Issues of internal contradictions in the valid national legal and regulatory framework for academic physical education service

Postgraduate student A.V. Sergeyev
Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow

Keywords: academic education, physical education, regulatory framework, academic sports, national policies

Background. Lately the national education system and society has given a special priority to the healthy lifestyle promotion initiatives with the physical education and sport service viewed among the key pillars for the latter. No wonder that the national government is increasingly attentive to the needs of the academic physical education system [3-5, 9]. The RF governmental policies in the academic physical education service sector are regulated by many provisions that spell out the national priorities in every service component [8]. Despite the fact that the academic physical education development policies are fairly logical and consistent, the valid regulatory framework for the latter is being widely criticized [1, 2]. We believe that the criticism is largely due both to the quality of some regulatory provisions and their inconsistency on the whole. The need for the regulatory framework being harmonized is increasingly dictated by the new conceptual and strategic regulatory documents in the field (and the relevant new draft regulatory initiatives for the period up to 2021) and the still imperfect system for their implementation at this juncture.
Objective of the study was to analyze contents of the valid regulatory provisions for the academic physical education service to highlight their inconsistencies.
Methods and structure of the study. The study was designed to list the key institutional and management functions supported by the relevant regulatory provisions and compare the relevant institutional and management standards to find inconsistencies in the legal and regulatory framework.
Results and discussion. Our analysis of the valid legal and regulatory framework identified the following key regulatory documents for the academic physical education service and the relevant institutional and management basics.
Ministry of Education Order #1025 of 01.12.1999 ‘On the physical education process design in the primary, secondary and higher professional education systems’ (hereinafter referred to as the Order #1025) sets standards for the physical education service design in the academic education system; its place in the academic curriculum; labor intensity of this discipline in hours by semesters; and the physical education service models for every educational subsystem.
Ministry of Education Order #301 of 05.04.2017 ‘On the academic education curriculum (AEC) design and implementation for the bachelor, specialty and master education service modules’ (hereinafter referred to as the Order #301) that gives details of the physical education and sport practices in the academic educational system. It should be mentioned that the valid Federal State Higher Education Standards (FSHES) set obligatory requirements to the physical education and sport service disciplines/ modules in the professional academic education system. Every bachelor education service module is required to offer a standard physical education and sport curriculum within the academic programs with the relevant credits and academic hours. In addition, the standard gives certain freedom to the educational establishments in setting own physical education and sport service procedures within the standard. Thus the latest FSHES include requirements to the academic progress of trainees in form of the relevant target competences.
State Committee for Higher Education Order #777 of 26.07.1994 ‘On the physical education process design in the higher education system’ (hereinafter referred to as the Order #777) gives further details on how the physical education service shall be designed and managed by the national universities. This Order gives a sample physical education curriculum (hereinafter referred to as the Physical Education Curriculum) with a Physical Education Department Service Design and Management Instruction (hereinafter referred to as the Instruction). The Physical Education Curriculum sets mission and goals for the academic physical education service; outlines the key didactic elements of the physical education discipline with the frame schedules and hours for the key modules of the Curriculum; and lists the progress test methods and tools. Furthermore, the Instruction spells out the key responsibilities of the academic educational system management for the physical education service quality; offers the frame design and management provisions for the physical education and sport departments; outlines content of the class and off-class service models; and gives the key requirements to the health service and health tests in the educational process. Attached to the Instruction are the guiding job responsibilities of the physical education and sport department faculty members and assistant personnel.
Let us now analyze some specifics of the above valid regulatory documents. Thus Order #1025 assigns 408 hours for the physical education service for every academic specialty and discipline – i.e. 4 class hours a week for academic years 1 and 2; and 2 class hours a week for the academic years 3 and 4. Order #777 gives virtually the same hours and academic schedules. It should be emphasized, however, that the valid FSHES assign only 400 hours for the physical education service, not 408; and set no strict requirements for the physical education service design and management as they give the educational institutions certain freedom in the latter as follows: ‘Physical education and sport disciplines/ modules shall be designed and managed at discretion of the Institution’. To put it in other words, the standard class hours assigned for the physical education service may be reassigned for the self-reliant trainings by a decision of the educational institution management. This provision is further substantiated by the ‘Practical recommendations for the student sports development initiatives’ approved by the Ministry of Education on 29.06.2016 and Ministry of Sports on 28.06.2016 – that read as follows: ‘Educational institution shall assign 2 hours a week for obligatory class trainings and 2 hours a week for the self-reliant trainings (i.e. off-class trainings in the sport clubs, groups etc.) under the physical education discipline’.
Furthermore, Order #777 limits the academic physical education groups by 15 people at most. This requirement comes in conflict with Order #301 item 33 that reads: ‘Practical physical education and sport (physical training) service shall be provided to the academic groups of 20 people at most’ – that means that the group headcounts differs by 33%. Such difference disharmonizes the service as the large groups require the faculty service being revised and rescheduled.
Let us now consider the specific requirements to the physical education service quality. As provided by Order #777, the physical education service shall be geared to form the individual physical culture in every student – as was first set forth back in 1990 by the Basic Physical Education Curriculum for the Higher Education System of the USSR (hereinafter referred to as the Soviet Curriculum). The latest FSHES, however, set the following competence as a result of the academic physical education service: ‘The ability to maintain the standard physical fitness for the fully-fledged social activity and professional service’. Leaving aside the arguable issue of criteria for the physical fitness tests and qualifications for every specialty, we should only mention the following. The valid standards of the physical education theory and practice [7] consider the standard physical fitness as one of the professional personality credentials – and this means that the academic progress and achievements in the physical education discipline are narrowed and even limited by the valid academic physical education concept. This kind of contradictions in definition of the academic physical education mission is largely due to the inconsistency of the relevant legal and regulatory framework for the physical education service.
Conclusion. Summarizing the study findings on the key qualitative and quantitative provisions, we would underline the inconsistency of the valid regulatory provisions for the academic physical education service. As far as the valid authorities of the universities are concerned, these inconsistencies may have negative impacts on the efforts to pursue the national academic physical education service development policies and practices as demonstrated by a few cases analyzed by some study reports [6]. The study data and analyses underline the need for the valid national legal and regulatory framework being updated to facilitate the academic Physical Education service and eliminate the existing contradictions for success of the governmental policies in the sector.

