The article is devoted to the analysis of the practice of the problems' solving in the improvement of the quality of educational services provided by higher educational institutions of the Republic of Kazakhstan on the example of the Karaganda Medical University. One of the aspects of effective implementation of improving the quality of education is the introduction of elements of sociological monitoring of ongoing reforms in the university management system, through the method of studying «feedback». The authors of the article describe the results of the sociological research conducted at the university, draw conclusions about the heuristic and scientific possibilities of using this method for solving the issues of obtaining an assessment of the quality of education by the participants in the educational process, analyzing the advantages and disadvantages, the «strong» and «weak» sides of the educational process, summarizing and correction of individual elements of the management of the learning process. There is written the conclusion in the article that in Karaganda State University the possibility of using the sociological method of obtaining «feedback» is used as widely and effectively as possible.
The question of the quality of education has always been one of the fundamental issues in the system of higher education. Education is a dynamic process what needs to be adapted to the ever-changing conditions of time. The professional market, including the medical, reqires high demands on the quality of the graduated specialists. The future of a young doctor, his competitiveness, directly depends on the knowledge, skills and abilities what he receives in the process of studying at a university.
If the definition of the concept of the education quality is found out, we can say that the quality of education is the degree of satisfaction of all participants' expectations in the educational process. The quality of education is the demand for the knowledge acquired in specific conditions and applying them to achieve the goals. The criteria for quality education are:
- – the work of the teacher aimed at improving the quality of knowledge;
- – rationalization of the educational process;
- – using the information technology in the educational process;
- – motivation of students, aimed at obtaining quality education;
- – personal-oriented approach;
- – constant monitoring of students' knowledge.
We can also note that the quality of education depends on improving the organization of the educational process, the results of training and improving the pedagogical competence of the teacher .
Karaganda Medical University created an effective system of «feedback» between the faculty, students and administration. The purpose of the sociological monitoring system is to study the public opinion of medical university teachers about methods of improving the quality of future specialists' education in the field of medicine and public health .
During the year several sociological studies were conducted at the university. The sociological survey was conducted to study the quality of educational services. In this study, the method of focus-group research was used - interviews with university professors, along with the questioning of faculty and students, because qualitative studies are elaborated with the critical values of equally important evaluative judgments of the survey participants.
During the research, a number of issues on internal and external life of university departments were discussed in order to obtain an objective assessment of the assumed measures, to improve the quality of education and further improvement of the educational process.
In the course of the study, the quality level was determined by the following criteria, after studying which the following results were obtained:
- The ability to evoke interest to the subject. All respondents noted that interest is generated through non-traditional forms of conducting classes. To improve the effectiveness of the learning process, new methods of teaching are widely introduced, such as research methods - RTB and command - TBL. Participants of the focus group noted that in their departments there are student circles, in which there is a constant work of teachers with students to prepare reports, articles for participation in various conferences. An additional factor, maintaining high motivation for learning and improving the quality of teaching, as noted by the teachers, is the timely introduction of problem-oriented learning and case studies. As a result, the teachers noted, «we do not impose them, but they want to get knowledge».
- Differentiated approach in teaching. Differentiated training provides a learning process at the level of each learner's capabilities. This method makes it possible to get maximum knowledge for each student based on his individual abilities, which allows to get a more effective educational process. In the process of forming student groups, a random selection method is used. As a result, teachers receive a student audience with different learning abilities due to the specific conditions of development, individual characteristics and abilities.
There is a need for individual and differentiated approach to control students' knowledge and using of variational tasks of different levels. So for effective and objective evaluation of the final control of students' knowledge in some universities, test tasks of a multi-level nature are developed. According to the assessment received during the study, both students and teachers speak in favor of this technique. And they also expressed their wishes for the application of this technique in conducting the intermediate control of students.
According to the majority of the surveyed teachers, such qualities as the horizon and the general culture are developed in 90 % of the students, and creativity, critical thinking, leadership - in 30 % of students, in each group of such students 3-4 people.
- Strict control of students' knowledge. This criterion of effective education is a logical continuation of the second criterion. Respondents repeatedly noted in the course of the conversation that students of medical schools are highly motivated to learn, a healthy atmosphere of struggle for rating is created in the student's environment, practically all students studying on the grant try not to lose the scholarship, the system of workings through which integrity is not violated study of discipline, assessments are displayed consistently, for each section. The control of knowledge is carried out in several stages. Based on the obtained data, the following types of control can be distinguished: current, interm, final. Each type of control is monitored by departments, deans, and university administrations. Monitoring makes it possible to give practical recommendations for improving the quality of students' knowledge and criteria for knowledge assessment. A positive moment in using of the system of accounting electronic knowledge, an electronic journal, was noted. Each university chooses its own electronic journal.
