Institute of Education

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IOE Researchers Contribute to Encyclopedia of International Higher Education Systems and Institutions

IOE experts Isak Froumin and Farida Zagirova have recently contributed a chapter on the modern system of higher education in Russia to Encyclopedia of International Higher Education Systems and Institutions, edited by Jung Cheol Shin and Pedro Teixeira.

The chapter gives a multi-perspective outline of the way Russian higher education has evolved from the Soviet industry-specialized ‘manpower production machine,’ a branch of the country’s centrally planned economy, into its present-day state.

The modern period of Russian higher education is discussed from the standpoint of three major development stages as reflected in organic market transformations, state-propelled initiatives, changes and upgrades at the institutional level, and other evolutionary processes reverberating Russia’s actively reshaping socioeconomic environment and the global context.

The authors start by providing a snapshot of the Russian higher education landscape at the end of the Soviet era, and then move on to the 1990s, a time when the onset of the market economy put Russian universities into a completely new and highly challenging environment amidst the cessation of centralized planning and state control, acute resource scarcity, and rapidly antiquating administration models. Except for the adoption of the Law on Education and a set of educational standards, the Russian government otherwise kept a neutral position in shaping the national university sector at that stage, with the market witnessing a surge in demand for relevant university degrees that prompted the emergence of private educational institutions and fueled the expansion in the university sector at large.

What followed in 2000–2012 was a period of the Russian government’s increased focus on the national university landscape, this reflected in a series of initiatives and measures to empower a cohesive development momentum for higher education in line with both domestic needs and international standards. In covering this historical stage, the narrative addresses such important factors as unification of the university entrance system, joining the Bologna process and introduction of the Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, deploying programs to support university development roadmaps, enhanced quality assurance through new educational standards and state accreditation for educational programs, etc.

Finally, the post-2012 stage of the latest modernity marked further strengthening of state regulation in the Russian higher education space, as necessitated by the imperatives of better facing up to global educational competitiveness challenges and encouraging incentives to drive industrial upgrades and innovative socioeconomic growth. The adoption of the new Law on Education in 2012 heralded another phase of modernization measures, including, among others, introduction of a nation-wide KPI-based university performance monitoring framework, multi-stakeholder resource pooling and establishing a number of ‘Federal Universities’ through regional HEI mergers, launching a Russian academic excellence initiative (the ‘5–100 Project’), developing online education, etc.

Throughout the chapter, narrative is supported by various visual aids covering key sectoral metrics, such as dynamics in HEI and student numbers, HEI classification by status and program mix, graduate numbers by field of study, funding profiles, faculty & staff breakdowns, etc.

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