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Problems of Higher Education in Russia

Topics: Academic degree, Higher education, Education, University / Pages: 3 (526 words) / Published: Oct 28th, 2012
Problems of higher education in Russia

Problems of higher education in Russia Due to its Soviet legacy (наследие), Russia has gained a reputation for having a well trained population and efficient educational system. The facts on the ground are obviously more ambiguous, however. The veritable “boom” of higher education and the good results of some well-known universities hide the more general fall of average performances and the devaluation of diplomas and deterioration of the quality of higher education. Efforts to reform the system are meeting both structural constraints and corruption practices within the educational community. This makes a genuine assessment of Russian degrees difficult to achieve. In addition, the “privatization” of large sections of the education system has rendered the problem of inequality of access even more acute.

Russia is in the process of migrating from its traditional tertiary education model, incompatible with existing Western academic degrees, to a modernized degree structure in line with Bologna Process model. (Russia co-signed the Bologna Declaration in 2003.) In October 2007 Russia enacted a law that replaces the traditional five-year model of education with a two-tiered approach: a four-year bachelor (Russian: бакалавр) degree followed by a two-year master's (Russian: магистр) degree.

The move has been criticized for its merely formal approach: instead of reshaping their curriculum, universities would simply insert a BSc/BA accreditation in the middle of their standard five or six-year programs. The job market is generally unaware of the change and critics predict that a stand-alone BSc/BA diplomas will not be recognized as "real" university education in the foreseeable future, rendering the degree unnecessary and undesirable without further specialization.

Student mobility among universities has been traditionally discouraged and thus kept at very low level; there are no signs that formal acceptance of Bologna process will help students seeking better education. Finally, while the five-year specialist training was previously free to all students, the new MSc/MA stage is not. The shift forces students to pay for what was free to the previous class; the cost is unavoidable because the BSc/BA degree alone is considered useless. Defenders of Bologna process argue that the final years of the specialist program were formal and useless: academic schedules were relaxed and undemanding, allowing students to work elsewhere. Cutting the five-year specialist program to a four-year BSc/BA will not decrease the actual academic content of most of these programs.

Problems of Higher education in the USA

Universities are criticized that they use SATs results while admitting students. In defense of using the examinations as criteria for admission, administrators say that the SATs provide a fair way for deciding whom to admit when they have ten or twelve applicants for every first-year student seat.

The cost of higher education have grown too far and too fast, and that financial aid often does not end up in the hands of the truly needy students.

Too many high school students are under-prepared for college; consequently, they fail to thrive and are less likely to learn the skills they need to get good jobs and lead quality lives.

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