Academic physical education standardization imperatives


Honoured Master of Sports of Russia D.S. Savelyev1
Dr.Hab., Professor V.I. Grigoryev2
M.M. Gromov1
1St. Petersburg Mining University, St. Petersburg
2St. Petersburg State Economic University, St. Petersburg

Keywords: diversification, cultural code, monitoring, standard, expertise, programs, recommendations, foresight.

Background. The national educational system reform geared to integrate it into the Anglo-Saxon model requires from the national universities to contribute to the global education product being increased. The system reform is generally intended to bridge the gaps between the western and Russian civilizations, with the fundamental specialist training concept being revised as required by the western educational standards to implement the competency building approach and meet the challenges of the global competitive environment. The basic provisions of the concept are set forth in Federal Law #238 of 03.07.2016 “On the Independent Qualification Procedure” and implemented by the Professional Qualifications Board and National Council for the Presidents of the Russian Federation. Our forecast of the discipline reformation process was based on a foresight analysis of the valid Federal State Higher Education Standards (FSHES).

Objective of the study was to make a retrospective progress analysis of the national academic physical education system standardization process.

Methods and structure of the study. Foresight means the coded information unit applied for the academic physical education service reform process forecasting purposes [6]. Foresight of causes, effects, determinants and affiliation factors makes it possible to draft a plan of the academic physical education service reform process in the context of the transition from the state to national standards. Compliance of the base educational programs (BEP) to the FSHES was rated based on a monitoring of the websites of Rosstandard (Federal Agency on Technical Regulating and Metrology) and Saint Petersburg universities reporting to the Ministry of Education of Russia.

Study results and discussion. It was back in 1925 that the State Standardization Committee of the Council of People’s Commissars set mandatory GOST standards with the relevant responsibilities for their incompliance. Instatement of the Soviet GOSTs was driven by the state paternalism in the national physical education system management process with a special priority to the academic educational process safety, physical development and progress, and resource provisions for the sector.

Prior to the 1990s 560 academic hours for the practical professional training were assigned in the educational system on a mandatory basis [2].

In the transitional 1990s, the national universities found themselves lagging behind the best international standards and had to adjust to the ongoing globalization processes. The decision makers opted for the Wilhelm Humboldt’s educational model with its western educational tools and polycentric management concepts. Therefore, the elective FSHES of 1993 set forth the relevant system adaptation plans to facilitate integration of Russian universities into the global educational system. However, as soon as the first steps in the reform process were made it became clear that the transition from the mandatory GOST standards to the elective ones meant that the national academic educational system was not singular any more. The elective standards were found hard for implementation in the real practice due to the disciplinary instabilities they gave rise to. The ‘recommended’ Exemplary Physical Education Program (408 hours), for instance, effectively required the cultural priorities of the discipline being revised. It makes us think that the attempts to revise the cultural paradigms under uncertain effects of a variety of external factors result in the run-after development mission being difficult to achieve. The reform efforts have been driven by the initiatives to simulate the European standard and technologies including high-tech developments, virtual Moodle e-learning environment, case educational technologies etc.

It should be noted that implementation of the standards resulted in reductions of the academic hours and finance for the first and second courses that force the universities to revise their curricula and make alternative provisions for progress of the discipline. Some hopes for improvement and sustainable development of the national physical education sector were associated with the transition to the inter-CIS GOST standards and national standards of the Commonwealth countries [1].   

The second generation FSHES (2001) implementation should be considered in the context of relativism of the traditional values of the Soviet-style physical education model. The new standards were driven by the rationalism of the multidisciplinary ‘open education’ ideas that offer the technological avenues for the national system integration into the European partnership. The key reason for the physical education system standardization is the further diversification of the educational models and tools plus the educational process digitalization with the growing access to new technological resources [3]. The mandatory transitions to the two-stage training model with the ETCS credit system are designed to support the federal universities foundation program. This objective is attained by the existing 55 universities in 43 Russian regions being integrated into 10 federal universities. On the whole, the standards are designed to offer the toolkit to solve critical problems, advance the general cultural and cross-cultural competences and develop a universal creative personality. Genuine versatility of the educational service programs with diffusion of the cultural and technological elements helps effectively harmonize components of the academic physical education curriculum. To facilitate inclusion of every student into the academic physical education process, the system offers the stratified modular-type programs giving a special priority to the cultural aspects of the education curricula to secure physical education being designed on a modular basis with the relevant institutional forms and creative elements in the transitional process.