- Level of professional skill of the teacher. Participants of the research noted that in recent years the requirements have been increased to the teacher as a participant in the educational process, in particular, in such forms as the development of problem lectures, multimedia presentations. The quality of textbooks' translations has been improved in the Republic, which can not but be reflected in improvement of the quality of teaching in the Kazakh language, the library fund has significantly increased.
Teachers were highly appreciated by the system of professional development of teachers created in medical universities. The emphasis in the system of retraining of staff pays attention to the improvement of the general teaching skills and updating the basic specialized knowledge, the participation of teachers in various trainings and master classes both inside and outside of the university, with the opportunity to receive acertificate, was noted by the participants of the groups. Universities actively encourage the manifestation of personal initiative of teachers who independently seek opportunities for their professional growth. The professional development, according to the teachers' evaluations, has acquired a systematic character - once in 5 years the teachers undergo further professional development, and twice a year the teachers are given the opportunity to pass the qualification to improve their pedagogical competence at the beginning of the academic year and at the end. All forms of advanced training, according to the participants' assessments, are held at a high level and allow to obtain the desired result. Participants of the focus group study evaluated highly the quality of certain aspects of the learning process in general, and in particular such as the content of curricula and plans. As the teachers noted, the constant work is being done to improve the curricula, the curricula are fully updated once every 5 years in accordance with the requirements of the time. Teachers assessed the content of the curricula in compulsory, core and elective disciplines for an assessment of 90 score A-.
Methods of educational work with students are worked out, each curator knows his duties well, there is an interesting form of holding joint competitions between students and teachers.
Some teachers expressed a desire to use the opportunities of academic mobility to go abroad, to the leading scientific centers. However, another part of the teachers objected that it is also necessary to use their own initiative to find a host university abroad and apply for academic mobility.
Some young teachers expressed the interest in raising their professional level through admission to doctoral studies and expressed hope for the help of the leadership.
Educational and methodological support of the educational process. This is one of the fundamental factors in solving the issue of improvement the quality of education. In the course of the survey, the respondents were unanimous and named the «strength» the replenishment of the library fund, including the literature of leading foreign publishers in English.
Some recommendations were made for improving the teaching, for example, by increasing the number and quality of textbooks in the Kazakh language. Also, some respondents recommended more active using of the application for textbooks through the library. Teachers offered to officially authorize the using of electronic textbooks.
Traditions and innovations in teaching. The following data were obtained on this issue. Teachers as a positive moment thoughtful and balanced policy of universities, expressed absolute support for its main areas updating and modernization of the educational process, development and updating of training programs, the creation of a powerful technical base.
The issues of increasing the effectiveness of the educational and research process were discussed in the process of conducting focus groups. In particular, the teachers noted the good security and condition of the classrooms, the continuous updating of computer equipment and equipping the auditorium with everything necessary for multimedia presentations, the availability of the Internet («everywhere wi-fi»). However, according to teachers, there is still a shortage of laptops in the departments («who did not have time, he was late»). There is also a necessity to strengthen the work at the university in the direction of creating more favorable conditions for conducting scientific research by both students and teachers. Low interest in participating in scientific research is explained by teachers owing to the lack of time, and students have low motivation, lack of material encouragement. At some departments scientific laboratories are opened, however, as teachers mark this practice it is necessary to extend to all.
Some teachers noted that there is a problem of server hangup and overload, especially towards the end of the school year, on testing days, which negatively affects the learning process.
According to teachers' evaluations, modern technical means and information technologies of teaching are actively used in the university process, including multimedia presentations, interactive whiteboards, simulators, films, electronic textbooks and manuals. In many universities there are active centers of practical skills.
The formation of a corporate culture of a modern type has the great importance for the successful implementation of educational activities. In our study, we paid attention to the question of the formation of a corporate culture in a medical college. Before turning to the results of the study, we will clarify the concepts of social monitoring and the corporate culture itself. Let's start with the definition of social monitoring, so as the sociological monitoring is an important tool for the formation of corporate culture.
