Bureaupathology and paper pressing in the Russian education

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The redundancy, intensity and formalization of ‘paperwork’ in education have become its painful feature: educational bureaucracy and ‘evaluation mania’ ignore the social mission of education, paper pressure and paper genocide are barriers to its progress and manageability. The article presents the results of an interregional study of managerial information flows in the Russian education system: it analyzes data of representative surveys and timing of the workloads of the main personnel groups, expert assessments, document flows in the education system in the perspective of the theory of bureaucracy and institutional functions of education. Thus, the redundancy of information flows in the school system exceeds the functional needs of management by more than 20 times. The number of the types of documents written by the teacher reaches 95 on average, and their labor intensity is comparable to teaching. Most of the collected information is not reliable and is not used for educational purposes; it is rather a means to ensure the managerial omnipotence and excess personnel. The key source of paper pressure and paper genocide in the education system is the management strategy that ignores the social mission of education and its social efficiency. This strategy expresses bureaucratic distrust to educators and to the possibilities of public-private administration. Practices based on this strategy lead to irrelevant, unreliable and ineffective information flows, deformed social relations and professional culture of teachers, their widespread burnout and outflow from education. The identified management strategy is a dead end for the Russian education system and an obstacle for preserving its potential and development under the growing global competition.

About the authors

A. M. Osipov

Hertzen Russian State Pedagogical University; Yaroslav-the-Wise Novgorod State University

Author for correspondence.
Email: osipov.al58@gmail.com

доктор социологических наук, профессор кафедры социологии Российского государственного педагогического университета им. А.И. Герцена; главный научный сотрудник Новгородского государственного университета им. Ярослава Мудрого

Moika River Emb., 48, Saint Petersburg, 191186, Russia; B. St. Petersburg St., 41, Veliky Novgorod, 173003, Russia


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