The book is a result of the first ever study of the transformations of the higher education institutional landscape in fifteen former USSR countries after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. It explores how the single Soviet model that developed across the vast and diverse territory of the Soviet Union over several decades has evolved into fifteen unique national systems, systems that have responded to national and global developments while still bearing some traces of the past. The book is distinctive as it presents a comprehensive analysis of the reforms and transformations in the region in the last 25 years; and it focuses on institutional landscape through the evolution of the institutional types established and developed in Pre-Soviet, Soviet and Post-Soviet time. It also embraces all fifteen countries of the former USSR, and provides a comparative analysis of transformations of institutional landscape across Post-Soviet systems. It will be highly relevant for students and researchers in the fields of higher education and and sociology, particularly those with an interest in historical and comparative studies.
Contemporary compulsory schooling emerged in the nineteenth century for the needs of an industrial age. Compulsory schooling has always relied on the Panoptic schema described by Michel Foucault. In recent decades, the development of surveillance technologies has made Panoptic schemas in schools even stronger. Information technology and the transition to an information society has significantly undermined schools' power structures. Teachers no longer possess a monopoly on knowledge. Students have learned to escape the teachers' gaze and can lead virtual lives through their own smartphones inside and outside formal educational settings. One form of modern peer-to-peer interaction takes place on social networking websites that give users the option to be 'hidden', 'passive' or 'inactive' if they wish. To examine the influence of social networking on education we rely on the Foucault's Panopticon theory. Whilst the traditional Panoptic regime may be crumbling, the social network phenomenon can transform modern learning environments for productive educational engagement. Foucault's framework does not take into account the social networks phenomenon. Therefore, empirical evidence is required to articulate the nuances of the modern-day Panopticon. In this chapter we use interviews with teachers to illustrate the reflection of Panoptic logics and practices onto the social networks in classrooms. We explore the possibility for developing dialogically based and student-led pedagogies through social networking websites. 'I do not know how I should communicate with students online, when they write me a private message and call me by my first name. Should I play by their rules on this space? Or, do I need to use the constructs from school?
This article investigates the current state of faculty research activity within Tajik higher education institutions (HEIs), where the level of research productivity has substantially decreased in the past three decades. As part of a larger ethnographic study on professional lives of Tajik faculty members, we investigated and found enormous challenges to conducting research and becoming active researchers reported by our respondents. We analyze and discuss how such issues may challenge the development of higher education in the country.
This paper applies a comparative approach to analyze several dimensions of ‘Global Sociology’ from a normative stance based on a critical review of related discourses in sociological communities. The author reveals three major problems in intra-disciplinary, inter-disciplinary and extra-academic dimensions, manifested not only in ‘factual’ (objective) characteristics but also in ‘ideological’ visions typical of academic communities and connected with a negative stance towards global neoliberalism and its various agents: first, rigid vertical stratification of the international academic field, primarily, in terms of academic publishing and working conditions; second, negative tendencies in the status positions of sociology compared to other sciences, especially economics; and third, little cooperation with policy-makers and corporate practitioners combined with an orientation to supporting various discriminated groups against dominating powers associated with neoliberalism.
Despite the differences in political, social, economic, and cultural histories, Brazil, Russia, India, and China share the common characteristics. The BRIC countries are very large in terms of population, territory, and economy. Each country has great economic and political influence in the regions, as well as dominance in education sphere (Altbach et al. 2013). They are emerging markets as their economies have been rapidly growing for the last decades while remaining lower middle income or upper middle income countries (World Bank 2016). The experience of these countries is critical for understanding the higher education system dynamics in large countries with limited resources.