Sociological monitoring is a form of organizing a diagnostic study that provides constant information about the state of a particular social process or social situation that allows it to be defined as an instrument of a strategy of sustainability, maneuverability, and flexibility. Under the social culture (which is part of thecorporate culture), we mean a qualitative description of people's socialization, the organization of social life within the constantly changing field of social patterns, norms, rules, roles, conventions, etc. Sociological monitoring of positive and negative trends in dynamics of corporate culture allows improving the manageability of organizations, enterprises, corporations. Diagnosis is a means of conscious management of changes occurring in a corporate culture that allows defining priority directions in the development strategy, as a result of which problems are identified, their capabilities, the main directions of their implementation. The task of sociological monitoring is to warn about this or that trouble, the dangers for effective management of corporate culture, which helps to prevent or minimize possible destructive development of events.
The processes that form the monitoring system are defined as the collection, processing, analysis and storage of information to improve the efficiency of corporate culture management. Let us distinguish the following characteristics of a corporate culture: it is created by people; is the result of human actions, thoughts, desires; its formation is influenced by the members of the organization, especially the leaders; has the property of universality, since it determines the way the organization works; formally informal, in connection with which the parameters and effects can not be measured quantitatively; is not subject to significant changes; shared by all or almost all members of a social group; is passed by the senior members of the organization to the younger ones; forms behavior (morality, laws, customs) and the structure of perception and vision of the world; is multifaceted and, depending on the method used, can be revealed in different ways. Increased competition forces management to study the processes taking place in the company, improve and use modern management principles.
As a result of the focus group survey, we received the following answers from the respondents.
Throughout the conversation, the respondents repeatedly stressed the effectiveness of the management policy at the university in preserving and reproducing the best traditions of the university, the high quality composition of the teaching and student corps, the effectiveness of the established system of recruiting entrants, a high level of awareness of the internal life of the university, departments and divisions, thereby confirming the high level of corporate culture that has developed in the teaching environment.
In particular, in response to the question «What are the main motivations, in your opinion, the applicants coming to Karaganda Medical University are guided by» the teachers identified a whole complex of interconnected, in their opinion, motivators:
- •the demand for a profession;
- •the influence of parents - the continuation of family traditions;
- job security;
- availability of a large number of grants.
In the conversation, all teachers, without exception, were unanimous and highly appreciated the breadth and scope of the changes in the university in such areas as improving the quality of teaching, improving the effectiveness of the learning process, and building a consistent system of teacher training. Teachers appreciated the introduction of internal corporate e-mail at the university, which resulted in increased interaction between participants in the educational process, improved feedback, and the promptness of information. The university's website works well, the information is updated promptly, and each employee has access to all necessary documents. The system of stimulating the creative activity of teachers through the moral (letters of thanks, letters of letters at the end of each academic year and on the Day of the Medic) and a material incentive - bonuses are implemented and well functioned at the university, all teachers strive to formalize intellectual property for their articles, allowances, apply to the category. There is and successfully operates a system of interaction and feedback with employers through questionnaires. As the results of the research showed, the university has a well-established system of interaction between teachers and management - according to the participants' assessments, the regularity of meetings with the university management - twice a year and the meetings of the departments once a month - is quite sufficient, which allows solving all the accumulated problems. There is a practice of extraordinary meetings with management in connection with the solution of various emerging production problems.
Based on the above, it can be concluded that the conscious management of changes in the corporate culture, the implementation of transformations aimed at the development of the university, continuous sociological monitoring is a priority in the strategy of successful development of the university.
In conclusion,we should note that in Kazakhstan medical schools today, there is a tendency to receive high-quality specialists in the field of medicine and healthcare, by improving the quality of education.
In conclusion, we can draw the following conclusions. One of the most important methods for ensuring the effectiveness of solving problems in the improving the quality of higher education is the sociologicalsupport of educational reforms. Including by providing the «feedback» between all participants of the educational process with the help of sociological research.«Feedback» is allowed to get an assessment of the reforms by public opinion, to analyze the advantages and disadvantages, «strong» and «weak» aspects of the educational process, summarize and correct some of the process control elements.In Karaganda State University, the possibility of using the sociological method of obtaining «feedback» is used as widely and effectively as possible.
- William C. Cockerham (Eds.). (2001). The new Blackwell companion to medical sociology. Blackwell.
- Chloe, E. Bird, Peter Conrad, Allen M. Freemont, & Stefan Timmermans. (Eds.). (2009). The handbook of medical sociology. Nashville: Vanderbilt Univ. Press.