The subject of research in this article is the pedagogic category of competency. The objective is to prove thesis that it is competency that becomes objective and result of education in the context of modern educational system. This category is considered a component of structural unity: literacy – education (in terms of degree of education) – competency – culture – mentality. The author consider that under the conditions of continuing education system – from primary school to higher educa tion institute – the issues of goal-setting should be stated in regard to solidarity in tasks and shared objective setting – development of competent knowledge-carrier and competence of personality as an expected outcome. The paper deals with correlation of «competence» and «competency» notions; understanding of person’s «competence» as an acmeologic category and potential of intellectual and professional development of personality, characteristics of which are «competences», which should be formed in the process of education as system new formations are established. Given this, «competences» act as integrated characteristics of education quality and graduates’ training, and the categories «competence» – «competency» are unity reflecting relation of «the potential general» and «the potential particular». The modern qualitative result of education is pre-singled out set of specific competences reflected in competence-based model of education and graduate’ model, which correspond to social order. The advantage of competence-based approach in comparison with others is what its use makes it possible to socialize a person in the context of constant instability and development of society.
One of the tendencies of the last years involves reconception of both education content, and its objectives and results rethinking. In this regard refocusing of education result estimation from the notions of «qualification», «education», «literacy», «culture» to the notions «competency», «competence» takes place. Despite the fact these categories are buzz words, the issue remains relevant and controversial.In its qualitative characteristic education is not only a system or a process. According to its most important meaning, it’s a result, which registers the fact of person’s acquisition of all values coming up in the process of educational activity, which are of importance for intellectual, moral, political, economic condition of «product consumer» of educational medium– state, society, each person, civilization as a whole.
The question naturally raises: Is this (resultative) aspect of educational activity concerned with problematics related to philosophic and educational grounding of development of education field, with forecasting grounding of education development strategies?The answer is clear: without foreseeing and, with a more technologic expression, without forecasting expected results of educational activities any researches of strategic nature are meaningless. Moreover, necessary specifics of any strategy directly depends on the degree of expected results specification at any level in line with probably more specific criteria of performance relating to all components of educational «products».These «products» can be evaluated directly at pedagogic level in the form of qualitatively and quantitatively estimated knowledge, skills, abilities, creative, worldview, mental, and behavioural qualities, which a person acquires in the process of receiving education of corresponding level and specialization. The result of education should be assessed indirectly, at the level of economic, moral, intellectual, scientific and technological, cultural, mental condition and opportunities of society, state.
Study Hypothesis. Thus, the quality of education, its performance should be estimated both at the personal level with regard to person’s actual educational acquisitions, and at the social-state-or even civilizational level, when the indisputable fact that progress of each society is impossible without proper education and that attention, which state and society pay to the scope of education, is recorded. In this case the category of knowledge carrier’s competency is brought to the forefront as objective and result of continuing education.Methodology of developmental teaching, methodology of communicative competence formation and development in theory and practice, methodology of functional literacy define theoretical and conceptual background of study. A number of analysis methods are used in the paper.Descriptive and analytical methodinvolves comparative study of pedagogic, psychological, didactic concepts.Sociopedagogic methodsupposes observing real educational activities of students, attendance and analysis of lessons, data collection. Aspect analysis is study of academic and educational literature on the study theme.
Literature review regarding the issue, its history establishing, research positions, existing classifications, demonstrates complexity, multidimensionality of interpretation of both «competence» and «competency» notions, and the approach based on them to process and outcome of education. In the 70’s of the 20th century the «competence» term was widely popular in USA and many European countries due to individualization problem of education. At that time the idea was simple: not to limit oneself to elements of science and corresponding teaching methods in education, but to try to develop all levels of interpersonal relations, group microclimate.
Results and discussion
The main idea of integrated development of competence is what one shouldn’t limit oneself to a complex of knowledge and skills, acquired in the system of formal education: in order to be effective the knowledge should be connected to a wider range of knowledge, which humanity acquired out of formal education system. Whereas different levels of education, particularly general secondary education, vocational training and professional education, are competence formation means. In general, American academics associate competence rather with person’s general characteristics than with his professional activity characteristics (Raven, 1975).
