Isak Froumin1, Maria Dobryakova1
  • 1 National Research University Higher School of Economics, 20 Myasnitskaya Str., Moscow, 101000, Russian Federation

What makes Russian universities change: disengagement compact

2012. No. 2. P. 159–191 [issue contents]

Isak Froumin, D.Sc. in Pedagogy, Professor, Director of Research and Development at the Institute for Educational Studies, National Research University —Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russian Federation. Email: ifroumin@hse.ru

Maria Dobryakova, Ph.D. in Sociology, Head of the Design and Learning Laboratory ‘Development of Universities’, National Research University —Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russian Federation. Email: mdobryakova@hse.ru 

The paper reviews changes in Russian higher engineering education over the last decade. Four target groups are investigated to determine drivers of internal transformations in universities in response to fundamental changes from the outside. These groups are: university administrators, students, graduates, and employers.

An analysis of empirical data has revealed that in general, stakeholders positively assess the quality of education in Russian universities. The only unsatisfied group is employers who are not happy with the level of graduates applying for job as they lack specific knowledge and practical skills. Sociological questionnaires conducted over the last fifteen years have proved that employers are consistently unsatisfied with the quality of higher vocational education. An analysis of final year students’ self-assessment has evidenced that they lack desperately competencies required for a successful career in today’s economy. As the authors suggest, academic experience of students does not include learning activities that help develop such competencies.

Sticking to the idea of engagement and the theory of concerned students, the authors argue that most Russian universities interact with students through an unspoken “disengagement compact”, where each party accepts the existing situation as the most comfortable one and refuses to change anything. The authors identify factors of poor engagement into the educational process and dig into the history to explain stagnation where all internal players are interested in preserving everything as is. Prospects of further research into institutional development of Russian universities are discussed. 

Citation: Froumin I., Dobryakova M. (2012) Chto zastavlyaet menyat'sya rossiyskie vuzy: dogovor o nevovlechennosti [What makes Russian universities change: disengagement compact]. Voprosy obrazovaniya / Educational Studies Moscow, no2, pp. 159-191.