Research competences in University education: profile of Master's Programs

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1 Research competences in University education: profile of Master's Programs V. Bishimbayev, I. Yefimova M.Auezov South Kazakhstan State University (Kazakhstan) 1. To the issue background The last decades the higher education strenuously is seeking adequate answers to the challenges of modern globalizing world. The Bologna process became a worthy answer. From the perspective of the young Republic of Kazakhstan, the natural aspiration of the universities to the modernization of education content was supported by the political will of the country s government. As a result in 2010, Kazakhstan became the 47 th country to sign the Bologna declaration. Today all the main tools of EHEA are adopted by law. Actual is the issue of the development of traditionally strong fundamental training of students and strengthening of the research component of the educational process. 2. Balance of the interests of employers and the University. The higher education of Kazakhstan regularly aims at competence approach. Though the questions concerning competences and qualifications are settled to a larger degree, the debates about the balance of interests of employers and classical university education continue. The increased capacity to build the degree programs determines the difficult choice for a HEI to determine the priorities of training. On the one hand, the employers prefer the readiness of graduates to work in a team, their communication abilities and preparedness to make independent decisions as main competences. On the other hand, the modern university is interested in involving students into research and in developing their critical thinking, therefore it strives to the strengthening of the research component. This is especially true for Master s programs. Modern Master s degree programs require to achieve the balance between practice - and researchorientation. To a large extent this balance is provided through identification of academic knowledge for the first and second cycle, and also through the development of Master's programs, taking into account the future employability of students. With this in mind, Kazakhstan has adopted two profiles of Master's program professional and scientifically - pedagogical. Profile Master's program implements professional study programs of postgraduate education in training human resources (including managerial ones), top- managers for economy branches, medicine, law, art, services and business, that have in-depth professional training. Scientific and pedagogical Master s programs implement professional study programs to train scientific and pedagogical human resources for the higher education system and research area, having in-depth scientific pedagogical training. In the first case the graduates realize themselves as managers of production, in the second case they implement teaching and research activity. At this the content of programs and teaching methods differ seriously.

2 The study of employers requirements in regard to the postgraduates preparation level found the following abilities to be priority-oriented ones: ability to apply knowledge in practice, ability to study, work in a team, ability to analyze and synthesize, ability to adapt to new conditions. The priorities whereas of the academic environment in training of future researchers are given to such competences as basic knowledge in science, ability to analyze and synthesize, ability to generate new ideas, a high level of professional knowledge, skills to conduct research. As result one can note certain disparities in the requirements to the future specialist, which requires the development of different profiles of Master s programs. In this case it is extremely important, that the graduate of Master s program of scientific profile-, in the end is not only a researcher, but also a specialist in future, who must orient her/his research at solving urgent problems of production. At the same time, the graduate of profile Master s program must have analytical thinking to study the actual problems of production and to be able to suggest new ways to solve them, i.e. must also have research competences. As a result the research component in the degree program has a very important meaning for both profiles of the Mater s program. 3. Profile of the program The understanding of the necessity of various directions of training in Master s program became the basis for development of Master's programs profile. As main elements of the profile the following ones may be adopted: Base of profile - definition of the essence of what the graduate of the degree program must be; Target groups - definition of the potential and target groups of a degree program; Stakeholders identification of sectors of economy and society, displaying interest to the implementation of this degree program; Requirements to the program - the ratio of competencies and identification of educational priorities, an understanding of the educational context, within the framework of which, the program will be implemented; National / International context Namely the profile of the program is the basis for the development of the whole degree program, in particular of learning outcomes and competences. Different from the undergraduate programs in the postgraduate degree programs the presentation of general competences in professional context seems appropriate; At this, the general objective of all postgraduates programs is acquisition by the trainees of the following skills: 1. to demonstrate developing knowledge and understanding, obtained at the level of higher professional education, that are the basis or the possibility for original development or applying ideas, often in the context of scientific research;

