Nikolay Pelikhov

Education as a key factor for sustainable development of the regions


The idea of the importance of institutions of higher education in regional development is relatively new. Prior to 1950, it actually did not take place in regional politics. Perhaps from that moment it got its development. The turning point in the international community in the modernization of regional economies oriented on the active use of knowledge delineated in 1980.

Somewhat later, the specialists of the University of Newcastle J.B. Goddardand and P. Chatterton paid a lot of attention to the Study of the interaction between the university and the region, developing the ideology of their complementary management process "university-region".

In their descriptions: operating area of universities includes education, research and social services, management area of the region is focused on skills, innovation and cultural needs. The greatest interest is the area of intersection of these areas of governance, as it is necessary to seek mechanisms and create institutional structure of the effective interaction.

Unfortunately we must accept the fact that today the collaboration of universities with industry and the social services of Russian regions still refers only to their optional activities. However, it should be noted that this problem is not so trivial.

Not a high level business requirements into new knowledge and competencies of graduates, research and development, or its absence is a key indicator of imperfection and the stagnation of the regional or national innovation systems. Low demand for new knowledge, graduates from private business reflects the cultural barrier that restricts the employment of university graduates. The lack of graduates, in turn, reduces the ability of innovative companies leaving production stagnated while the demand for graduates remains low.

For centuries, the measured process of knowledge production and its transfer to their environment was well within the conservative models of administration, especially without requiring any significant administrative innovations. With that, the gradual change in the dynamics of socio-economic development of the environment of the university, a qualitative change of the characteristic times of demand for university products in an increasingly competitive environment are resulted in the need to change the time of the production of new knowledge and new intellectual products.

In this context, a number of systemic problems that are discussed in the management of universities should be emphasized, but just as some conceptual applications to a more general debate about the fate of higher education in Russia. Curiously, often in decisions about the direction of further administrative actions to modernize the education system are dominated rather than system technologies targeted withdrawal from stagnation.

Meanwhile shift of emphasis to search for systems solutions gives an opportunity to build a fundamentally new technology of creation innovative educational programs adapted to the period of actual use of knowledge to produce innovative products by new business, strengthen the sustainability of regional development.

As  any socio-economic systems and their subsystems are open their evolution inevitably must consider  a combination of factors of external influence. This is particularly important, for example, for a highly competitive environment.

The theory of open systems, understand the organization (system) as a set of interconnected subsystems placed in their surrounding supersystem - environment. Openness of the system is a connection with the environment, and the purpose of the system is to respond to the requests of the environment. The "external environment dictates the terms of the existence of systems and it can "force" the system to make a decision on reorganization. But the system itself takes the decision on the timing and nature of its reorganization based on its own experience and capabilities."

In these circumstances the role of the university is not only to meet the requirements of the environment, maintaining a high level of quality of services, but also to offer the region the new knowledge and solutions that define the direction of further sustainable development of the area. Whatever does not become an autonomous university in the changing regulations, it cannot remain autonomous from the demands of society and the industry sector. New trends in the labor market have led to a change in demand for university graduates and continue to change them in such way that the only thing that will not change is the need to change ourselves.

Let us dwell briefly on some of the features that are very  important for the construction of models of sustainable development of the regions on the basis of new knowledge.

The most important part of building a sustainable socio-economic systems is to identify and track compliance with the laws of its composition. Changing the laws of composition qualitatively change the state of the system, its properties, features and specifications. Consequently no ownership laws of composition at the design stage of the system is here lays the failure of all efforts to build a system with the necessary capabilities, characteristics and parameters of sustainability.

Another important point in building sustainable regional solutions is the principle of sufficiency. The essence of the non-fulfillment of the principle of sufficiency is that if the system is under-represented all of the subjects and its relationships, the system can save the face of systematic, but it may look quite different from the one we are planning to build.

So-called convergence models can be used to construct the socio-economic decisions that reflect the basic patterns of the forming processes which have completed form and designed for the long term. They are closed cycles, reflecting the initial targeting, a set of structural interrelation and interactions of the main subjects of the socio-economic sphere, providing the achievement of the initial goals. The condition of convergence as a result of convergence of administrative influence on innovation system to the initial target settings is essential for its sustainable competitive development. It should be noted that the violation of the convergence terms with respect to a constructed regional innovation systems of Russia is also one of the main causes of instability and low efficiency.

