Leading Universities in Russia: From teaChing to Research Excellence
For the Russian higher education system, the last decade has been not only a time of far-reaching major reforms (such as the introduction of a new university admissions system based on national unified test examination (USE) obligatory for all high school graduates), but also one pertaining to the realization of several government excellence initiatives aimed at supporting and developing leading Russian universities. In fact, these gov rnment programs influenced the higher education landscape of the country a great deal. For, while they did not help much with solving the problem of a preponderance of weak higher education institutions in the sector, they certainly allowed a fair number of rather good and promising universities to improve significantly the quality of their educational programs and to some extent, their research capacity. Three main programs have been launched in the last eight years: innovative educational projects, development and support for national research universities, and most recently, the program for improving global competitiveness, all of which have been underpinned by the same basic principles, which has resulted in common inefficiencies. All three programs were initiated by the state and were run under the assumption that there would be little, if any, input from the business sector, both in terms of financial resources or direct participation through links between the academic sector and industry.