EDUCATION OF NATURAL SCIENCES IN THE 21st CENTURY: CHALLENGES AND WAYS OF SOLVING THEM
Authors: Boriss Yarinovsky, Ilmars Kangro
Number of views: 352
In the 21st century, education of natural sciences (ENS) plays the most important role in the development of socio-economic growth of the country and its regions. Education of natural sciences (ENS) is the main source of the intellectual, cultural, scientific and personnel growth. A special role in training specialists of ENS is played by the national system of education, on the one hand, creating new resources for innovative technologies, on the other hand – forming the national, elite, competent, energetic and moral forces that can move the country into a qualitatively new state. There are many graduates with a diploma of higher education at different levels in the country, but there is sorely a lack of qualified personnel, particularly regarding the engineering and natural sciences specialties. Education is based on physically and morally obsolete equipment. Educational programmes are isolated from the real needs of companies and students do not have enough experience of solving authentic practical tasks.
There has been carried out a research at Rezekne Higher Educational Institution (RHEI). The process and results of training engineering students, acquiring subjects of natural sciences, has been analyzed: engineer of environment, software engineer (engineer - programmer), engineer of mechatronics, engineer of electronic commerce. Factors affecting the quality of education of natural sciences were studied. Methodology of the study was elaborated on the basis of the message of scientists, politicians, social scientists, managers of enterprises, and parents, regarding the low level of knowledge of pupils and students in the field of natural sciences and mathematics. Different methods to carry out the study were used: analysis of available literature, methodological analysis of curricula, programmes, documents of students’ performance, as well as empirical and statistical methods. As a result of the conducted study, a number of problems affecting the quality of the educational process were identified. The main problems, according to the authors of this article are as follows: low level of knowledge of school graduates and students in the field of NS, decreasing motivation to learn, a relatively high students drop out rate due to poor progress in studies, insufficient knowledge of foreign languages (English, German) considering the majority of both teachers and students, a small percentage of young teachers with a doctorate.
To improve the quality of ENS and interest in learning, the authors of the article propose a system of incentives for education, both moral and material. Furthermore, there is a need for changing the attitude of the government to education, demographic situation, and it is of great importance to reduce unemployment and create jobs in the regions.