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Home / Education in Russia / System of education in brief / Russian Educational System today /

Changes in the content of education and specialities



The reforms of higher education first touched the content of education. The changes were intended to eliminate the one-sided approach in education that existed before the 1990's: the lack of offerings in the humanities in the fields of the natural sciences and engineering, on the one hand, and the insufficient links of education in the humanities and the social and economic sciences with the scientific and technical components of contemporary culture, on the other hand. These changes, when fully completed, are expected to give rise to the training of graduates who will acquire not only high-level professional qualifications but also the ability to analyze in an integral and comprehensive way the complex problems of present-day society and the environment.

At present, two main processes are under way in regard to the content of education: fundamentalization and emphasis on human sciences. The study of the humanities and the socio-economic sciences has been considerably expanded to all specialities in engineering and the natural sciences. Their volume has doubled and now constitutes more than 20 percent of contact hours. The teaching of sociology, political science, and cultural studies has been introduced. The study of philosophy, history, law, market economics, and other disciplines has been freed from ideology and brought nearer to the achievements of science. In the humanities and the socio-economic sciences, training in the exact and the natural sciences and in technology has been strengthened. In particular, the study of the foundations of the natural sciences and of technology as well as of informatics has been introduced.

New specialities have been designed especially in the humanities and the socio-economic sciences. Higher education establishments now offer educational programmes in cultural studies, theology, political science, management, commerce, public relations, accounting, state and municipal management, marketing, and in many other fields. Many of these programmes are based on specialities that existed in earlier times, their content having been revised (for instance, the speciality, Commerce, was developed from the speciality, Merchandising), while the others have been designed anew.

Recent years have witnessed changes in the priorities of specialities. The numbers of students in the fields of economics, management, law, foreign languages, sociology, and psychology are considerably increased, whereas in the fields of engineering and technology, the numbers have declined (in the 1980's, the share of students in the latter fields exceeded 40 percent of the total number of students).

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