institutions.
Under the conditions if foreseen demographic decrease a number of students are supposed to reduce to one-third thus creating the situational reserve for in-system manoueuvre of resources seeking to rationalization of comprehensive institutions network; the support of innovative schools and other ‘growth points´ in education.
The principle aim of Russian educational policy is to secure the up-to-date quality of education preserving its fundamental nature and correspondence with urgent and prospective individual, social and state demands.
Social and state demands do not always coincide with the branch interests of the educational system itself, so the direction of educational modernization and progress can´t be defined within the bounds of educational association and department. The social destination and balanced social interests are the basis of present-day educational policy.
All Russian citizens must become active subjects of educational policy. Strategic goals of modernization of education could be achieved only during the permanent interaction of educational system with the representatives of national economics, science, culture, health organization, all interested departments and public organizations together with parents and employers. The purpose of modernization of education is to create a mechanism of stable progress in educational system.
In order to achieve the above-mentioned purpose the following top inter-correlated problems should be solved: 1) provision with state guarantee if accessibility, availability and equality to get a qualitative education; 2) achievement of novel advanced quality of primary, secondary and vocational education; 3) creating the normative-legal and organizational and economic mechanisms for appealing and utilizing extra-budgetary means in the educational system; 4) increase of social status and professionalism of educators strengthening their state and public support; 5) development of education as an open state and public system on the basis of: a) diversification of responsibilities between the subjects of educational policy and b) growth of significance of all participants of educational process - students, teachers, parents, educational institutions.
Having created legal and economic conditions, the government of Russian Federation will have to: 1) secure free secondary comprehensive education within the limits of state educational standards; secure free education of other levels within the bounds determined by the legislation of Russian Federation; 2) guarantee equal access of all Russian citizens to education of different levels irrespective of place of residence in accord with the state educational standards which guarantee the requires quality of education.
The availability of qualitative education also means the state guarantee of: 1) teaching and material resources, modern laboratory equipment and literature; 2) conditions, protecting human rights of a student, his/her psychological and physical safety; 3) socio-pedagogical and psycho-pedagogical aid to families; early diagnostics of a child´s reserves (both physical and psychological); 4) free state, municipal and academic library funds available.
The set of socio-economic measures securing education availability and accessibility on all levels, is as follow: 1) differentiation of powers and responsibilities between federal organs, federative subjects organs and local authorities; 2) transfer the salary payments and maintenance of teaching process in municipal comprehensive schools under the jurisdiction of subjects of Russian Federation giving them the status of state educational institutions; 3) input of address and payments for low-income students and creation other backing up mechanisms on the regional and municipal levels to help children needed in special social security giving them the possibility to attend the educational institution of advanced level; 4) creation of state educational credit system, subsidies for children from low-income families giving them a chance to get secondary of higher vocational training, providing different ways of repayment of credits and subsidies, the same measure - to train students on professions of vital necessity for economic and social state progress; 5) normative legal regulation of terms and conditions to appeal extra-budgetary means into the sphere of education; to secure the rights of users of payable educational services; 6) successive increase is academic and social students grant bringing it up to the minimum of subsistence; 7) simulation of setting up the funds of part-time jobs for students.
The work is submitted to the Scientific International Conference «Current problems of education, October, 15-22, 2008, Greece (Athens-Delphi-Meteor-Mycenae-Nafplio-Epidavr), came to the editorial office on 17.06.2008.