The Republic of Moldova has a long history of shifting borders, and a short history as an independent state. Higher education only expanded during the Soviet era, which saw 9 public higher education institutions come into existence between 1926 and 1988. On the one hand, ample state funding for higher education allowed an unprecedented growth in access to higher education, a well-developed technical and material base, and internationally comparable educational standards. On the other hand, high level of centralization of the Soviet educational system made it static and unable to adequately respond to the changing needs of a dynamic labor market. Strict educational centralization led to bureaucratization of management, authoritarianism, excessive uniformity, lack of understanding of local conditions, stifling of ‘bottom-up’ initiative, and lack of academic mobility. At the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union, participation in higher education was still the third lowest among all Soviet republics.
Russia (Russian Federation) has the largest territory in the world and extends over 11 time zones. As a federal state, Russia has 85 regions. Over 146 million people (FSSS 2016) are unevenly distributed throughout the country. About 77% of the population lives in the more urbanized European part of the country, whereas the Asian part of the country occupies more than 76% of the total area. The youth population is declining. Although there are around 180 different ethnic groups in Russia, most of the populations (78%) are ethnic Russians (Statdata 2017).
The Russian economy is based heavily on natural resources. As of 2015, it was the 13th largest economy in the world by nominal GDP (World Bank 2017a) and the sixth largest by purchasing power parity (World Bank 2017b).
The Constitution of the Russian Federation guarantees the right to free higher education on a competitive basis for those obtaining it for the first time. General and vocational education is free and available to all.
The social and economic landscape has been rapidly changing in Russia during the last quarter of a century. After the collapse of the USSR in 1991, Russia experienced many changes, including: • The movement to an electoral democracy and a market economy • The rejection of a planned human resources policy relating to the main economic sectors • The decline or elimination of a number of key industries (OECD 2007)
Argues that explaining national declines in test scores is as important as explaining increases.
Interviews with Australian experts on reasons for Australia’s large decline in PISA scores.
Uses microdata from PISA and TIMSS scores to test expert explanations for decline.
Finds that decline is pervasive across Australian states and social class groups.
Finds that there is no clear explanation for the large decrease in Australia’s PISA scores.
De Groof J. and Willems K., Law and Higher Education in the Flemish Community, in Cheol Shin J. and Nuno Teixeira P. (eds.), Encyclopedia of International Higher Education Systems and Institutions, Springer, 2017. (Forthcoming).
Educational reforms is often aimed at building social cohesion or aligning one part of an education system with another. School curriculum reform is one possible way for disseminating what society would like to be taught in every school in a country. However, merely the introduction of reforms is not enough if they would not come true in schools’ day-to-day process. On a country level, the data on what is taking place in schools are usually difficult to relate with what was proposed by the reforms, especially with attainment. Using a natural experiment situation, this chapter describes the process of curriculum reform in Russian-medium schools in Latvia and Estonia. The research question focuses on whether those curriculum reforms were successful from the perspective of schools interiorization of new curriculum and PISA performance improvement. Using the three-layered curriculum (intended, implemented, and attained curriculum) approach, this study analyses how the intentions from the laws and other reform-related documents were implemented in everyday school practice and are reflected in attained educational results. For addressing this issue, a series of in-depth interviews in Russian-medium schools, in conjunction with the PISA 2003-2012 trends analysis, were conducted. The results showed that intended and attained curricula have become closer in both countries. Schools actively implement proposed teaching, and PISA performance has been constantly increasing, showing that the attained curriculum is approaching what it is intended to be, though this process is different in the two countries.
In this chapter we explore the higher education institutional landscape taking the case of the largest post-Soviet higher education system: Russia. In the Post-Soviet period, Russian higher education has tremendously expanded. The dramatic growth of the number of students and institutions has been facilitated by the introduction of tuition fees in public and a new private sector. The shifts in social and economic demand for professional fields affected the disciplinary and organisational structure of higher educational institutions.
The external forces (economic, political, social conditions) and higher education policy have been changing during the last decades. In the first part of transitional period, the state provided limited regulation of the higher education system. In the 2000s, it has returned to its role of the main agent of change of the higher education system design. The diversity of institutional types that evolved in Russian higher education illustrate the consequences of massification and marketization, such as new “broad access” segments and institutional programme drift. Also, the governmental role in shaping institutional diversity can been seen through attempts to increase vertical diversity (excellence initiatives), on the one hand, and to restrain it by closing down bottom tier institutions, on the other.
