Perm is a city of 1 million people in a region of 3 million across an area larger than the whole UK put together, some 2000 km north-north-east of Moscow, 2 hours behind on the clock, 24 hours by train, on the edge of the Urals. It was a closed city, opened up in the Gorbachov period, visited by Oxford academics and then linked more formally.
The joint projects used in this book as an evaluatory case study arose from personal Oxford-Perm links in which Andrei Kolesnikov played a key role. The title of the book is a reminder of the comment of the now Deputy Governor of the Perm Region, Tatyana Margolina, who thanked Andrei at the concluding meeting of our first project, for 'opening windows to the West'. It will be seen that the opening of windows has been in both directions.
The European Union's TEMPUS programme (trans-European Mobility Programme for University Studies), from 1990, was part, first, of its 'PHARE' technical aid for non-Soviet Union central and eastern European countries at the collapse of the Iron Curtain (Sayer, 1995a, 1995b), then also, from 1993, of its similar 'TACIS' response to the Confederation of Independent States emerging from the USSR (Sayer, 1995a). TEMPUS is the European Community's instrument for developing and restructuring higher education in both PHARE and TACIS-eligible countries. Both TEMPUS schemes are developed more or less on the model of the ERASMUS (European Action Scheme for the Mobility of European Students) programmes, which were focused on university cooperation and exchange within the European Community and now European Union (EU), though also permitting involvement of universities in G24 countries.
The TEMPUS symposium to the European Conference on Educational Research, held in Edinburgh in September 2000, was intended as a reflective, post-project evaluation of the development programme to prepare teachers to meet special educational needs (SEN) in Perm, and its continuation, extension, dissemination and effects on new related international work, including the follow-on TEMPUS-TACIS project for health education also featured here, Through this resulting book, the project can be seen as a case study for educational development programmes generally, for issues related to trans-European cooperation in education, for questions related to accountability, and for the relationship of development and research programmes.
The introductory chapter alludes briefly to EU TEMPUS programmes, in particular, the TEMPUS-TACIS programme and the contemporary Russian context. It offers a formal report of the special educational needs international project in Perm, which may be measured against the subsequent reflective chapters. It also records the EU/TACIS evaluations of the project. One purpose of the book is to show that such instruments of evaluation, however positive, as in this case, are inadequate for anything much more than minimalist accountability, which at the same time is in danger of stifling what is abidingly worthwhile in educational development.
The two following chapters in Part One are examples of reflective self-evaluation in the latter stages and after the formal conclusion of the TEMPUS project. During the preparatory year of the project, the joint management group from Perm, Amsterdam, Halle and Oxford agreed that a semi-detached group would be convened for constant self-review to inform the progress of the project. Its work included much more than the summative study recorded here: fact-finding, needs and situation analysis by researchers from Halle transformed initial assumptions; joint exploration early in the project by groups from Perm and the other partner universities resulted in shared writing, some of it published both in Russian (Kolesnikov et al, 1999; Charniy et al, 1999) and in English (van der Wolf & Sayer, 1999; Sayer, 1999); and the city and regional authorities were engaged in and have published parallel development studies in the context of new federal and regional legislation.
'Voices on Inclusion', by David Martin & Kees van der Wolf, is drawn largely from the evaluatory work of a colleague associated first with Oxford and then with Amsterdam. It is complemented here by the chapter from a Perm teacher-interpreter, Anna Popova, drawn by the project to advanced study in Oxford. The windows are opened from both directions. What both studies do is to probe beyond the formal account and to record what is happening where it matters most, in the hearts and minds of the main actors, in this case the teachers and trainers.
Part Two relates the TEMPUS project to wider conditions for change in schools. It is too often assumed that such development projects involve partners in stable situations, offering possible models for a target beneficiary in transitional need and search of new anchorage. But all of us are in constant change, whether because of new thinking, new priorities, new technologies or societal upheavals. East Germany, in particular, brings to the project its own dramatic experience of collapse and reconstruction. The chapter from Hartmut Wenzel & Gudrun Meister, itself a collaboration between academics drawn from two formerly confronting German societies, explores key elements of teacher experience before and after the German Wende, and illustrates the importance of teacher commitment to new approaches. It also adds a further dimension to the studies of East Germany in two recent issues of this series (McLeish & Phillips, 1998; Phillips, 2000). Ines Budnik with Hartmut Wenzel considers lessons to be learnt from our project to identify general principles for change. In both Halle contributions, the particular perspectives are of participants from an East German university which had experience of Soviet influence and has been undergoing similar societal, ideological and scientific change over the last decade. Academic, political, economic, cultural/historical, structural/organisational and personal dimensions of the transformation process are brought to bear on the project, and from this experience are drawn principles of joint international work.
A leading Russian exponent of new technologies for education, Evgeni Khenner, who has also supervised software developments in the Perm project, provides, with A.V. Kniazev, a succinct outline of the place of new technologies in change processes and outlines the history and current scope of information and communications technology (ICT) in Russian schools. Despite the starkly different starting points, they concludes that the role of ICT in Russian school development is essentially the same as in west European countries.
One test of the impact of a development programme is what survives after its formal conclusion, what it has triggered and enabled, whether change is from one static situation to another or whether change has become a part of institutional life. Although TEMPUS projects are increasingly measured and judged by somewhat limited and potentially limiting criteria drawn from outmoded and mechanistic management by objectives - these, of course, have to be complied with too - change engenders further changes unpredictable at the start of a process. So, Part Three gives space to examples of further exploration prompted by and outside the initial scope of a proposal. Home-school collaboration emerged during the TEMPUS programme as a priority, and it has been taken further by Andrea Laczik as part of a study across Perm and Hungary, as both accord greater recognition to parental rights and shared responsibilities for the education of their children. Similarly, during the special needs project, there emerged issues of pupil motivation and the effects of emotional stress and ill health on capacity to cope with curricular demands. The first issue has brought together four young researchers from Perm and Amsterdam, supported by Dutch government bursaries. The second has prompted a further TEMPUS project on health education, in the same partnership, and this current activity is reported by Alastair White, drawn into the partnership as its new coordinator. At the same time, he explores the applicability of models for transition (McLeish, 1998), and this is taken up in the concluding chapter, which also confronts the accountability patterns now seen to be undermining real change in and from such projects.
John Sayer, Editor
Charniy, B., Nikitin, I. & Kolesnikov, A. (Eds) (1999) Problemi obutchenija detej so spezialnymi obrazovatelnymi. Perm: Perm State Pedagogical University.
Kolesnikov, A. & Sayer, J. (Eds) (1999) Obutchenije detej so spezialnymi nushdami. Perm: Perm State Pedagogical University.
McLeish, E.A. & Phillips, D. (1998) Processes of Transition in Education Systems. Oxford: Symposium Books.
Phillips, D. (2000) Education in Germany since Unification. Oxford: Symposium Books.
Sayer, J. (Ed.) (1995a) Experiences of European Programmes with Central and Eastern Europe, in D. Phillips (Ed.) (1995) Aspects of Education and the European Union. Wallingford: Triangle Books.
Sayer, J. (Ed.) (1995b) Developing Schools for Democracy in Europe. Wallingford: Triangle Books.
Sayer, J. (Ed.) (1999) Preparing Teachers to Meet Special Educational Needs in Russia. Leuven-Apeldoorn: Garant.
van der Wolf, J.C. & Sayer, J. (Eds) Opening Schools for All. Leuven-Apeldoorn: Garant.