Revising Russian education

| November 12, 2012 | 0 Comments

In late July 2012, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev approved and sent on to the State Duma the most controversial education bill in the country’s recent history.

Expected to be signed into law by December, the bill is government’s attempt to modernise Russia’s education systems. These moves are largely underpinned by the government’s desire to see Russia on some prominent university ranking lists.

The bill has been welcomed by those who like the idea of online and joint teaching and learning programmes between institutions, two other main elements in the bill. However, there are those who say that it should also have ensured an increase in teachers’ salaries, and done away with the unpopular Unified State Exam, the common university entrance exam. Critics also don’t approve of the move to allow schoolchildren to drop subjects in Grade 9, or the plan to reduce the number of applicants accepted into university.

Over the last two decades, Russian tertiary education has been beset by falling student numbers, corruption, low wages and resulting brain drain and proscriptive central management. Russia spends less on education than the European average and considerably less than its BRIC peers Brazil, India and China.

Russia’s reputation as a close-minded and secretive state will hamper its efforts to create an open and competitive education system and economy, said Dmitry Livanov, a lecturer at the New Economic School in Moscow.

Government disagrees, having just completed and unveiled the new US$2 billion Far Eastern Federal University on Russky Island, near Vladivostok, Manchuria and the Sea of Japan. It’s described as a windswept outpost where the winter temperature can drop to minus 49 degrees.

Category: Summer 2012

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