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15 Facts on Impending Closures of 40% of Universities in Russia

April 23rd, 2015

russia

According to a recent report by University World News Global Education, the Russian Ministry of Education and Science has announced that it will be closing a number of its universities and university branches by the end of 2016. These institutions are being shut down as part of a federal plan the Russian government has implemented for the development of education during 2016 to 2020. The government’s plan is to establish strong federal universities located in the 10 different regions in Russia.

Here are some highlights on these planned cuts:

1. At present, according to data from the Ministry, there are 593 state and 486 private institutions

2. According to date from the Ministry, the state universities have 1,376 branches and the private universities have 682.

3. Seven million students are attending state and private universities.

4. Two million of the students benefit from state-funded education which is about US$3,500 per student.

5. Number of Russian universities will be reduced by 40% by the end of 2016

6. Number of Russian university branches will be reduced by 80% by the end of 2016.

7. According to Dmitry Livanov, Russian Minister of Education and Science, the number of universities since the collapse of the USSR has increased extensively, especially in the number of private universities, as compared to the USSR period. He is quoted in the University World News Global Education as saying: “Unfortunately, the results of our monitoring showed that the quality of education provided by some of them is very poor.”

8. On March, 2016 the Ministry began conducting quality checks of the universities. Results are due on May 30, 2015.

9. Up to 100 universities will be subject to quality assessments within the new few months.

10. Majority of closures will affect private universities that have been determined to provide poor standards of education.

11. The cuts will also affect some state-owned universities.

12. Some of the closed universities, including their faculty and infrastructure, may be absorbed by other universities that are found eligible to continue their operations.

13. Faculty from the national universities have been promised by the Russian government that their salaries will not be cut and the same provision will apply to scholarships.

14. 53.5% of Russians have university degrees, yet, many Russian students, teachers and employers are dissatisfied with the quality of higher education in the country.

15. According to Education Minister Livanov, some of the institutions on the chopping block behaved as “offices for the sale of certificates that do not have an established training process and qualified teachers.”

Please stay tuned as we await the results of the Ministry’s quality checks mid to late this year.

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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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Dispatches from Paris, France

May 02, 2013

Eifell_Tower

No trip to Paris is complete without a stroll alongside the Seine to take in the sights and sounds of this charming city, paired with some café lounging and people watching, museum hopping, and in my case, exploring the City of Light by tracing Hemingway’s footsteps before he cheated on her with Spain and Cuba. It was propitious that I stayed in the Latin Quarter a stone throw away from the University of Paris I Pantheon-Sorbonne, University of Paris Faculty of Law, University of Paris Faculty of Medicine and several Institutes of Higher Education in Fine Arts, Agriculture and Engineering. Dropping into these campuses and seeing the facilities and rubbing shoulders with hip philos standing on the sidewalks taking long puffs on their Marlboros (smoking is no longer permitted inside buildings) engaged in friendly and at times heated banter, walking past outdoor cafes, sandwich stalls and gyro stands on Rue de Mouffetard where inexpensive and tasty fare satisfies the college student’s budget was the visceral experience (albeit brief) I had of the life of a French university student.

Rue Saint-Jacques
Rue Saint-Jacques and the Sorbonne in Paris

University of Paris
University of Paris, Faculty of Law

Faculty of Medicine
University of Paris, Faculty of Medicine

My meeting with Celine Ouziel, Educational Adviser with Education USA at Fulbright Franco-American Commission in Paris and Patricia Janin, head of the American Section at Fulbright proved mutually enlightening. I learned of some of the problems French students have in obtaining original sets of their academic documents, when institutions tend to issue one set and will not reissue additional official copies and the lack of a cohesive approach in the U.S. to recognizing the classes préparatoires (two-year post-secondary program required for admission to the Grandes Écoles).

Jasmine&Celine

Like most things in life, nothing is static and the French education system, once regarded as one of the best in the world, is being questioned by French academics and teachers, and in the media, especially, on the question of the “level” of the baccalauréat examination. “Many academics complain that the baccalauréat these days is given away, and that this is a major cause of the high failure rate in the first year of university.” Source: http://about-france.com/primary-secondary-schools.htm The jury is out; French Ministers and civil servants claim that this is not the case and so the debate goes on.