3 2. to apply knowledge, understanding and ability to solve problems in new or unfamiliar situations in the contexts and within framework of broader (or multidisciplinary) fields, associated with the studied area; 3. to integrate knowledge, to cope with the complexities and make judgments, based on incomplete or limited information, considering ethical and social responsibility for the use of these judgments and knowledge; 4. clearly and precisely present their conclusions and knowledge and their substantiation to specialists and non specialists; 5. to continue learning independently 4. Further the development of degree programs is implemented depending on the profile of the Master's program. Profile Master s program Scientific pedagogical Master s program Base of the profile training of managers and high level training researchers and teachers of engineers. HEIs Target groups mid-level managers, technical staff teachers, researchers Stakeholders economic and production environment academic environment Requirements to the program strengthening of practice-oriented training strengthening of the research component development of modules, tailored to specific production conditions creation of conditions to conduct research in laboratories Competences solution of specific production situations involvement of practitioners into teaching -to apply scientific methods of cognition in professional activity; -to analyze critically the existing conceptions, theories and approaches in studying processes and phenomena; -to integrate knowledge, to use it to solve the analytical and management tasks in new unfamiliar conditions; -to conduct a microeconomic analysis of the enterprise activity and to use its results in the management of the enterprise; -to put into practice new approaches to the organization of marketing and management; -to make decisions in complicated and non standard situations; -to think and to approach creatively the solution of new problems and situations; -to carry out information analytical and information - bibliographic work, using modern IT. implementation of considerable experimental analytical work presentation of the research results at scientific seminars -to use the obtained knowledge in the context of scientific research; -to analyze critically the existing conceptions, theories and approaches to the analysis of processes and phenomena; -to integrate the knowledge, obtained within the framework of various disciplines,to solve research tasks in new unfamiliar conditions; -to deliver judgments and make decisions on the basis of incomplete or limited information; -to apply the knowledge of psychology and pedagogics of the higher school in their pedagogical activities; - to apply interactive methods of learning; -to conduct information analytical and information - bibliographic work, using advanced IT; -to think and to approach creatively the solution of new problems and situations; - to generalize the results of scientific - research and analytical work.

4 5. Research competences As one can see, different profile of degree programs determines various learning outcomes and a various set of competencies, that students acquire. The postgraduate degree programs, having the scientific - pedagogical profile, allow to realize the enhanced research component of the education process and to train a scientist s pool. For Kazakhstan, which has completely given up the traditional training of candidates and doctors of sciences, this seems extremely important. In fact, the scientific pedagogical postgraduate and doctorate PhD became the replacement of the system of training scientific human resources, which has begun in the Soviet system of education and which has proved its inviability in the conditions of information society and rapid development of scientific progress. At this, the absolute condition of new degree programs formation in science is the preservation of education depth, carrying out research with obtaining and processing a large volume of empirical research. On the basis of this, it seems necessary to introduce into the postgraduate program of scientific pedagogical profile specific modules, oriented at the development of competences in the field of research conducting and appropriate skills of acquisition and processing of experimental data. The use of integrated method of teaching on the basis of practical research experience in such modules is efficient. In this case the teacher s contribution is to familiarize students with the research conducting methodology, to inform the students about the research context, to provide background information and to formulate the tasks of research. In addition the teachers deliver lectures and conduct practical classes, devoted to methods of research conducting, develop tasks, aimed at collecting qualitative and quantitative information and carrying out various methods of analysis, and also encourage students to search for additional literature and references. The practical training has an important place in the learning process of Master program.. In the profile Master's program students master a special module "Experimental research work", in the scientific and pedagogical Master s program- module "Research and experimental work", the complexity of which is from 5 to 10 ECTS. Alongside with this, various versions of enhancing the professional possibilities of graduates are admitted. A Master after the graduation from the profile Master s program, can be engaged in research and teaching, but only if she/he has mastered the cycle of disciplines of pedagogical profile and has passed pedagogical practice. This cycle of disciplines and pedagogical practice are being mastered during an additional academic period, after the completion of which she/he gets an appropriate standard certificate as a supplement to the basic diploma. The development of research competences very well fits into the new paradigm of training scientific human resources. The issues of formulating the outcomes and competences are fairly well gone into, in particular, by separation of Master s program profiles in Kazakhstan system of education. At the same time more efforts are still required for the development of national qualification frameworks in LLL system, and also in various subjects areas. The experience of implementation of Master s degree programs in Kazakhstan HEIs allows to make certain conclusions: 1. The consultations with various social groups, aimed at forming the base of Master's program profile, are an important element of formation of Master's program profile. The task of the University is to provide full support to such consultations.

5 2. To acquire research competences in the postgraduate course it is not enough to include individual modules into the curriculum, where methods of research conducting are taught. This task must be solved comprehensively within the framework of the whole degree program in relation to the future professional sphere and research objective, stated in the final work of the postgraduate. 3. Determination of degree programs profiles promotes the education quality enhancement, thus promoting the transparency of objectives, results and learning process. 4. One should not give a too narrow sense to competences, refusing to understand competences as skills. In a definite situation the ability to state a problem and to analyze is an important competence. 5. The use of competence-based approach and result-orientation at the design of Master's program profiles constitute an important dimension, that can balance the interests of employers and academic community. Reference [1] Salmi J The Challenge of Establishing World-Class Universities. World Bank, Wash-ington, D.C. Appendix F. Schuurmans, M The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT): Sustainable Growth and Competitiveness through Innovation. Presentation. [2] Trends in Global Higher Education: Tracking an Academic Revolution A Report Prepared for the UNESCO 2009 World Conference on Higher Education, Philip G. Altbach, Liz Reisberg, Laura E. Rumbley [3] Gonzalez J An Example of implementation. International Conference on Learning Outcomes. ECA.

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