Background: Variety of preschools is one of the predominant issues of contemporary early education in Russia. The traditional approach focuses on the transmission of knowledge, patterns of social behavior, and assumes teacher-centered interaction between child and teacher. The developmental approach focuses on developing abilities and using cultural tools, rather than just transmitting educational content. A comparison of different preschool approaches and outcomes may help in choosing the most suitable one for each child.
Objective: The aim of this study is to identify the connection between approaches in preschool and children’s school readiness.
Our hypothesis is that the traditional approach and the developmental approach provide different school readiness outcomes.
Design: Ninety-two preschool students (51 boys and 41 girls) aged six to seven were involved in this study. These children attended preschools located in the western and southwestern districts of Moscow. Six preschool psychologists and teachers were also interviewed. Research was conducted between 2011 and 2013.
Results: An empirical study proved that most children receive a high level of cognitive readiness components, can interact with peers successfully, and control aggressive manifestations. Meanwhile, preschoolers have difficulties with cooperative relations with their teacher and expressing their opinion.
A comparison of school readiness outcomes of the traditional and developmental approaches showed that children who attended a preschool with the developmental approach demonstrate higher level of personal school readiness: they are able to ask for help and assistance, to coordinate creative intent with peers, and to empathize with them. Their level of self-consciousness is higher than their peers educated under the traditional approach. Also, they demonstrate a higher level of voluntary readiness for school. Meanwhile, children who attended preschools with the traditional approach demonstrated higher level of verbal-logical reasoning.
Conclusions: The traditional and developmental approaches both provide some components of children’s school readiness. However, the developmental preschool approach has higher outcomes because of fostering children’s initiative, an equal teacher-child relationship, and taking into account children’s individual characteristics.
In this paper, we analyze how the existence of alternative pathways to higher education, which imply different selection mechanisms, shapes social inequality in educational attainment. For this purpose, we focus on the Russian educational system, where higher education can be accessed from both academic and vocational tracks but the rules of admission in higher education from these tracks are different. Access through the academic track is highly selective due to obligatory central matriculation exams, which determine eligibility to higher education. In turn, the vocational track is generally less selective with regard to student intake and allows less restrictive access to higher education. We argue that this system has nuanced implications for social inequality. On the one hand, transitions from vocational education to higher education can promote greater social mobility by offering an affordable and risk-safe gateway to higher education for children from less advantaged families. On the other hand, they can empower more advantaged families in their ability to warrant access to higher education to their children, especially if these children face a high risk of failure in the more selective academic track. We test this conjecture and provide supportive evidence using data from the longitudinal survey Trajectories in Education and Careers.
De Groof J. and Willems K., Systems and Institutions, in Cheol Shin J. and Nuno Teixeira P. (eds.), Encyclopedia of International Higher Education Systems and Institutions, Springer, 2017. (Forthcoming).
The family investment model provides a powerful perspective for understanding the processes underlying relations between parents’ SES and children’s achievement. The extant research on the role of parental investments has largely built on U.S. studies. The present work extended this line of investigation to a novel context by testing family investments as a proximal link between SES and child outcomes in Russia. The study focused on predictors of literacy skills in children entering primary school. It examined the pathways from parental education, income and beliefs to children’s literacy skills through family investments: resources available at home, joint parent-child literacy activities and access to outside-home resources and activities. As hypothesized, these investments mediated the relation of parental income and education to child literacy, with education being more strongly related to child outcomes than income. Beliefs about the importance of developing literacy skills prior to school were found to be independent of SES and linked to child outcomes through the same sorts of family investments as SES. The findings show the robustness of the family investment model across diverse contexts and advance our understanding of the model by incorporating parental beliefs in its current framework.