These ideas are echoed by German scientists, who developed school teaching policy. They tried to rethink the «human factor» notion and state main principles of new school formation. The scientists of Germany offer refocusing of approach to a person from a perspective of wholism as a way of modern crisis overcoming. Theoretical and methodological positions of this conception’s authors are supported by philosophical principle of wholeness, according to which there are universal creative powers, which create wholeness by means of evolution in all systems and processes, in the world and nature. The term of «competence» was initially introduced in social psychology through various definitions such as «competence of communication», «communicative competence», «interpersonal competence», when communicative competence means «ability» to establish and support necessary contacts with other people. Scientists used ideas of subject activity structure, wherein communicative competence was defined as a system of internal resources necessary for effective communicative action organization in a specific set of situation of interpersonal interaction, as theoretical foundations of communicative competence content (Vvedensky, 2003; Tatur, 2004; Shadrikov, 2004; Khutorskoy, 2003).
Then the issue became topical owing to the idea of education content modernization, educational process organization techniques and technologies optimization and education objectives and outcomes rethinking. Resulting competency-based approach to education was studied in the context of European tendencies for globalization by scientists and pedagogic community of many countries, including Russia and Kazakhstan (Khutorskoy, 2003; Chinapah, 2003; Bogolyubov, 2003).
There are two variants for competencecompetency correlation interpretation: they are either the same, or are differentiated. According to the first variant presented in the Glossary of Terms of European Training Foundation (1997), competence and competency are defined in the following way:
1）Ability to do something well or effectively; 2）To meet requirements during placement; 3）Ability to exercise specific labour functions.
In the second variant competence is interpreted as one based on knowledge, intellectually and personally conditioned professional activity of a person. Raven J. holds this point of view and gives extensive definition of competence. He perceives
it as a phenomenon consisting of «a great number of components, many of which are related rather to cognitive area, while others– to emotional, these components can replace each other as constituents of effective behavior. Given this, types of competence are motivated abilities» (Raven, 1975: 34). According to «Glossary of Labor-market Terms» there are four models of competences definition: a) based on personality parameters; b) based on task fulfillment and activity; c) based on production activity; d) based on activity result management (Ryzhakov, 1999).
In Western academics’ opinion, there are different approaches to what is used as competences, and there are only two of them – to be able to write and think, or more– learning, research, thinking, communicating, cooperation, interaction, ability to handle a business, to go through, to adapt to yourself, to accept yourself as you are. Developers of competences considered competences formulation a reply to challenges, which Europe faced: protection of democratic open society, multilingualism, multiculture, new requirements of labour market, development of integrated organizations, economic changes.The idea of competence-based approach in education caused wide response and debates in Russian science, its representatives esteem this idea enough ambiguous in the context of notion content definition, grounds for classifications, introduction into educational process (Melnik, 2004; Mirolubov, 2004).
However researchers are unanimous in that competence-based approach reflects objective realities and should be taken into account in the process of general and professional education modernization.Lebedeva O.E. notes that conceptual framework that characterizes the meaning of competence-based approach hasn’t established yet, but nonetheless the researcher gives its definition:
«competence-based approach is a complex of general principles of education objectives setting, education content selection, educational process organization, educational results estimation». She refers the following provisions to the main principles:
- The essence of education is development of educatees’ ability to independently solve problems in various areas and types of activities based on the use of social experience, the element of which is learners’ own experience;
- The content of education is didactically adapted experience of politic and others problems solution;
- The essence of educational process organization consists in creating conditions for formation of learners’ experience of independent solutions of cognitive, communicative, organizational, moral and other problems composing education content;
- Assessment of educational results based on the analysis of education levels reached by learners at a specific stage of education(Lebedeva, 2004).
Selevko G.K.states that today school should make its pupils ready for changes, developing such qualities as mobility, dynamism, constructivity. One has to agree with this idea, especially on the assumption that level of education under modern conditions is measured not by knowledge level and itspolyhistory. From a perspective of competencebasedapproachthelevelofeducationisdeterminedby the ability to solve problems of different complexity based on knowledge at hand. Competence-based approach doesn’t disregard knowledge importance, but it’s focused on the ability to use gained knowledge. In the context of competence-based approach formation of core competences becomes main direct result of educational activity. From this point of view education objectives are set as follows:
- To teach to learn, to teach to solve problems in the area of educational activities;
- To teach to explain reality phenomena, their essence, causes, interrelations, using corresponding scholar apparatus, i.e. to solve cognitive problems;
- To teach to orient oneself in key problems of modern life– ecological, political, of intercultural interaction and others, i.e. to solve analytic problems;
- To teach to orient oneself in the world of spiritual values;
- To teach to solve problems regarding specific social roles actualization;
- To teach to solve problems common for different types of professional and other activity;
- To teach to solve problems of professional choice, including training for further education in institutions of professional education system (Selevko, 2004).