References

  1. Ageevets A.V., Efimov-Komarov V.Yu., Efimova-Komarova L.B. Fizicheskaya kultura v zerkale razvitiya obrazovatelnykh standartov [Physical education in the mirror of development of educational standards]. Uchenye zapiski universiteta im. P.F. Lesgafta. 2016. no. 2 (132).
  2. Bochkareva S.I., Vysotskaya T.P., Rostevanov A.G. Sovremennoe sostoyanie i problemy razvitiya fizicheskoy kultury v vuze [Modern state and problems of development of physical education in high school]. Vestnik REA im. G.V. Plekhanova. 2017. no. 4 (94).
  3. Budzinskaya O.V., Demidova A.V. Chelovecheskiy kapital i investitsii v obrazovanie [Human capital and investment in education]. RPPE. 2016. no. 9 (71).
  4. Vstrecha s predstavitelyami studencheskikh sportklubov [Studt club meeting]. [Electronic resource] President of RF: [official website]. Available at: http://www.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/17367 (date of access 16.10.2018).
  5. Vstrecha s chlenami Assotsiatsii studencheskikh sportivnykh klubov Rossii [Association of Student Sports Clubs of Russia Meeting]. [Electronic resource] Prezident Rossii: [official site]. Available at: http://www.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/46855 (date of access: 16.10.2018)
  6. Grigorev V.I., Davidenko D.N., Chistyakov V.A. Gosudarstvenny obrazovatelny standart stabilizatsionny instrument razvitiya fizicheskoy kultury v vuzakh [State educational standard as a way to stabilize development of physical education in universities]. Uchenye zapiski universiteta im. P.F. Lesgafta. 2011. no. 4.
  7.  Maksimenko A.M. Teoriya i metodika fizicheskoy kultury [Theory and methods of physical education]. textbook. 2nd ed., rev., sup.. Moscow, 2009. 496 p.
  8. Sergeev A.V. Sovremennye determinanty gosudarstvennoy politiki Rossii po formirovaniyu fizicheskoy kultury studentov [Modern determinants of Russian state policy on formation of academic physical education]. Pravo i politika. 2018. no. 3. pp. 14-21.
  9. Uchastnikam i gostyam Vserossiyskogo foruma studencheskikh sportivnykh klubov [To participants and guests of All-Russian Forum of Student Sports Clubs]. [Electronic resource] President of Russia: [official website]. Available at: http://kremlin.ru/events/president/letters/56158 (date of access 16.10.2018).

Corresponding author: haymovich@yandex.ru

Abstract
Subject to analysis in the study was the valid national legal and regulatory framework for academic physical education that provides a basis for the national policies and practices in the academic physical education service sector. The author made a content analysis and comparative analysis of the valid regulatory documents for the academic physical education system design and management and found a few contradictions in the key provisions. This contradictory legal and regulatory situation, in the author’s opinion, may result in variations of the academic Physical Education systems in terms of their contents and deliverables. The study underlines the special role of the education institutions in this legally uncertain situation – that means that the actual academic Physical Education service is controllable on a discretional basis by the relevant government agencies. The situation may result in inefficiencies of the national policies and practices in the sector. The study data and analyses underline the need for the valid national legal and regulatory framework being updated to facilitate the academic Physical Education service and eliminate the existing contradictions. Efficient solutions need to be found on a timely basis to provide against the potential mismanagement in the national policies and practices in the academic Physical Education service, to effectively mobilize the human resource for the sector and facilitate the socio-economic development processes in the long run.