Higher Educational Establishments Have Two or Three Weeks to ‘Defend Their Honor’

The Russian Federation has completed a second round of monitoring the performance level of higher educational establishments; its results have revealed that the licensing and accreditation procedures are applied inadequately, if at all.

The first round took place in 2012 and caused a big scandal, because the list of inefficiently performing establishments was found to contain such well-known names as the Moscow Institute of Architecture (State Academy), the Moscow Aviation Institute (State University of Aerospace Technologies), and Russian State University for the Humanities. So, the RF Ministry of Education and Science had to explain that if certain higher educational establishments had been identified as ‘displaying signs of ineffectiveness’, this did not really mean that they had been inefficient, and then ‘manually’ adjusted the results of the monitoring.

The 2013 monitoring encompassed non-state higher educational establishments. On the basis of data obtained in the course of monitoring, the RF Ministry of Education and Science determined those higher educational establishments that displayed ‘signs of ineffectiveness’: among these, there were 18.4% of core higher educational establishments and 20.4% affiliated ones. Among non-state higher educational establishments, ‘signs of ineffectiveness’ were displayed by more than 35% entities, while among state-funded higher educational establishments such signs were displayed by 7.5% entities.

In Moscow, a total of 227 core higher educational establishments and 7 affiliations took part in the monitoring. As a result, in Moscow, the following five state-funded higher educational establishments with ‘signs of ineffectiveness’ were identified: the Russian Academy of Justice, the  State Academy of Slavic Culture, the Moscow State Humanities and Economics Institute, the Russian State University of Innovative Technologies and Entrepreneurship, and the Moscow Institute of Open Education.

In St. Petersburg, ‘signs of ineffectiveness’ were found only in 2 state-funded higher educational establishments – the St. Petersburg State Technological University of Plant Polymers and the St. Petersburg State Institute of Psychology and Social Work, and also in 10 non-state higher educational establishments, while 14 higher educational establishments failed to submit relevant information to the RF Ministry of Education and Science.

In Moscow Oblast, four non-state higher educational establishments were found to have ‘signs of ineffectiveness’;  these signs were also displayed by 24 affiliations, among which there were four affiliated state-funded higher educational establishments. In Leningrad Oblast, no state-funded core higher educational establishments with ‘signs of ineffectiveness’ were found, but these signs were displayed by nine affiliations, which included four affiliated state-funded higher educational establishments.

This year, a total of 1,054 core and affiliated higher educational establishments took part in the performance monitoring, including 480 non-state higher educational establishments. No information for the monitoring was submitted by 108 higher educational establishments, and 14 higher educational establishments provided no explanations for discrepancies in their submitted data.

Over the period between 18 and 23 November 2013, in the framework of the second phase of the performance monitoring of higher educational establishments, the task forces set up under the Interdepartmental Commission for the Assessment of Effectiveness of Educational Organizations in the Sphere of Higher Education held their meetings. These task forces included representatives of the bodies of executive authority of subjects of the Russian Federation, Plenipotentiary Representatives of the President of the Russian Federation, representatives of the Association of Russia’s Leading Universities, the Regional Unions of Rectors, the Association of Russia’s Non-state Higher Educational Establishments, the Federal Service for Supervision in the Sphere of Science and Education (Rosobrnadzor), and experts in the field of education.

The task forces considered the submitted materials for 38 state-funded higher educational establishments, 123 non-state, and 254 affiliated higher educational establishments. On the basis of their conclusions, the proposals for the December meeting of the Interdepartmental Commission for Assessing the Effectiveness of Educational Organizations in the Sphere of Higher Education are to be prepared, for the Commission’s final decisions.

The RF Ministry of Education and Science explained as follows: ‘By the results of the Interdepartmental Commission’s meeting, higher educational establishments or their affiliations may be recognized to be ineffective, or it may be recommended to them that they should elaborate and implement their activity optimization programs. Some of the higher educational establishments or affiliations with markedly specific orientation of their activity may be excluded from the group of higher educational establishments with signs of ineffectiveness’.

Thus, those higher educational establishments and their affiliations that have found themselves on the lists of institutions with ‘signs of ineffectiveness’ will be given two or three weeks to challenge this verdict and to ‘defend their honor’ – and, most likely, they will indeed take advantage of that opportunity. One may only guess as to what kind of mechanisms will be applied in such a ‘defense’.

T.L. Klyachko – Director, Center for Continuing Education Economics, RANEPA