Kazakhstan researchers analyzing the terms of «competence» and «competency» point to ambiguousness and sometimes inconsistency of terms interpretation. Thus, Kulibaeva D.N. states that if competence is understood as a quality of a person, who has completed education of certain stage, consisting in willingness (ability) to successful (effective) activity based on it, then the following results: firstly, specialist’s competence formation requires complete renewal of education model while reforming entire subject-knowledge system; secondly, competence as «intended result» is standartized, objective-set and specified on a case-by-case basis by formed system developed competences as a complex of competences, potential forecasting competences, educationally actualized as a whole entity of formation by means of competences set, diagnosed and qualimetrically measured result, which reflects graduate’s model (Kulibaeva, 2012).
Academic competences are skill to use methodology, terminology common to individual area of knowledge, understanding of existing system interrelations. Transferable competences are ability to reason using abstract terms, to carry out analysis, make decisions, adapt, be a leader, work both in group and individually. Personal competences are person’s willingness and ability to reveal, conceive and estimate his development chances, requirements and limitations in family, profession, to reveal his own talent. Social competences are willingness or ability to form yourselfand live in social interaction (Kunanbaeva, 2010).
Completeness and integrative nature of education result at any stage and regarding any aspect can be perceived and understood only based on clear-cut idea of structure and hierarchy of performance of educational activity, its successively related stages. Given this, it’s necessary to note that even the most important and expected state and social educational achievements and results should be considered through a prism of personal educational acquisitions, since cumulative educational potential of society is eventually defined by a specific educational level of each person at all stages of his lifetime. In this regard let’s consider hierarchy of educational «ladder» of person’s ascending to better educational results. Over decades since the time of «Soviet school» the category of literacy was considered a key result of educational system. General education school made person ready for life and labour, it was to provide that necessary level of knowledge, skills, abilities, personal qualities, which is need for participation in various kinds of activities and relations, and which is a start basis for person’s further continuing development and is defined as «literacy».
This pragmatic approach to «literacy» definition unilaterally establishes adaptive functions of education. The point at issue is to solely meet direct demands of society for people able to carry out their functional responsibilities and feel more or less confident in socioeconomic environment. The following approach is discernible: person is for society, for state, person is a cog in the complex economic mechanism of state machine, person is not so much a personality as a common performer, worker, cadre. On the basis of so-called «human factor» he must fulfill a super task– to ensure high rates of scientific and technical progress in one or another production field.Propaedeutic meaning of literacy is also practically assured: it’s important by itself, but along with this, as a stage for further education, personality formation. Thesis about some educational minimum embodied in the notion of «literate person» can also be considered common. Besides, it stands to reason that the notion of «literacy» accumulates humanities and natural sciences aspects of initial cognition of the world in their harmony and interrelation. Literacy (as any other component of education performance) is essentially focused on the future, on person’s entering the following stages of educational and labour activity.
Traditional ideas of literacy formation as only and solely prerogative of school, especially its primary stage, are need to be revised. It was possible to be content with primary stage of general education school when literacy was reduced to mastering elementary skills. However this idea is obsolete. The appearance of functional literacy phenomenon, as a rule, considered against the background of general illiteracy, expanded time frames of person’s acquisition of some or other components of literacy. The concept of continuing education relates to not only professional education of adults for the purpose of advanced vocational training. The issues of general and functional illiteracy elimination, providing each person with opportunities for closing gaps in educational status at any stage of his life, literacy transformation into education enjoy no less support in the context of this concept.
Literacy is polystructural. Within modern understanding it’s not only skill to read, write and count. Literate person is, above all things, a person ready for further enrichment and development of his education potential. Literacy should provide a person with certain initial opportunities. Social justice requires these opportunities equal for all people regardless of individual differences. The most important pedagogic characteristic of literacy is availability of training for each and everyone. One of core results of educative process is education (degree of education). In a structural way literacy and education are categories of the same magnitude, but not the same. Their composition is of the same type, but lack of sameness is explained by obvious differences of qualitative and quantitative nature– volume and depth of knowledge, skills, abilities, creative activities methods, worldview and behavioral characteristics. Speaking conventionally, education is literacy brought to socially and individually necessary maximum.