The third generation FSHES (2001) were designed to form the general cultural competences to effectively adjust to the growing turbulence of the international labour markets and varying resource structure of the educational cluster. The new educational process trend was initiated by recommendations from the Ministry of Education of the Russian Federation to secure a transition from universal to special competences with the relevant certification driven by the world maximums. The leading Russian universities now work in this area, with analyses of the professional educational process specifics in Russia, Germany, US and other countries [5]. The relevant requirements were endorsed by the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection Order “On Professional Standards Development and Approval Rules”. The diffusive standardization effectively results in the growing sensitivity of the educational sector to the engineering and technological developments with the relevant IT-consulting services and with the achievements of the global leaders viewed as the reference points.  The standards are intended to facilitate the national research universities foundation program, with the relevant instruments including educational methodology toolkits, progress rating tools, control and measurement systems, academic progress rating/ scoring systems etc. to ensure the educational service quality. It is mandatory that every base educational program (BEP) taking 396 hours is scored by 2 credits [4].

Foresight analysis of the FSHES 3+ (2014) found that in the standards high priority is given to the professional competences of the highest demand in the context of the ongoing interdisciplinary integration process and cluster formats. The iterative reforms governed by the Federal Law “On Standardization” provide a physical education process intellectualization code providing the tools to design identity and secure due synergy in the resource employment process. The new trend is intended to support the “5-100” program launched by the Presidential Decree of 7.05.2012. The BEP are classified into the base and elective components to secure the necessary technological clarity and innovative drive for progress of the physical education system. It is only logical that the transition to the new-generation national standards to secure the world-best quality of the educational service is based on the theoretical, practical and institutional grounds of the physical education system being revised with the cluster of the teaching aids and methods being updated. As a result, the base-part components of Module 1 take 72 hours (2 credits) and elective modules take 328 hours [7].

Foresight analysis of the fourth-generation FSHES (2017) shows their utmost affiliation with the Euro-Asian integration strategy. In the instrumental aspect, the system transition to the new model needs to be supported by the relevant physical education development indicators to secure the sector integration into the Euro-Asian service markets. The new trend is promoted by optimistic rhetoric to support the transition from the state to national standardization model. The standards shall spell out the objectives and principles based on the normative codes to retain the system essence as the form of existential compromise on the geo-informational and interdisciplinary levels. The pragmatic validity of the education-and-practice cluster is secured by the relevant physical qualities as provided by the FSHES. In the context of the Euro-Asian partnership progress concept, the mission of the standard is to open up the window of opportunities with the relevant combinations of regulatory mechanisms and practical regulations, harmonized education curricula and BEP. The transition shall be based on the conversion of methodological concepts, service standards and IT-consulting services to secure new content for the discipline.


Foresight analysis of the standards makes it possible to define the modern physical education service as the cultural progress securing structure of regulated design. It is already clear at this juncture that the obsession with the deemed advantages of the western civilization in 1990s has failed to secure progress of the national academic educational system. The failures of the first reformative initiatives may be explained by the rupture of traditional connections in the professional communities and growing disagreement of the disciplinary fields in the attempts to modify the core of the academic Physical Education discipline. It is the subsidiary design of the educational standards in the neo-liberal epoch in the national academic educational system development process that may explain the fact that the Russian universities still lag behind the best European educational models. The system reforms were too focused on the revision of the Soviet doctrines followed by the educational process diversification initiatives – viewed as a prime prerequisite for integration into ‘open education’ systems. The process design opportunities offered in the first standards gave the means to shape up the professional coordinates for the discipline, define the clusters of competences and borderlines for the knowledge fields and training formats.


It is the sound theoretical grounding and practical universalism of the national standards that secure the desired qualitative and conceptual breakthrough in the sector development process. The FSHES funds provide the sustainable development resource for the national academic physical education sector. The sustainable growth of the core structure of the new strategy will secure progress and retention of the human resource with improvements in the students’ adaptability potentials.


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The study considers the academic physical education standardization methodologies, with the summarized expert opinions applied for an analysis of the set of educational standards viewed as the system transformation tool to secure the national educational services are competitive on the global markets. The ongoing revision of the system development priorities requires the relevant development plan being offered with due emphasis on the cultural identity protection issues. The study shows that the National Standardization System being created for the European-Asian partnership may be applied as the key for the innovative development project geared to upgrade the Physical Education discipline in the national academic educational system. The national physical culture may be described as the regulated cultural development project in context of the modern standards. It is quite clear today that the campaign to promote benefits of the western civilization in the early 1990ies provided little impetus for the projects to upgrade the national educational system. Failures of the initial reforms in the sector may be explained by the rapture of succession and connections in the professional communities and disharmony in the interdisciplinary efforts to modify the basics of the academic Physical Education discipline. It is due to the imitativeness of the educational standards offered in the neoliberal development strategy for the higher educational system that the Russian universities are now lagging behind the European educational models. These standards were largely focused on revision of the Soviet educational concepts and the educational process diversification viewed as the prime precondition for access to the “open” educational system. Project opportunities offered in the first standards include professional coordinates of the academic discipline, clusters of competences, borderlines with the adjacent knowledge fields and educational process formats.