Despite the grumblings from the academics and French media, when it comes to getting admitted to a university in France, the baccalauréat is the gold standard. But admission to a grande école, seen as “the peak of the education pinnacle in France, relatively small and highly selective “schools” (in the American sense of the word),” is not only the baccalauréat but completion of the two-year classes préparatoires at a Lycées (which in this respect, are also a part of the French higher education system). The Grandes Écoles “provide a cosseted higher education to the nation’s future elites – tomorrow’s “haut fonctionnaires” (senior civil servants), leaders of industry, top military brass, top politicians, engineers, physicists and others.” Source: http://about-france.com/higher-education-system.htm

The debate inside France continues to pit academics and media against ministries and civil service departments. In a meeting at the Fulbright office, I attempted to dispel myths on U.S. higher education, especially our community colleges and the myriad of benefits of attending a community college before transferring to a four-year university, as well as ACEI’s credential evaluation policies concerning the baccalauréat examination and the classes préparatoires for which we recommend some advanced standing credit. Our evaluation policies, in line with decades of established national guidelines, was welcomed, though at first it was met with surprise, especially where it concerns the credit allowed for the classes préparatoires. It seems the practices of a few U.S. universities with select admissions requirements (where no credit is considered for the classes préparatoires thus underestimating the value of the Grandes Écoles degree programs) have been interpreted as being the norm on a national level by those outside the country. Given that we have over 3000 colleges and universities in the U.S., each with its unique set of admission criteria, adhering to a perspective practiced by a select few does not imply a national standard. We all agreed to continue the discussion by organizing a webchat and a visit to the Fulbright office in the near future to speak about these issues with French students wishing to study in the U.S.. To be continued…stay tuned!

Jasmin S. Kuehnert
President & CEO ACEI
www.acei1.com

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Turning Our Back On Education: Way to go America!

March 8, 2012

St. William Elementary School Olympic Week- Art & Culture Day

In a recent NYT article “Where the Jobs Are, The Training May Not Be,” Catherine Rampell reports that even though technical, engineering and health care specialists are in great demand in today’s weak job market, these fields happen to be the most expensive subjects to teach. “As a result, state colleges in Nebraska, Nevada, South Dakota, Colorado, Michigan, Florida, and Texas have eliminated entire engineering and computer science departments.” The situation is so dire that Ms. Rampell writes: “At one community college in North Carolina –a state with a severe nursing shortage—nursing program applicants so outnumber available slots that there is a waiting list just to get on the waiting list.”

Why is this happening? For the past twenty-five years, the states have withdrawn from higher education and slashed financing for colleges during and immediately after the last few recessions. And even when the economy did recover, the states never restored the money that had been cut from education and now with the current recession the problem has been amplified.

According to Ronald G. Ehrenberg, the director of the Cornell Higher Education Research Institute and a trustee of the State University of New York System: “There has been a shift from the belief that we as a nation benefit from higher education, to a belief that it’s the people receiving the education who primarily benefit and so they should foot the bill.” Really? Is this what we’ve become as a people and as a nation? So the nurse graduate who received four years of education and practices as a registered nurse is the sole beneficiary of her education? What about the patients whom she tends to and the medical centers which use her services? Don’t they too benefit? How can we be so crass as to think that all that we do is for our own benefit and has absolutely no impact or ramification on the people around us, the community, the environment, the world? How dare we operate from such an ego-centric mindset?

In fact economists have found that higher education benefits communities even more than the individual with the degree. Let’s not forget the G.I. Bill which helped bankroll the college education of Americans following the post- World War II economic boom. An educated people help the economy grow faster and foster a more stable democracy and aid the neediest workers. By cutting funds, states reduce the ability for the poor to receive an education and more training to prepare them for skilled labor. They also limit access to the field such as sciences, engineering and health care that are most important to economic and job growth.

As an educator and one who deals with domestic and international students, I am dumbfounded as to how our country turns its back on these key educational programs. President Obama speaks for keeping America on the forefront of science and engineering so that we can remain competitive with the rest of the world, yet at the same time funding is taken away from the very programs that will train and nurture future scientists, engineers and health practitioners. What does this mean? It means that US would have to recruit its scientists, engineers, nurses and doctors from overseas, diminishing the chances of US students from pursuing studies in these fields and ultimately finding gainful employment.

So the next time xenophobia kicks in, and angry fingers are pointed at skilled and educated professionals immigrating to the US who’re filling engineering and health care positions, best we take a good look in the mirror. The problem is not “them” but “us” and our collective attitude and diminished respect for education and the teaching profession.


The Frustrated Evaluator
www.acei1.com

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