Education suggests presence of sufficiently spacious mind regarding various matters of human life and society. However, it also supposes certain selectiveness by the depth of insight and understanding some or other issues. That’s exactly why professionally oriented education should be based on wide basis of general education. It’s impossible to be well-educated in one or another area without being literate. In terms of personality the structure of education fairly simulates the structure of literacy, but content of each component turns to be essentially different. It’s important to turn attention to not only direct, but back relation (reflection) between education and literacy: objective need for education structure and content change causes corresponding changes in literacy structure and content.
Degree of education is a category, which characterizes personal educational acquisitions. In turn, education is determined not only by personal, but social-state needs. Obviously, when general education structure is regulatory determined, the structure of necessary literacy is determined automatically. However, the structure of literacy can be wider than structure of general education development required at a given stage of social development. Mass literacy components can be unclaimed until the time comes, as if they «wait in the wings», edging a peculiar reserve, literacy superfluity. For example, up to a point the question is not so much about computer, linguistic economic, legal, and related types of education as about corresponding types of functional literacy. In this case the main thing is creation of conditions for further extension and deepening of gained knowledge. Time interval between corresponding kinds of literacy and education should not be very wide, since actual absence of demand regarding some other components of functional literacy inevitably leads to their obsolescence and depreciation.
Pedagogic category of competence is the following stage of person’s evolution process. General education as well as literacy is not a goal in itself. Under conditions of natural division of labour each person has to determine himself regarding selection of one or another profession. Moreover, it’s important to take into account not only economical efficiency of labour division, but opportunities for fullest self-fulfillment in accordance with abilities and interests. It’s clear that such self-fulfillment is only possible in a limited area of labour activity, wherein a person should be professionally competent.
The category of «professional competence» is mainly defined by the level of actual professional education, experience, individual abilities of person motivated by drive to continuing self-teaching and self-improvement, creative, responsible attitude to business. In our opinion, «germs» of these qualities should be in the structure and content of general education, ensuring base for person’s literacy and culture. Firstly, it is functional literacy that will be claimed and become actual at professional level, secondly, these are that components, which can be referred not so much to subject content as to person’s qualities under formation: responsibility, creativity, insistence, and thirst for new knowledge.Therefore, most well-founded statement in «competence» and «competency» relation is understanding of person’s «competence» as an acmeologic category and potential of intellectual and professional development of personality, characteristics of which are «competences», which should be formed in the process of education as system new formations. Speaking about education result, «competences» act as integrated characteristics of education quality and graduates’ training, i.e. the categories
«competence»– «competency» are considered in unity reflecting relation of «the potential general» and «the potential particular». Competence as an objective and result of teaching process is person’s willingness and ability to utilize his education in the context of practical activity (Salkhanova, 2017).
We suppose it’s possible to formulate essential characteristics of competence-based education by means of graduate’s model structuring through the system of his core competences:
- Strengthening of personal focus in education, that causes the need for ensuring activity of educatees taking part in educational process, pupils’ choice opportunities;
- Developing focus and elaboration of education, which has effect of development and, being individually-oriented, sets actual advance to its main objective; given this, skills and abilities serve as means of development;
- Requirement to teach to solve socially and personally significant problems and vital tasks at any age, which are accomplished through learning new kind of activities within a framework of which learners can solve problems by themselves, learning news ways of problem solving in various kinds of activities;
- Focus on person’s self-development, which is based on awareness of each person’s value,
infinite possibilities for personal enhancement, inner freedom priority– freedom for creative selfdevelopment.
The analysis shows that question of competences and competency is closely related to objective of professional higher school. Consequently, it is possible to say that competence and education results are new «points» that tighten educational process. Given this, qualification doesn’t disappear, its included into competence structure. In this regard we consider it possible to distinguish the notions in the following way: competence is educational resource consisting in graduate’s qualification, actual ability to use methods, activity means, form of knowledge, skills, abilities combination, which allow setting and achieving objectives for environment reformation. Competency is person’s integrative quality, which is expressed in general willingness and ability for activity based on knowledge and experience.
