Education in Russia /
Admission and teaching of overseas students in educational establishments of Russia /
Recognition and equivalence of documents of education and scientific degrees /
Dr. Oleg KOUPTSOV
The changes taking place in the Russian Federation, in its transition period, have affected all segments of society, including education. The Law on Education, adopted in 1991, a result of the reform process that is under way in the Russian Federation, has introduced multiple changes that are in the process of being implemented. The main principles of this reform process are diversification and decentralization of education, both of which have brought about the establishment of new education institutions, including private ones, changes in curricula, and the introduction of new degree levels.
Representatives of the Russian Federation have, on numerous occasions and by means of CEPES surveys and inventories, expressed their dissatisfaction with the level given to Russian qualifications in certain European countries. Russians have generally felt that their qualifications were undervalued as a result of inadequate knowledge and lack of appropriate information on the contents and scope of education offered in the Russian Federation. The Russian Federation, on several occasions, approached UNESCO and CEPES for co-operation activities in the field of higher education.
On the other hand, the existing differences between systems of education, admission procedures, duration of secondary education, contents, curricula, and degrees in higher education have often created problems for credential evaluators and admission officers in determining the appropriate levels of recognition of Russian qualifications and access levels in higher education institutions. Thus mobility and international academic as well as professional co-operation were hampered. Accurate and updated knowledge of the Russian educational system was clearly needed.
For these reasons, a proposal was made in the framework of the ENIC network to establish a Working Group on the mutual recognition of qualifications delivered in the Russian Federation and in the other European countries. The objectives of the Working Group were to propose recommendations (guidelines) for the recognition of Russian qualifications in the other European countries and the recognition of qualifications earned in the other European countries in the Russian Federation, thus facilitating the mobility of students and persons having professional qualifications as well as academic and professional co-operation between the Russian Federation and the other European countries. To facilitate the assessment of Russian qualifications, it was considered useful to produce a description of the Russian educational system.
The Working Group was established (Annex I), approved by the ENIC meeting in Ljubljana (June 1995), with the UNESCO Office in Bucharest (CEPES) assuring its Secretariat. Ms. Stamenka Uvalic-Trumbic, Programme Specialist, co-ordinated the activities of the Working Group in her capacity as Co-secretary of the Council of Europe/UNESCO ENIC network. The Working Group met three times: in the Hague, the Netherlands, 22-23 November 1995; in Moscow, the Russian Federation, 18-22 May 1996; and in Jerusalem, Israel, 7-10 October 1996. The Working Group analyzed problems encountered in the process of the recognition of qualifications between the Russian Federation and the other European countries based on replies to a questionnaire circulated to members of the ENIC network; elaborated guidelines on the recognition of qualifications from the other European countries in the Russian Federation and of Russian qualifications in the other European countries; and produced a description of the Russian educational system.
It is necessary to underline that this particular Working Group demonstrated the richness and the diversity of European co-operation from a geographical, cultural, and educational point of view. The divergent views, that were expressed at the beginning, gradually evolved into the consensus reached in regard to the guidelines during the last meeting in Jerusalem. The members of the Working Group were satisfied with the results achieved, as valuable tools for their work in the field of recognition. Taking into account the practical importance of this outcome, as a contribution to promoting recognition practices in Europe, they proposed to continue this kind of work for the other CIS countries (former republics of the Soviet Union).
This publication consists of two parts: Guidelines for the Recognition of Qualifications from the other European Countries in the Russian Federation and of Russian Qualifications in the other European Countries (Part One) and the Description of the Russian Educational System (Part Two). The Guidelines, as proposed by the Working Group, will be submitted to the ENIC annual Meeting in Helsinki, Finland, from 8-11 June 1997, for final approval and further distribution and implementation.
The preparation of the Description began with the first draft written by Mr. Jindra Divis and Dr. Günter Reuhl using the Model Outline developed by the NAFSA/EAIE for the description of foreign educational systems. Each draft description was discussed at the meetings of the Working Group and, after the comments and remarks made by the participants had been taken into account, was revised on the basis of information provided by Dr. Yuri Akimov and Professor Valery Galaktionov. The revision of all the draft descriptions and the final editing were undertaken by Dr. Oleg Kouptsov. In order to help readers orient themselves in the Description, key words are presented in bold. The Description can thus serve as a kind of directory of the Russian system of education.
It is hoped that the Guidelines and the Description will assist credential evaluators and admission officers in Europe and elsewhere and facilitate their task. Both will also be helpful for policy- and decision-makers, for educational administrators, for university professors and students, and for others who must deal with recognition matters.
CEPES would like to thank all the members of the Working Group for their contribution, expertise, and assistance in the formulation of the Guidelines and the revision of the Description. Special acknowledgements are due to the President of the Working Group, Mr. Jindra Divis, and to NUFFIC for hosting the first meeting; to Dr. Yuri Akimov, Professor Valery Galaktionov, and to the State Committee for Higher Education of the Russian Federation that hosted the second meeting and provided CEPES with specimen copies of Russian credentials; and to Nira Gur-Arieh, who, in addition to being a very competent expert, was declared a very special hostess, and to the Ministry of Education, Culture, and Sport of Israel that hosted the third meeting in Jerusalem. Gratitude is also owed to the Council of Europe, particularly to Mr. Sjur Bergan, whose constructive co-operation represented a valuable asset to this Working Group.
I would also like to express my sincere thanks to Dr. Leland C. Barrows (CEPES) for his linguistic editing and to Ms. Viorica Popa (CEPES) for her skills in the art of text layout.
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