What happens with Russian mathematics in terms of metric parameters? Where do Russian mathematicians work, where do they publish, how well are they cited?
Technology, greed, a lack of clear rules and norms, hypercompetitiveness, and a certain amount of corruption have resulted in confusion and anarchy in the world of scientific communication. Not too long ago, scientific publication was largely in the hands of university publishers and nonprofit scientific societies, most of which were controlled by the academic community. Academic conferences were sponsored by universities or disciplinary organizations of academics and scientists. Most of this was done on a nonprofit basis and largely controlled by small groups of respected professors at the main research universities, largely in North America and Western Europe. It was all quite “gentlemanly” controlled by a male-dominated scientific elite.
Every university which exists in an environment where English is not the first language is going to encounter obstacles in communicating with its international students. While developing towards a polylingual solution might seem preferable, in reality universities choose a less costly decision — English in addition to the local language(s), since it is the de facto lingua franca of international education.
Nonetheless, specific challenges and ways to address international students greatly depend on how widespread the knowledge of English is in the country and university environment. For example, the Netherlands and Sweden have many natural opportunities for universities to recruit people who will not experience the language barrier with international students. However, many other countries, including Russia, have very different starting conditions: according to the 2010 census, only 5.3% of the Russian population indicated knowledge of English. Of course it calls for deliberate extra efforts aimed at developing information channels and English interface of university services.
Nowadays universities do not need to be convinced that their student support services should take into account international students as well. However, a specific configuration of the support system depends on both external and internal factors. A lot is shaped by the context: national regulation, predominant language(s) in the country, changing demands of the job market; but no less important is the university’s strategy, i.e., the decisions on how to develop while taking the context into account.
Language barrier is the first and major hindrance in accessing the system of student support. The second obstacle is the lack of flexible interface for every university service, which would take into account the diversity of student body. In such circumstances, and when the number of international students is relatively small, it is often easier and more effective to start with a centralised approach, as it allows to ensure adequate and timely support of predictable quality to incoming international students.
However, despite the impression that this way a student can resolve all the issues in one place, it is a quasi-onestop service because the central office is not a provider of university services but a mediator between students and relevant units. Consequently, it becomes the bottleneck which slows processes down when the number of international students grows. Moreover, a separate track of support creates an isolated bubble for international students, providing fewer possibilities for intercultural experience and, thus, increasing the risk of creating a split university.
The Republic of Moldova has a long history of shifting borders, and a short history as an independent state. Higher education only expanded during the Soviet era, which saw 9 public higher education institutions come into existence between 1926 and 1988. On the one hand, ample state funding for higher education allowed an unprecedented growth in access to higher education, a well-developed technical and material base, and internationally comparable educational standards. On the other hand, high level of centralization of the Soviet educational system made it static and unable to adequately respond to the changing needs of a dynamic labor market. Strict educational centralization led to bureaucratization of management, authoritarianism, excessive uniformity, lack of understanding of local conditions, stifling of ‘bottom-up’ initiative, and lack of academic mobility. At the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union, participation in higher education was still the third lowest among all Soviet republics.