Krzhizhanovskogo Street, 24/35, korpus 5, 117218, Moscow, Russia
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Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences
The author looks at the prospects of upgrading the vocational education system in the context of modernizing the overall structure of Russian society and economy as the consumers of the educational institutions’ “end product”. The national Education project has created favorable conditions for improving the quality of vocational training institutions. Nevertheless, the issue of modernizing vocational education remains highly relevant, because despite the generous funding and conceptual efforts, the project has not had the desired results. A scientific approach to analyzing the social function of vocational education requires singling out its ontogenetic component as an integral part of this social entity. The ontogenetic development source is, in essence, the conflict between two organic elements of a social entity. In the case of education, the conflict occurs between its integrating and differentiating functions. The integrating function of education implies engaging the younger generation with the shared cultural values, moral ideals, and worldview principles that create a closer-knit community. The differentiating function of education implies that education helps “distribute” the younger generation across various sections of the social and professional pyramid. The economy either acknowledges the education system as functional, by supplying recent graduates with jobs, or declares it dysfunctional, by displaying no need for such graduates. By limiting the demand for Russian national product to selling energy resources and raw materials, we greatly stilt the government’s and the population’s trading capacity and arena, as well as restrain the development of the social structure, which becomes deficient in diversity and quality and eventual replaced by an amorphous pseudo-market. As a result, the interactions between the government and the general populace reach a phase that historians refer to as “stagnation”: stagnation in the economy, intellectual resources, ideology, ethics, and the wellbeing of the nation as a whole. If this is the social structure that gets continuously reproduced by the vocational education system, it means that the nation is regressing and the system itself is dysfunctional. And should the younger generation be unwilling to keep contributing to such a conservative social structure, a spike in inter-generational animosity, sometimes even leading to conflict, is inevitable. There are two ways of escaping this animosity: passive and active. To escape passively, young people move to other countries with a more progressive social structure; and to escape actively, they widely start engaging in antisocial behavior.
vocational training, modernization of education, social structure and functions of education.
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