These models have a high level of invariance for the design and analysis of any system solutions regardless of the spatial and temporal scale and level of generalization. They can therefore be used as a methodological framework for the various project constructions, with appropriate adaptation to the conditions of the given task. However the most convenient is to use them to conduct analytical research in solving strategic problems of socio-economic development of large territorial complexes.

Universities in their daily educational activities actually produce two types of educational products meeting the needs of the education market. The first relates to the transfer of knowledge, skills and abilities responding to the needs of every individual citizen including self-paying educational services rendered to him. The second, to a greater extent, reflects the needs of different industries associated with the preparation of a particular specialist, i.e. a person who has the competencies needed to the employer at the very moment when a particular graduate comes to him. Generally speaking these are two fundamentally different tasks which are not separated in the structure of the educational process. The first version of the business interest only because  there is nothing else. However, the second option for him is the most attractive and in fact he is ready to pay the money for it and  moreover to contribute to the development of education.

It is interesting that the survey of students' opinion what type of education for them is more attractive showed that their opinion splitted in half. Thus setting up a system of education so that students receive broad general knowledge we do not take into consideration the wishes of at least half of the students.

The process of creating new knowledge, development of new educational programs and specialists  training  takes a long time. Therefore the role of outrunning marketing determining staffing requirements for the long term is growing up. At the same time it determined the need of university to study in demand for educational and research services that will be required and will be applied fairly distant future.

It is necessary to master the tools and technology of systematic study of future demand for educational services, adequate business needs, which it expects to run for 5-7 years. This is important when focuses on meeting the demand for graduates with the competencies corresponding to the period of their actual utility (use). These promising options should form the basis of the initial (input) characteristics for modeling, design and implementation of a new educational product.

Thus the first and one of the most important requirements in the production of innovative educational programs should be a requirement  clearly define the perspective parameters of the created product, initially adapted to the needs of the business, social and sustainable development of the region.

Convenient schematic tools for construction of innovative educational programs can serve as interactive diagrams of its formation and operation. They laid the need for continuous interaction with potential consumers of educational services and continuously updated scientific knowledge in all stages from the formulation of the problem and its solutions till the implementation of the created and dynamically updated products. At the same time there can be seen the need for the formation of new specialized tools of professional management, which gives a highly efficient support to the development and promotion of innovative educational programs.

The next very important methodological point is that at the stage of immediate development and implementation of innovative educational programs should include sustainable mechanisms of continuous interaction with the environment of continuous updating of knowledge and potential consumers of educational services. Consumer as well as developer must clearly understand how and at what point in the future will need new skills. At the same time, he wants to see (moreover, to be sure) that the university implemented technology staging innovative programs during their implementation can solve its strategic staff problems. In this case, there may be formed a full stable system of strategic partnerships providing the necessary funding for the process of learning by the business.

The place and role of potential consumers of the future of higher education production can be multifaceted in the whole process of the formation of new knowledge and skills. In the first approximation it can be represented as follows.

At the first stage of the interaction is to identify joint strategic guidelines of the subjects of the environment and to determine the list of required competencies for future graduates. On the second one - in agreeing pledged educational content. Though  there remains an absolute priority for the academic sphere. The interaction of the third stage is useful when the need to organize training elements directly related to production (practice, internships, adaptive laboratory facilities, etc.). Although we should not forget about the social environment and the need to form the basis of new fundamental knowledge for the future of science and provide a new level of education. At the fourth - potential consumers should be the main factors of the dynamic assessment of the quality of university products on new educational programs, but again, in the scheme of interaction with developers and implementers.

Technology described above represents a particular kind of application of the systematic use of education and other types of intellectual resources in the sustainable development of the region. For a full sustainable development required a comprehensive national strategy of changes linked with regional initiatives in Russia. This  strategy should be based on a serious analysis of a well-functioning national innovation systems. It should pay attention to human resources and should also include an industrial policy directed to the development of promising economic activities which is relevant to local features with a positive reverse effect for education. There is a need for fundamental change when the emphasis shifts from the creation of proposals to creation of the demand for skilled workers.



It's necessary to have a complex strategic decisions aimed at transformation of the intellectual potential into a strategic resource for the development of the country and its regions, which plays a critical role in ensuring the competitiveness of the Russian economy in the future.
Gradual transformation of the intellectual potential into a strategic resource for sustainable development in the region will require: the formation of a regional policy and institutional structures to optimize the use of intellectual resources; continually supported  range of programs for the innovative development of economy and social sphere; targeted programs of support for  the development of education, increasing mobility and intellectual resources.