Physical education service contribution to technical university graduate’s professional competitiveness

PhD, Associate Professor R.A. Khuzhin1
PhD, Associate Professor A.V. Greb1
1Ufa State Petroleum Technological University, Ufa

Keywords: university students, correlation, physical education, social resource, professional competitiveness, specialist training.

Background. The ongoing reforms in every social sphere and sector are often associated with revisions of the cultural aspects and priorities including those in the academic physical education service sector on the whole and at technical universities in particular. Analysis of the relevant studies, however, shows that they analyze only the general matters of the physical education reforms, and this narrow focus may be due, as we believe, to the still underdeveloped physical education theory with concern to the technical specialist personality development in the context of the professional excellence (competitiveness building) process. This was the reason for us to explore correlations of the academic physical education with professional competency in more detail.

Objective of the study was to analyze the correlations between the academic physical education and professional competency at a technical university.

Methods and structure of the study. Sampled for the study were the Ufa State Petroleum Technological University students (n=200, including 135 males and 65 females i.e. 66.8% and 33.2% of the sample) aged 19.4 years on average. We applied for the study purposes the questionnaire survey forms to find the students’ health agendas and role of the academic physical education service for the professional competitiveness building process in the context of their values and priorities.

The questions may be grouped into the following classes. Class I was designed to mine the personal data (gender, age, material standing and family background) plus the physical health and self-fulfillment self-rates. And Class II questions explored the individual values, priorities and interests including the vocational and private life related ones. The physical health was self-rated on a 10-point scale; and the self-fulfillment rates were complemented by the visions of personality progress and professional career opportunities; plus the data on what time and budget share (in percentage terms) the respondents are prepared to assign for the physical education and how important is this life domain for them.

The academic physical education versus professional competency correlation analysis had the following goals: (1) rate the students’ physical education standards versus professional competency; and (2) analyze the prerequisites for and factors of influence on the student professional competency. The physical education standards were profiled by a special questionnaire survey form with three optional responses to every question: one to test professional values; the other referring to the emotional group/ age/ status matters and abstract humanistic values; and the third option for the uncertain opinions. The survey scales were designed to rate the key professional relationship fields and aspects reflected in one or another way in the personality consciousness. The survey also analyzed the factors of influence on the individual development and professional self-fulfillment by the questions like: what is the meaning of personal success in your opinion? What things are most important for your private life? Is it possible to make success nowadays?

Results and discussion. Of the 8 proposed life values, ‘job’ was ranked on top of the list followed by ‘health’, with the latter valued in the instrumental sense. Responses to the question ‘What are the key drivers for success in life?’ were dominated by ‘health’ and ‘material wealth’. The role of health in life was dominated by the ‘instrumental value’ as verified by responses in the other life aspects probing domains. Healthy practices and their regularity was found to be age-specific rather than driven by the health self-rates. The higher were the health self-rates the more was the proportion of the ‘own health efforts’ option: see Table 1.

Table 1. If you take care of your own health, what are your motivators?

Motivators

Academic years 1-6

Breeding standards

12,1

Influences and practices of the surrounding

15,2

Health information

10,9

Health disorders

57,4

Pressure from the family and close friends

31,3

Body shaping and physical fitness agenda

20,0

Other

2,4

In our analysis of the professional priorities of the sample, we gave a special attention to the attitudes to physical health. The question ‘What is the meaning of personal success for you?’ was responded as follows: good health (58.6%); material wellbeing (59.1%); self-fulfillment (62.7%); and respect and recognition of friends and colleagues (54.3%). The role of physical health among the life values of the sample was demonstrated even clearer by responses to the question ‘What is the meaning of high professionalism and professional competitiveness for you?’ dominated by the ‘ability to work hard and face challenges’ (71.5%). This finding well agrees with the physical health position in the range of other basic values (69.3%).

It should be mentioned, however, that physical health and physical education are ranked so high on the background of weak/ statistically meaningless correlations with the other human life values mentioned in the questionnaire form in one or another manner. We found only three correlations in fact. The ‘ability to work hard and face challenges’ (as one of the professional credentials) was found to be in a moderate positive correlation with the ‘material wealth’ ranked among the happy life elements (r = 0.39); and in a weak negative correlation with the ‘physical education playing no role in professional career’, with the significance of physical education rated at 31.6%.

The professional growth process is necessarily associated with a chain of interrelated phenomena, with a poor physical education playing the role of both cause and effect in the social exclusion situations. Thus socially marginalized/ excluded groups that failed in part due to the poor physical education in their life strategies – may be found in any society and shall be re-socialized by the relevant socializing and professional retraining policies and practices. It should be emphasized that there are empirical data indicative of a good physical education facilitating the individual social progress. It is important to understand that the future specialists’ PC and professional progress largely depends on the individual physical education standard – as demonstrated by the following analysis: see Table 2.

Table 2. Physical education versus professional competency rates on a 10-point scale: correlation analysis

Physical education rate

professional competency rate

Employment

Professional progress

Wage rise

Career

Business

Health/  physical education does matter

6,12

6,72

3,36

4,2

3,67

Health/  physical education does not matter

3,96

4,3

4,11

9,53

11,36

As demonstrated by Table 3, the respondents appreciating the impact of physical education on the professional career believe that good physical education helps in employment, professional progress, financial standing, business and other aspects. On the whole, the career-minded young people tend to rank high good physical health and physical education among the professional credentials facilitating progress versus those who think that health/ physical education does not matter.

Table 3. Personality qualities versus physical education and individual/ professional career priorities, weighted rates on a 5-point scales

Personality qualities, self-rates

Priorities

Physical education standards

Professional career

Responsibility, duty

4,62

4,45

Reliance on the law

4,51

3,23

Individuality, self-respect

4,50

4,50

Selflessness

4,31

2,21

Practicality, rationalism

2,26

4,27

Collectivism

3,24

2,17

Entrepreneurship

3,1

4,76

As demonstrated by the survey data and analysis, physical education is generally appreciated by students as an indispensable tool for self-development, satisfaction and professional progress.

Conclusion. The study data and analyses give the grounds to conclude that the academic physical education service is highly appreciated by the students as a key social resource for progress in the professional competitiveness building domain. This means that the national education system should give a special priority to the physical education service improvement initiatives.

References

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Corresponding author: ufa.savjulia@gmail.com

Abstract

The article explores the physical education service contribution to the technical university graduate’s professional competitiveness that is ranked among the key missions by the academic community. Sampled for the study were the Ufa State Petroleum Technological University students (n=200). Applied for the study purposes were the questionnaire survey forms to probe the students’ health agendas and role of the academic physical education service for the professional competitiveness building process in the context of the students’ values and priorities. The physical education and professional competitiveness correlation analysis was intended to attain the following goals: rate the physical progress of the sample versus the professional competitiveness building progress; and identify the provisions for and factors of influence on the professional competence.

The study data and analyses give the grounds to conclude that the academic physical education service is highly appreciated by the students as a key social resource for progress in the professional competitiveness building domain.