Professionalisation of Russian Preschool Educators: Changes and Perspectives

Tuesday, 12 July 2016
Location: Hörsaal 17 (Juridicum)
Distributed Paper
Valery MANSUROV, Institute of Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia
Olesya YURCHENKO, Institute of Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia
The main aim of this paper is to present a discussion of a recent research on professionalisation of early educators undertook in three large Russian cities in 2013-2014. First, we interviewed experts: heads of  public and private preschool educational institutions and trade unions leaders. Second, we studied the views and attitudes of rank-and-file early educators in a quantitative questionnaire survey of 779 respondents. The research indicated that the social standing of early educators started to decline in the 1990s. This negative tendency continues to this day. Early educators are attributed a relatively low and inconsistent status and a low authority. The situation was quite different in the Soviet period when preschool educators actually monopolised the function of education and upbringing, sometimes displacing the family. It was the time when preschool educators were considered to be a part of the intelligentsia distributing the central values of the society. Their knowledge-base was scientifically grounded, ideologically covered and sanctioned by the state. To date the state tries to stimulate early educators' professionalism through the imposed changes in the knowledge-base of the profession The recent state reforms are now likely to have the most critical influence on the professionalisation of preschool teachers, as the role of professional associations is confined to trade-union matters. The state may improve the remuneration of preschool teachers and establish higher standards for preschool education. The Professional standards developed by the Ministry of Education and Science may revise the accreditation process introducing higher educational and personal requirements for applicants. Fine-tuning of the overall knowledge base of early childhood educators may help to raise the level of professionalism and facilitate changes within the education field. In order to professionalise from within early educators should understand and accept the responsibility to become politically aware and to act as advocates for themselves.