What Will Be the First Steps Towards Reforming the National Higher Education System?

23 May 2023

In St. Petersburg Mining University held a meeting of heads of universities of the Nedra Consortium. The meeting was attended by Valery Falkov, Minister of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation, as well as representatives of the State Duma and the Russian Federation Council. The participants discussed the first steps in the withdrawal from the Bologna process and the reformation of national higher education.

“Our economy is industrialized, it needs the integration of scientific and engineering knowledge. Adapt graduates to the needs of the labour market is possible by means of transition to the training of specialists with higher education for 5-6 years, followed by the defense of the diploma project and obtaining the qualification of "Engineer". In order to practically consolidate professional knowledge and skills after the first three years of work, employees must undergo special certification, on the basis of which they will be given the qualification of "professional engineer" and issued the appropriate certificate”, – emphasized Vladimir Litvinenko.

Representatives of the Nedra Consortium, who take part in the public discussion about the future of higher education, also support the idea that training of engineers should take at least 5-6 years. This will be a significant step toward improving the quality of technical education.

“Another essential condition is an internship of at least six months instead of the current 2-3 weeks. In addition to that, there should be unified educational standards, which would provide classes in specialized disciplines in the 5th-6th year of study”, – Alexei Demidov, Rector of the Saint Petersburg State University of Industrial Technologies and Design, listed the main proposals of the university community.

Valery Falkov, Minister of Science and Higher Education, expressed confidence that the desire of the meeting participants to consolidate efforts and develop a unified opinion based on the best initiatives is the key to the success of the coming reform. He also suggested a detailed discussion at the next meeting of the Nedra Consortium on high school and college communication, as well as the creation of working groups to explore associated issues.

“Today reorganization of higher engineering education should be considered as one of the most important tasks of accelerated socio-economic development of the state. It is necessary to reconsider the method, terms and content of training technical personnel to make them qualitatively correlate with each other. It is important to stop opposing the Specialty and Bachelor's Degree to the flexibility of training terms in the form of basic education. At the same time, the educational process must maintain a balance between fundamentality and applicability of knowledge in conditions of changing tasks in the labor market”, – Valery Falkov stated.

“Russia has great potential to realize its unique natural and intellectual capital, because in Soviet times our scientists were the first in various fields of scientific knowledge: space exploration, the use of the peaceful nuclear energy, and so on. They managed to make our country a highly developed, self-sufficient power, and now all conditions exist to raise a new generation of talented, highly qualified researchers and engineers on this foundation”, – Vladimir Litvinenko summarized the meeting.

In his opinion, one of the steps in this direction should be a gradual reduction in the number of budget places in universities by 2-3 times. The saved funds should be directed to state educational grants. This will help to support the most motivated young people to work in the real economy and create a basis for the quality growth of the personnel reserve.

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