About Project » Partner country/ies problem and needs analysis

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     Different human interests are focused on the coastal zone, resulting often in the appearance of conflicts among various users. In order to carry out a proper coastal environmental policy and to solve ecological, social and economic problems, an approach known as Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) is being developed. The ICM approach is recognised as a necessary mechanism for the realisation of a sustainable coastal environmental policy (Rio Declaration, 1992). The development of ICM is important for any coastal country and for Russia in particular, above all due to its geographic characteristics (60000 Km of coastline). The coastal zone, indeed, represents a resource by itself, being one of the most important aspects of ICM its forward looking while many economic sectors and decision-makers still put focus far too heavily on short- or medium-term economic profit ignoring sustainability matters, which justifies the need for a capacity building supporting ICM development.

     Innovations in ICM define also the necessity of new approaches in the educational and training sphere. ICM requires both understanding of the environment and of the human activities influencing it. Due to the complexity of natural systems and human activities in the coastal zone conflicting issues arise among urban, industrial, recreational use as well as the exploitation of coastal and shelf resources. This existing problem requires the development of an educational program targetted on ICM. It is obvious that the traditional monodisciplinary training in the field of marine sciences or management does not guarantee the sufficient level of understanding of the complex of coastal system as an integrated issue. Therefore, the most appropriate subject area code in order to define the objectives of the present proposal is 830 'Multidisciplinary studies'. A multidisciplinary education and a cross-sectoral consideration of the coastal zone are needed to achieve the goal of ICM.

     During the TEMPUS EU-COMET Project (JEP-10814-99) execution, the first and up to now the only one officially recognised in Russia 5-year degree (manager) focused on ICM was developed. The Department of Integrated Coastal Management was created at the Faculty of Oceanography of the Russian State Hydrometeorological University, St. Petersburg (RSHU). The text-books of four ICM target disciplines ("Coastal Law", "Coastal Zone Economics" "Coastal Policy" and "Integrated Coastal Management Planning Strategies"), were elaborated and published. However, during the last years new requirements to the higher education system have been put forward in the Russian Federation (RF). In accordance to the RF Ministry of Education and Science development strategy of involving RF into the Bologna process, all RF universities will have to adopt the two level degree system. The preparation of the above-mentioned text-books was an important and necessary step into the development of ICM training and education at RF. However, for the adoption of a two level system on ICM in RF the elaboration of a new curriculum as well as the corresponding teaching materials is needed.

     RSHU is the only one University in Russia that offers an officially recognised education focused on ICM. The international collaboration started by the TEMPUS EU-COMET project found a sustainable continuation and development through the establishment in 2002 of the UNESCO UNITWIN Network on "Wise coastal practices and sustainable human development WiCoP-Europe" and through participation in the ERASMUS-MUNDUS Joint Master in Coastal and Water Management. The Universities of the previous Tempus consortium (UCA,UA, RSHU) and new consortium institutions (UB,UL, UAL, EUCC) have acquired new ICM experience that could be assimilated into the educational and training process. The participation of EU Universities into the development of training and education on ICM renders a mutual benefit, as far as this process will contribute to the integration of ICM education on the European level. The co-operative elaboration of the ICM two level educational structure by all partner institutions in combination with its validation by means of student mobility will facilitate the establishment of an ICM recognition frame between EU and RF, contributing to the formation of a wider common educational space in the field of the Integrated Coastal Management. The synthesis of European wise coastal practices and educational experience and its use for the creation of the ICM two level system curriculum at RSHU will stimulate the advancement of RF towards the achievement of the Bologna process requirements in the field of ICM.

     It is worthy to notice that the problem of transforming the current RSHU ICM one level educational structure into a two level system (bachelor and master) cannot be solved by simply dividing into a 3+2 cycle. This is due to the fact that the existing curriculum and syllabus were elaborated respecting the RF educational standards for specialist-managers (one-level 5-year studies). It is necessary, therefore, the restructuration and upgrading of the ICM curriculum (including the creation and introduction of new disciplines if necessary) in order to provide the possibility of education in the ICM master level to bachelors coming from other related fields (e.g., oceanography, ecology, natural resources economy, geography). Moreover, the legal accreditation by the Ministry of Education and Science requires, among other documents, the presentation of the corresponding curriculum. In this sense, the elaboration of the proposed ICM curriculum is a necessary step for the official recognition of the adopted two-level system.

     Taking into account that RSHU is the only university in RF with official ICM education, a clear dissemination strategy is necessary in order to attract the wide spectrum of target bachelors. Besides this, the process of dissemination is considered as a necessary part of the ICM methodology leading to the sustainability of the ICM process both in Russia and EU countries. Broad dissemination will assist to the development of national strategies in EU, associated and partner countries in accordance to the aims declared in the EC recommendation 'ON INTEGRATED COASTAL ZONE MANAGEMENT: A STRATEGY FOR EUROPE' (Brussels, 27.09.2000, COM (2000) 547 final). The dissemination of the results achieved within the framework of the ICM educational facility to a broader use is an important aspect of the project proposal. The experience obtained during the EU-COMET Tempus project shows that the potentialities of traditional (paper) text-books are restricted by their limited edition and the difficulties of operative upgrading of teaching materials. The latter is important taking into account the current fast tempo of ICM development. The methodology of distant learning could be used as a tool for a wider dissemination and the involvement of relevant Universities from NIS countries into a wider common educational space in the field of the Integrated Coastal Management.

     Target groups are ICM students and teaching staff at RSHU. To a wider extent, as target might be considered bachelors from other fields relevant to ICM throughout the RF and NIS countries. Currently 135 students complete their formation in the ICM specialty. The first graduates were released in 2001. The ICM department has a developed information technology structure, and has a special classroom equipped with audiovisual facilities. The ICM department actively collaborates with the RSHU Center of Information Technologies. An example of such collaboration is the creation of the ICM department web page. The ICM department staff participates in a number of international projects and programmes (CBC-TACIS, INTERREG-IIIB, UNESCO), which testimony the experience in international collaboration and the enough level of knowledge of EU languages. Students with foreign language knowledge are often involved into the different international projects.

     In accordance with the National Educational Standard the current ICM curriculum is divided into three components: federal, regional and that formed by the subjects defined by RSHU. This last component (a maximum of 25% of total academic load) gives the corresponding University the opportunity of defining a target-oriented formation (orientation) within the standarised specialty. In our case, ICM was designed as an orientation within the specialty of 'Management', accounting a total number of 55 subjects, 23 of them established by RSHU and focused on ICM orientation. Four of these ICM-oriented subjects (Coastal Law, Coastal Policy, Economics of the Coastal Zone and Coastal Zone Planning Strategies) are considered as core subjects. However, despite of the big amount of subjects, there are not too many possibilities for students choice, being optional 5 out of 55. This is an understandable consequence of the standardized one-level system, where students are target-oriented throughout the five-year cycle. In the case of the two-level system, the gain it offers sets up the necessity of a more flexible curriculum at the master degree in order to satisfy the needs of bachelors with different backgrounds.

     Therefore, the adoption of the two-level system on ICM at RSHU requires not only the redistribution of the existing subjects, but also the upgrading of some existing and the creation of new ones.

     The ICM orientation at RSHU (curriculum development and teaching) is responsibility of the ICM department, which belongs to the Faculty of Oceanography. Also, the ICM department participates in the teaching process of the federal and regional component subjects along with other faculty departments.




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