The comparative analysis of functions of literacy, education, competency leads to the content of «culture», «mentality» categories, which characterize further establishment of personality. It should be noted that specified components of structure are lined up in a conditional sequence. They reflect only general direction of education results’ successive enrichment in the process of personality establishment, but there are no clean-cut separation of components and formation stages. In the context of interrelation and succession of these categories, it is fair to state that literacy is necessary stage of both person’s education and professional competence, culture and mentality. It should include «germs» of each successive stage of personality establishment. However, when analyzing that «germs» it appears reasonable to follow not only inductive logic from conditionally lower to conditionally high stages of personal educational acquisitions, but also deductive logic. In this case regulatory grounded structural components of mentality, culture, professional competence, education allow acknowledging initial «germs» of literacy. Person’s competence in some field of activities is a necessary component of introduction to the culture. The notion of «culture» is interpreted in different ways. But with all differences its essential attributes include conscious attitude to legacy of the past, capacity for creative perception, understanding and reforming reality in one of another field of activity and relations.
Culture is the highest expression of education and competence. Person’s individuality can be most completely expressed at the level of culture. Naturally, this level of education delivery should attract not only professional culture experts’, but also pedagogues’ attention, who can propose feasible models of competence formation by means of deductive extension of content components of culture. The highest value of education and its hierarchic main objective is formation of persons’ and socium’s mentality. Person’s mentality embodies innermost foundations of human’s world-view and behavior. Mentality defines deeds of people, their attitude to various aspects of public life. In the long run education result should be estimated not only by direct, controlled parameters of pedagogic activity effectiveness. Assessment by long-term results of that activity with due regard to mental priorities of given socium and dynamics of universal human values, volatile criteria of real progress in person’s and society’s development, is also important.
Taking all the aforesaid into consideration, we state that in the structural chain of education: literacy-education (in terms of degree of education)– competency– culture– mentality all links are interrelated and interdependent. In our opinion, under the conditions of continuing education system– from primary school to higher education institute– the issues of goal-setting should be stated in regard to solidarity in tasks and shared objective setting– development of competent knowledgecarrier and competence of personality as an expected result. A person may display his individuality and unlock his educational potential in several areas, in this case the issue is not so much about professional competence as competence as the highest level of literacy and education, person’s giftedness, who is able to apply gained knowledge and skills in real life activity, successfully think and act in various branches of science.
The category of «professional competence» is largely defined by the level of professional education, experience, individual capacities, motivated drive for continuing self-education and self-improvement, creative, responsible attitude to business. «Germs» of these qualities should be not only in the structure and content of general education, but in the structure of literacy. Firstly, it is functional literacy that will be claimed and become actual at professional level, secondly, these are that components, which can be referred not so much to subject content as to person’s qualities under formation: responsibility, creativity, insistence, and thirst for new knowledge. Competence is person’s willingness and ability to utilize his education in the context of practical activity.We should also mention that most common statement in the correlation of «competence» and «competency» notions is understanding of person’s «competence» as an acmeologic category and potential of intellectual and professional development of personality, characteristics of which are «competences», which should be formed in the process of education as system new formations. In regard to education result, «competences» act as integrated characteristics of education quality and graduates’ training, i.e. the categories «competence»– «competency»are considered in unity reflecting relation of «the potential general» and «the potential particular». Therefore, the modern qualitative result of education is presingled out set of specific competences reflected in competence-based model of education and graduate’ model, which corresponds to customer order, social order. Correspondingly, graduate’s model is not only major indicator of education quality and result, but also system-forming factor for qualitative characterization of entire categorical content of competence-based education system and its components: strategies, goals, content, methods, technologies, educational media, forms of control and evaluation, etc.
Prospects for Further Studies.Despite goals of shift to competence-based model of education conforming to realities and needs of modern society, the shift owing to the absence of its reflection in education-managed system of technologic and conceptual models, methods and modernized facilities, continues to be prospective orientation, while knowledge component dominates in conceptual provisions as before.Success of common cause can be assured providing interaction of research organizations, educational institutions and wide public for the purpose of discussion of expected results system as a program of actions and condition for education quality transparency ensuring, and thereupon development and introduction of innovative approaches, methodic and technical renewal of pedagogues, school and higher institution activities as a whole. Equally important task involves development of the complex of cross-disciplinary issues of education forecasting (focused on the future) standardization based on overall assessment of current status and tendency for education development in country and in the world with analysis and synthesis of the most important, invariant for various countries and nations life values. This civilization-scale task waits its turn, but need for its solution becomes clearer: only based on sober estimate of its own education sphere and comparison of education level with international level of the highest educative and pedagogic achievements, any country can back on rightful and multiple-aspect partnership with world community, much-needed economy competitiveness and hereafter tolerance and respect to spiritual traditions and mental values of its nation.
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