Encyclopedia of International Higher Education Systems and Institutions
This authoritative reference source covers all higher education themes in a comprehensive, accessible and comparative way. It maps the field for the twenty first century reflecting the massive changes that have occurred and the challenges ahead for future research. It provides a rich diversity of scholarly perspectives and covers the entire spectrum of higher education from a geographical, a topical and disciplinary perspective. It is unrivaled in its capacity to go beyond national boundaries and provides indispensible comparative analyses.
The major reference works available about higher education have been published more than two decades ago and since then higher education has undergone major changes that have resulted in a much larger, diverse, global, and multidimensional reality. One of the main trends has been relentless expansion on a worldwide scale. This has led to mass higher education becoming a reality across continents, substantial growth in the number of countries with universal access to higher education, and great diversification of the student body. The tremendous increase in the international links in higher education, through issues such as training, students’ mobility, staff mobility, research activities, is another major change. The consequence is a global dimension that is strongly associated with the intensification of international networks in which institutions and researchers explore, create and share knowledge. As a result of the changes and trends, higher education has increasingly become part of debates that highlight its complexity as an institution that combines relevant political, social, economic, and cultural purposes and dimensions. Asked to play important and varied economic and social roles, higher education has had to reshape its priorities, and organizational and decision-making structures. The growth and increased complexity of the field have both led to more attention being paid to all aspects of higher education and to the expansion of research.
Russia (Russian Federation) has the largest territory in the world and extends over 11 time zones. As a federal state, Russia has 85 regions. Over 146 million people (FSSS 2016) are unevenly distributed throughout the country. About 77% of the population lives in the more urbanized European part of the country, whereas the Asian part of the country occupies more than 76% of the total area. The youth population is declining. Although there are around 180 different ethnic groups in Russia, most of the populations (78%) are ethnic Russians (Statdata 2017).
The Russian economy is based heavily on natural resources. As of 2015, it was the 13th largest economy in the world by nominal GDP (World Bank 2017a) and the sixth largest by purchasing power parity (World Bank 2017b).
The Constitution of the Russian Federation guarantees the right to free higher education on a competitive basis for those obtaining it for the first time. General and vocational education is free and available to all.
The social and economic landscape has been rapidly changing in Russia during the last quarter of a century. After the collapse of the USSR in 1991, Russia experienced many changes, including: • The movement to an electoral democracy and a market economy • The rejection of a planned human resources policy relating to the main economic sectors • The decline or elimination of a number of key industries (OECD 2007)
The Russian university tradition is complex. It combines several patterns of higher education development and ideas about what constitutes a university. As the term “tradition” usually refers to the perceptions of the past, the national university tradition therefore represents a sophisticated product of reflections and opinions (Vishlenkova 2014; Vishlenkova and Dmitriev 2013).
The entry provides an overview of the development of the multidiscilinary field of higher education research in Russia. In Soviet period, research on higher education has been developing along with the division of research in the country – between the Academy of Sciences, higher education institutions, and sectoral research under the corresponding ministries. However, current lack of an institutional basis for higher education research reflects the marginal role that the field plays in Russia.
Despite the differences in political, social, economic, and cultural histories, Brazil, Russia, India, and China share the common characteristics. The BRIC countries are very large in terms of population, territory, and economy. Each country has great economic and political influence in the regions, as well as dominance in education sphere (Altbach et al. 2013). They are emerging markets as their economies have been rapidly growing for the last decades while remaining lower middle income or upper middle income countries (World Bank 2016). The experience of these countries is critical for understanding the higher education system dynamics in large countries with limited resources.