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К содержанию номера журнала: Вестник КАСУ №4 - 2007

Авторы: Сагиндыкова Ю. А. , Аубакирова А.А.

Kazakhstan is quickly integrating in the world community by adapting international standards in many spheres, such as banking, accounting, corporate culture development, fund markets, including such a key resource as people. Evidently, for the republic to move on and to succeed in the competitive world, the quality of human resources should become first on the investment priority list. There are various ways through which personnel is educated: traditional education provided in universities, long-term courses, short-term trainings and seminars, etc.

Traditional education had been predominant for many years until other ways of getting equipped with necessary skills appeared, such as seminars and trainings, etc. Today along with traditional education, trainings and seminars have become another necessity for hundreds of companies and individuals because of the need to keep employee’s skills and knowledge up-to-date and fresh. Moreover, besides just having an educational element, trainings and seminars organized by companies for their employees is a powerful motivational tool to keep the level of turnover among personnel down.

Many American companies spend millions of dollars to educate and train their personnel according to the rapidly changing time demands and view trained and highly qualified staff as a strong competitive advantage. The following facts are startling and display how much importance leading companies of the world assign to short-term trainings for their employees. For example, General Electric Corporation annually spends 1 billion dollars for trainings and educational programs. In 2000 German company BASF invested about 83.3 million Euros into 3237 trainees, and 58 thousand people took qualification increase courses.

Today, many Kazakhstan companies: government as well as private agencies, invest a lot of resources to train personnel accordingly. Among the most-known are the government agencies sending their employees to the state management academy based in Astana, or Halyk and ABN-AMRO banks, constantly training their personnel to keep up with the pace of world standards.

It is Important to note that trainings have not appeared to replace traditional education as widely believed, but rather perfectly complement it. Kazakhstan market of short-term personnel education is quite young and would be hard to compare with such well-established markets as the ones in the USA or Europe. The latter countries are known for excellent business schools, such as Harvard, Darden, which besides offering traditional education, are also the main suppliers of short-term trainings for a variety of famous companies in the US and Europe. Russian market, for example, is more advanced as well in terms of information, statistics and quality of trainings.

However, Kazakhstan’s overall economic development as well as its highly ambitious goals for the future create a rather favorable atmosphere for a successful development of this newly emerging market. For the past few years, much has been achieved in terms of proper dissemination of information among target audience and improvement of the quality of trainings. Kazakhstan suppliers of training services vary from international companies with representative offices in Kazakhstan to locally based companies. Central statistical agency does not provide any information on the exact number of training companies, or the volume of the investments in this particular market. Approximately, the total number is not higher than 100 of companies with about 85% of them based in Almaty, the republican financial center.

The timeliness and rationale for analyzing the market of training services in Kazakhstan is unquestionable and has a remarkable statistical as well as overall economic importance for all interested users. Due to the lack of deep analytical researches and accurate statistical data of this market in Kazakhstan, this leaves a big space for a lot of quite biased and inaccurate data, which can misinform a casual as well as a professional reader about the status-quo of the market of training services in Kazakhstan.

Trainings are not just another fashion trend that does not have a real use and practicability, but a powerful tool to educate personnel in a way that can immensely advance the progress of humanity. Business short-term education is especially valuable at this time because appropriate business skills are what most business people in Kazakhstan and the whole post-soviet territory. Unfortunately, many of the existing universities still use outdated curriculums and syllabuses, which provides the students with a large volume of theoretical information that is sometimes not applicable to the real-life situations and deprives the existing higher education of practical value to the professional future of a student. With this awareness of a theory-based higher education, the essence of short-term trainings as a newly emerged phenomenon is being misinterpreted and thus misunderstood.

Russian web-sources offer various definitions, the predominant number of which puts a special stress on the superiority of trainings to traditional education, which is in its root wrong and immature. For example, the analytical article “What is a training?” on one of the HR portals describes training as “the most widespread form of modern business education”, where the emphasis is made on the development of practical skills needed for daily work and the main difference of training from traditional education is the involvement of its participants. The definition is very general and therefore should specify “modern form of short-term business education” rather than just saying “modern form of business education”.

The second part of definition indirectly states the fact that traditional education is boring and its participants are usually passive and thus exalts the superiority of trainings as a better substitute of education. This underlying motive is not very correct, because traditional type and trainings are actually not rivals in winning new clients but rather partners, i.e. these are not mutually exclusive but two equally effective coexisting forms of education. Therefore, definition through emphasizing superiority of the one through putting down the other does not seem to be objective, but rather is a very biased, subjective definition.

The more objective definition of the term “trainings” is given on the website of one of the training centers named “Uspeh” and states that “trainings are a short-term program, directed at the development of specialized skills, which allows to absorb a lot of information and to master new professional skills for a short time period”. However, at the end it is compared once again with the traditional education as being more practical than the latter one.

