One of the principles of the state policy in the sphere of education is integration of the Russian higher education system into the world of higher education system while keeping and developing achievements and traditions of the Russian Higher School. Joining Bologna process Russia has gained new impulse of modernization of the higher education system, additional possibilities for participation of Russian HEI in projects financed by EC, and for academic mobility within exchange programmes with foreign institutions.
Russia's higher education system started with the foundation of the universities in Moscow and St. Petersburg in the middle of the 18th century. The system was constructed similar to that of Germany. The history of higher education in Russia goes back to 1755 when the first University was founded in Moscow on the initiative of M.V. Lomonosov and in accordance with his plan.
Later, universities were opened in many other big cities of the country. In Soviet times all of the population in Russia had at least a secondary education. The pursuit of higher education was and still is considered to be very prestigious. More than 50% of people have a higher education.
Russia has a long-standing tradition in a high-quality education for all citizens. It probably has also one of the best mass-education systems in the world producing a literacy rate (98%) exceeding most Western European countries. Education is split into a compulsory Basic Education, and ongoing Higher Education.
The system of higher education in Russia is going though a transitional period. Russians have always shown a great concern for education. The right to education is stated in the Constitution of the Russian Federation.
The main objectives of the reform are: to decentralize the higher education system, to develop a new financial mechanism, to give more academic freedoms to faculties and students. All secondary schools, institutes and universities until recently have been funded by the state. Now there's quite a number of private fee-paying primary and secondary schools; some universities have fee-paying departments. There are four types of institutions of higher education in Russia at the present time:
1. Universities: responsible for education and research in a variety of disciplines;
2. Academies: responsible for education and research. They differ from universities only in that they restrict themselves to a single discipline;
3. Institutes: multi-discipline oriented. They can be independent structural units, or part of a university or academy;
4. Private institutions: present in increasing numbers. They offer degrees in non-engineering fields such as business, culture, sociology and religion, etc.
After finishing the 11th form of a secondary education one can go on higher education. All applicants must take competitive examinations (exams). Higher education institutions , that is, institutes or universities, offer a 5- year programme of academic subjects for students in a variety of fields as well as a postgraduate course. If one finishes a postgraduate course and write a thesis, he or she receives a candidate's degree or a doctoral degree.
The purpose of the Bologna Process (or Bologna Accords) is the creation of the European Higher Education Area by making academic degree standards and quality assurance standards more comparable and compatible (maybe competitive?) throughout Europe, in particular under the Lisbon Recognition Convention. It is named after the place it was proposed, the University of Bologna, with the signing in 1999 of the Bologna declaration by Education Ministers from 29 European countries. It was opened up to other countries signatory to the European Cultural Convention of the Council of Europe. Since the Bologna Declaration in 1999, a biannual meeting has taken place as follows: Prague 2001, Berlin 2003,Bergin 2005, London 2007,Louvain 2009. The Bologna Process has two criteria for membership:
-Ratification of the European Cultural Convention.
-A commitment to the goals and policies of the Bologna Process, confirmed in writing by the competent authorities
Russia joined the Bologna Convention on higher education. The decision to admit Russia to the association of European states for the creation of a single education space was reflected in the joint communique of the participants of the Berlin conference on Friday, September 19, 2003. This information was received on Friday, September 19, 2003, from the Chairman of the State Duma committee for Education and Science Alexander Shishlov who is now participating in a conference of education ministers of European states in Berlin. According to Shishlov, this will enable our country to join the process of international integration in higher education. (Âðåìÿ óòî÷íè- ñêîðåå was)
In addition to Russia the conference adopted a decision to admit the following states to the convention: Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Serbia and Chernogoria, Macedonia and Vatican. Today the Bologna Declaration "European Higher Education Area" will be signed by the education ministers of 40 European countries.
Higher education is provided by public and non-public (non-State) accredited higher education institutions. There are two levels of higher education:
• Basic higher education (4 years) leading to the Bakalavr's degree, the first university level degree. This is equivalent to the B.Sc. degree in the US or Western Europe
• Postgraduate higher education (5-6 years or more). After two years, students are entitled to receive a Magistr's degree. This is equivalent to a Master's Degree (M.Sc, M.A.) in the US or Western Europe. After a Master's degree, students can continue to study towards a doctoral degree: Kandidat Nauk degree (the first level, equivalent to Ph.D.) and Doktor Nauk degree (the second, highest level, equivalent to Professor).
Finally, I would like to point out the advantages and disadvantages of the Bologna Process in Russia. ( You can say pros and cons)
Disadvantages of the Bologna Process in Russia:
· Not all understand the difference between a master’s degree and a specialist with 5-year form of education.
Some students explain their lowlevel knowledge not by planning to take part in international exchanging programs and working abroad.
· Some politiciansin Russia are trying to link the transition to Bologna Process with attempts to bypass an article of the Russian Constitution which guarantees a free higher education for every citizen of the Russian Federation. But the Master's degree is not free and must be paid for. This fact is seen as a violation of the Russian Constitution
· The country should preserve its own scientific capacity.
· The dramatically changes in the structure: a credit-hour system and a modular approach.
Advantages of the Bologna Process in Russia:
· convertibility of diplomas
· career prospects,
· wider outlooks,
· small classroom load,
· more independent work
But while the international exchanges and mobility are increasing, these processes inside the country are not that active. There is only a starting point in the process of bachelor students’ admission to the master programmes at other HEIs, and there are some objective reasons for that.
«Turning to the Bologna process will allow us to move in the very culture of the educational traditions of the nineteenth century to the twenty-first century system in which everyone has the right to dispose of themselves, their time and be responsible. This is very important. »