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Russian HE - challenges and strategies


How can Russia raise its position in global university ratings?


At present Russia has solid governmental support for higher education development and the expenditures on HE have increased over the recent years. The investment in HE doubled in the years 2005-2011 at USD 14.5 billion. A further USD 2.4 billion is promised to be invested in Federal and National Research Universities in the Russia within the next 5 year period.


According to the world rankings the Russian universities are most well-known for Natural sciences faculties, the fact that is probably stipulated by soviet research quality and consistence which is still present to date.


The Russian Federation is currently striving to promote both internal and external student mobility to raise its position in international university ratings. However local mobility faces certain challenges like regional inequality or lack of English language skills. Some scientists believe that Russia should reduce the visa and procedural difficulties for foreign students coming to study in Russia and consider their demographics.


In accordance with recent research only 15 countries account for sending 44% of the world’s internationally mobile students, with the major being China, India, South Korea and Germany. The Russian Federation should focus on attracting more students from China, South Korea and Germany as right now their number remains relatively low.


As for the academic staff mobility in Russian universities it may be said that there are 2 main hindrances for external mobility: the lack of a real English language environment in Russian universities and the financial constraints, as well as issues pertaining to procedures and visa.


In frame of implementing new HE reforms and developing universities compatibility, Russia should also focus on giving young researchers more room and career opportunities preventing the Brain Drain to the west, as well as direct a good majority of the state funding in research in higher academic institutions.


All things considered the current focus on the increased federal investment in the Russian HE system specifically targeted towards University Rankings can serve as an effective method to bring improvements in some of the core issues facing the Russian Higher Education.


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