Universal higher education and positional advantage: Soviet legacies and neoliberal transformations in Russia
The great expansion of participation in higher education in Russia in the post-Soviet period was the layered and contradictory result of both conditions established in the Soviet period, and the structuring of reforms after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1992. The Soviet government was strongly committed to the expansion of education across the country, and gender equality was achieved at that time. In the 1990s and 2000s enrolments more than doubled, though the growth of numbers has been reversed since 2008 because of demographic decline of the relevant age cohorts. Employing Trow’s analysis of the growth of higher education systems and Hirsch’s concept of positional goods, among other conceptual approaches, as well as statistical, national, and comparative survey data, this paper analyses social dynamics of the process of increasing participation and equalization of opportunity in Russia. The dramatic higher education expansion in Russia was largely associated with the positional value of higher education credentials, in a society in which the Soviet system of social status had been discontinued, and a new system of status was being built on the basis of post-Soviet rules (which are still evolving). Driven by family aspirations and resources, massification has largely rested on the part-privatisation of the costs of higher education, part of a neoliberal reform package common to the post-Soviet countries. However, higher education expansion has not brought about greater social equity. Expansion, fee-based financing and policy measures such as university excellence initiatives have tended to strengthen the institutional and social stratification of the higher education system, weakening social mobility and social equality.
The chapter is devoted to the analysis of the impact of the global academic rankings and the concept of world-class university upon the system of high education both globally and in contemporary Russia. The author analyses the use of the rankings in benchmarking and strategy planning, and demonstrates negative influence of the obsession with the rankings in some countries. The chapter considers the case of the strategy of Ural Federal University (Russia) as one of the examples of both use and abuse of the rankings in large regional Russian university. The author argues for the necessity of organizing transnational associations and consortia of the universities, especially in emerging countries (BRICS nations, for example), to resist neo-Imperial features of today's global Academia. One of the remedies the chapter proposes is to adopt the idea of plural modernities from sociology and to treat global education environment as kind of a multi-polar world. Then, the author argues, the rankings should be supplemented with qualitative comparative analysis of educational systems.
Today is still little known about regional inequality in education in Russia. In this article, we, on the one hand, analyze regional differences in educational resources in their association with regions’ socio-economic characteristics. On the other hand, we estimate relationship of regions’ socio-economic characteristics and educational resources with the proportion of students remaining in high school as well as with the average results of the Unified State Exam (end of high school test) in two compulsory subjects - Russian and math. We test theories of effectively maintained inequality and maximally maintained inequality with the use of data of Russia regions that we retrieve in open sources – publications of Rosstat, federal and regional education agencies. To estimate the relationship we use correlation and regression analysis. Our results show that more urbanized regions with higher level of human capital and GRP are usually characterized by the higher level of school expenditures, more experienced teachers, and higher chances for students to study at the advanced level. The same time, the level of urbanization and human capital is positively related to the proportion of students that choose academic trajectory after finishing secondary school. Finally, the results of the Unified State Exam are also positively associated with access to educational resources. In both subjects, the average test score is higher in the regions with higher proportion of students in lyceums/gymnasiums and in schools with advanced study of the subjects. In Russian, the exam results are also related to the proportion of students remaining in high school. In general, regional inequality in access to educational resources overlaps with socio-economic differences which produces a situation of double loss or double advantage. Bigger access to better educational resources in regions with higher human capital supports effectively maintained inequality theory. The same time the fact that less proportion of students choose academic trajectory after grade 9 in regions with less human capital could be an evidence of maximally maintained inequality. The article could be interesting to readers whose study relates to problems of education inequality and education policy.
This book provides an overview of the major findings of the comparative research project, Changes in Networks, Higher Education and Knowledge Society (CINHEKS). The main aim of this international comparative research project is the analysis of how Higher education institutions are networked within distinct knowledge societies in two key regions of the world: Europe and the United States of America. This research project was carried out in four European countries (Finland, Germany, Portugal and the United Kingdom) and in two different states in the United States of America. In addition, during the course of the research, a team from the Russian Federation joined the CINHEKS study. The analysis is contextually grounded in a comparative policy analysis focused on the main developments and understandings of the ideas surrounding the term knowledge society, in all countries concerned. Empirical elaboration is established via a series of sequential studies, each building, incrementally, on the previous study. These studies include institutional profiles of higher education institutions, institutional case studies, and an international comparative survey that illuminates academics’ social networks. The research findings broaden our understanding of the differences and similarities in how higher education institutions and individual academics are networked within and between societies that understand themselves as knowledge societies. The book introduces a novel analytical synthesis, which asserts contemporary societies have evolved into Networked Knowledge Societies. Methodologically, the book both challenges and raises the bar for previous approaches in comparative higher education, in terms of research design, execution and lays the groundwork for a new generation of international comparative higher education research. (from Springer website)
The British socioemotional economy is marked by a tension between cosmopolitan humanitarian sentiments and the denial of sympathy for geographically close, but socially distant, strangers in need. The essence of this tension can be captured by the Dickensian notion of 'telescopic philanthropy'. A proper understanding of this tension would benefit from examining both short-term and secular trends - proximate and distal causal mechanisms. The paper is not explanatory in nature, but aims to generate sensitizing concepts, while at the same time seeking to steer the altruism, morality, and social solidarity literature towards a more active engagement with history, power, and ideology.
Drawing on the case of Russia’s post-Soviet education reform, the paper explores the interaction between borrowed reformatory solutions and culture codes in the process of neoliberal educational modernisation. Through the examination of the concept of ‘commercial service’ the article shows how bottom-up societal resistance is maintained and normalised in the real-life language of the reform debate among policy-makers, teachers, parents and the general public. Building on policy-as-discourse studies, the analysis unpacks specific conceptual frames behind societal interpretation of educational commercialisation. The article finds that the public debate is stalled by an extreme polarisation and a seeming intractability of such conceptual categories as ‘money’, ‘commerce’, ‘moral upbringing’, and ‘the soul.’ It further argues that instead of mediating borrowed and domestic social meanings, the official reform narrative serves to strengthen the polarisation of opinions, while leaving under-conceptualised a number of important links between market values of competitive individualism, material profit and entrepreneurship and domestic values of egalitarianism, collegiality, moral education and non-materialist values. The article concludes with a discussion of the role of the state in transmitting borrowed policy ideas to the public and the interplay between grassroots resistance and national education policies.
In 2006, Russia amended its competition law and added the concepts of ‘collective dominance’ and its abuse. This was seen as an attempt to address the common problem of ‘conscious parallelism’ among firms in concentrated industries. Critics feared that the enforcement of this provision would become tantamount to government regulation of prices. In this paper we examine the enforcement experience to date, looking especially closely at sanctions imposed on firms in the oil industry. Some difficulties and complications experienced in enforcement are analysed, and some alternative strategies for addressing anticompetitive behaviour in concentrated industries discussed.
This article is talking about state management and cultural policy, their nature and content in term of the new tendency - development of postindustrial society. It mentioned here, that at the moment cultural policy is the base of regional political activity and that regions can get strong competitive advantage if they are able to implement cultural policy successfully. All these trends can produce elements of new economic development.