Will Russian diplomas be recognized abroad?

Russia abandoned the Bologna system and is developing its own higher education system. According to the Minister of Higher Education and Sciences Valery Falkov, it will be launched in 2023. The question is: will Russian diplomas be recognized abroad?

In my opinion, the issue does not relate directly to education. If we’re talking about recognition of graduates in certain directions, that exists even now – according to  specific specialties where there is powerful scientific groundwork, as well as related to those sectors of the economy where successes are visible at the international level. The most striking example is, of course, the IT sphere. That is, if we are talking about the demand for graduates, we need to talk about competitiveness of individual industries on a global scale. And a recipe to any graduate how to become highly attractive for foreign employers on the sole fact of having a diploma of Russian university, does not exist in principle.

For example, in many areas of professional activity there exists both own national specificity, and the system of industry qualification standards. And if we talk about humanitarian specialties, then in the West there has long been a noticeable overproduction of its own graduates in this area. So here I would answer this way: the more they recognize Russia, the more they will recognize Russian diplomas.

USA, Western European countries and Australia are implementing their own education systems, and diplomas of their universities are recognized around the world. We mean the large inbound flow of students from other countries. But you need understand that a student who goes to study abroad is unfamiliar with the finer points of the system. Reputational component plays a big role here, and not only in part of individual universities with centuries of history and a large number of outstanding graduates, but also considering the image of these countries as economically successful. Facing the fact that this success in the near future will undergo a very serious stress test, it will be interesting to see how this affects Western education systems.

If we talk about other large countries that invested seriously in education in recent decades, then primarily it’s India and China. There, the main task proclaimed is to provide their own economy with highly qualified personnel, and the attractiveness of the system for foreign students is far from the first proority. In other words, a recognized education system is one that provides competitiveness of own economy due to personnel training, as well as R&D. In this regard, the principles of the new Russian educational system are just aimed at solving this problem.

It is still difficult to say what the updated education system will be in Russia. On parliamentary hearings in June following principles were declared: focus on the development of the country, openness to cooperation, fundamentality, flexibility and practicality. The principles are very correct, but, in my opinion, they are nothing new.

In terms of goal-setting, these principles were base for a state educational policy in general, as well as for individual support programs for universities since the year 2000 (national research universities, Project 5-100, supporting universities, from the new ones : Priority-2030 program and federal project “Advanced engineering schools “). What can be expected definitely is a reverse transition to specialist programme in many areas of education. Otherwise, based on public discussions on the new education system, nothing is clear, so it is worth waiting for the public to present the results of the work of expert groups formed by the Ministry of Education and Science of Russia.

At the same time, we must understand that education is quite conservative sphere, and the transition to a new state will not be simultaneous, but effects from decisions made and the obvious declared   advantages will not be manifested in a year or two, but over a longer distance.

Anton Stativka, Deputy Vice-Rector for Research Activities at Synergy University

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