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T. Rezer1, E. Kuznetsova2

1Ural Federal University, The Ural State University of Economics (RUSSIAN FEDERATION)
2Ural State Law University / Ural Federal University (RUSSIAN FEDERATION)
The article is devoted to the comparison of two approaches used in contemporary higher education. These are competency-based and practice-oriented approaches. The topic of the research is based on contradictions existing in the modern system of higher education in Eastern European countries and in particular in Russia. Many countries of Eastern Europe have joint the Bologna process and moved from academic and practice-oriented approaches that they used to apply in the higher education to the competency-based approach proclaimed by the Bologna principles.

The research is aimed at the complex comparison of objectives, forms and results of the education based on, first, practice-oriented approach and, second, competency-based approach in the higher education.

In the course of the research the following methods were used: first, historical method which helps to analyse approaches used in European countries before the Bologna process was launched; second, comparative analyses which forms the core of the research; third, the methods of observation and interaction in educational process; and finally, the method of public opinion poll conducted among the students of higher educational institutions.

The preliminary results of the research are the following. First, the two approaches have different goals and tasks. Practice-oriented approach is aimed at the development of particular practical skills that can be applied by a graduate or even a student at work. Thus, this approach leads to the formation of practical skills which depend on the type of profession and cannot be universal. Competency-based approach, vice versa, aims to form personality that will be able to engage in different types of activities. Competency-based education strives to shape an individual able to think into the situation, analyse and create regardless of the type of profession. Therefore, the educational technologies used within the first approach are formed on the basis of the demands of the profession (meaning organisations and companies of certain area). While competency-based approach requires applying such educational technologies that form different personal qualities and competencies, for example communication, analytic or creative thinking, negotiation.

The comparison of the two approaches led us to three conclusions:
1. The transition to the competency-based education in higher educational institutions in Eastern Europe is based on the practice-oriented approach.
2. To form an active and competent person and professional both approaches should be used.
3. Since the primary purpose of the higher education is not mere upbringing but forming a professional, the practice-oriented approach should be the core of the competency-based higher education.