The more sophisticated and complete definitions are given on the website www.treko.ru , where the author states that in fact “there is no widely recognized definition of a training, that would be accepted by all” and thus refers to a variety of definitions. Some of them describe training as “earlier planned process, the aim of which is to change the attitude, knowledge or behavior of participants with the help of educating experience and aimed at the development of certain skills needed to perform a certain activity”. The aim of training is to contribute to the development of personality and to satisfy the current and future needs of a company”. This definition was suggested by the Manpower Services Commission of Great Britain in 1991.

Another definition once again ascribes the emergence of short-term trainings to the impracticability and a quick “deterioration” of knowledge acquired in traditional institutions. One of the training experts describes training as a special way of education, that is based not on declarative, but on real knowledge, giving the opportunity to experience what the lecture essentially says, after which he presents a lot of examples of “declarative knowledge”, which is hardly of any of practical use. He ends by stating that “group psychological training is a method of intentional changes of a man, aimed at his or her professional and personal development through acquisition, analysis and reevaluation by him or her own experience in a context of group interaction”. The latter definition sounds very scientific and mainly describes psychological trainings rather than provides general explanation of what a training is.

This confusion with proper and accurate definitions proves that there is a clear misunderstanding in post-soviet area of what a real training and its role are. One of the articles brings up this issue and refers to two wrong ideas that are resent in the consciousness of educational community: all the differences between academic and short-term business education are made up, and secondly, development of short-term business education poses a threat to the success of traditional education. Evidently, trainings have not come to replace traditional education but to perfectly complement it. The table below carefully describes the main differences between traditional or academic as it is called in some web sources and short-term education.

The table seems to more or less objectively reflect some of the differences between traditional and short-term business education. It evidently narrows the diversity of different trainings to those focused on the development of business skills, but nevertheless covers some aspects of all trainings, which makes it a good visual depiction to better understand that traditional education and trainings are two distinct types of education and cannot be rivals in educational world. Moreover, it employs a very simple language and avoids very complicated ideas to make this table highly interpretable. Some of its fields seem to be obsolete, such as traditional education nowadays as opposed to the one during soviet times is rather costly and at times even more than a short-term training. However, in terms of curriculums, the table hits the target by stating that training materials are developed by trainers while the university curriculums – by scientists.

All of the stated differences also indicate that two types of education are aimed at different target audiences, which makes two types of education perfectly coexisting. Traditional education (Bachelor’s, Master’s, PhD) targets fresh high school graduates, middle-career professionals with sufficient study time at their disposal, professors, scientists, etc., whereas short-term education covers especially busy people, such as top management. Sometimes the reason for choosing a short-term training rather than traditional education is the desire to develop some skills, such as related to MS office or interpretation of scientific terms, while can be developed within a short time period. The choice of either short-term training or traditional education varies from person to person, from company to company.

The purpose of the article is to confront some of the stereotypes related to the emergence and rapid development of trainings on the post-soviet territory. This article directly addresses some apprehensions of some people about the aggressive growth and marketing by many training institutions. However, these fears and misconceptions are inevitable and completely understandable because the market is quite new and the traditional education is not very strong. This confusion should be temporary until the training centers and the rest of population will view a newly emerged type of education as an excellent complement to existing traditional education rather than its alternative.

The reasons for these widespread misconceptions about trainings are obvious. The western market views these two types of education as perfectly coexisting. Looking back into the history, in western countries this market was highly developed a long before 1991, such famous schools as Darden, Harvard business schools have been providing traditional long education as well as short-term trainings. Interesting to note that these training centers are part of universities which indicates that the gap between usual education and reality at work is not as big as it is in Kazakhstan or other former Soviet Union countries, where this gap is so big that training services are viewed as much better alternative to the usual education, which is quite logical, because the quality of education is so outdated with some of the teachers still implementing old programs, and is not very practical, which leaves today’s graduates with a poor set of skills and barely demanded by the companies.

Ideally, the traditional education should not be a rival to the short-term trainings, which is the case in Kazakhstan and other CIS countries. Harvard Business School is the perfect evidence that traditional and short-term trainings are both equally effective and necessary in bringing up a professional with relevant skills and knowledge. Therefore, there is a growing necessity for providing the proper information and educating the public, human resource managers and upper and middle-level management about the role and functions of the short-term business education compared to the traditional education, especially, considering the market for the short-term education in Kazakhstan is emerging and growing at a fast pace.

REFERENCES

1. www.exclusive.kz

2. www.top-personal.ru

3. www.seminar.kz

4. www.profit.kz

5. www.hr-forum.kz

6. www.renessans.kz



К содержанию номера журнала: Вестник КАСУ №4 - 2007


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