Kremlin backs modular reforms

February 24, 2006

Russia is moving towards convergence with the Bologna Process after the Kremlin gave its backing to the reform of the country's notoriously conservative state university sector.

Education Ministry pilot projects in scores of higher education institutions are giving Russian students a taste of the flexibility of modern modular and credit-transfer models of delivery.

Andrei Fursenko, the Education and Science Minister whose reform agenda has at times been met with boos and a volley of eggs at public meetings, is promoting two experiments to modernise Russian higher education.

Some 40 out of Russia's 600 state universities offer two-tier degrees, where students may choose to graduate with a bachelors degree in four years, followed by specialist diplomas and masters degrees after a further one or two additional years of study.

And in 19 universities, including top-rated institutions such as Moscow's Russian State Social University and the People's Friendship University, fully flexible credit-transfer modular schemes are due to be introduced from September.

At RSSU - founded in 1991 and headed by Vasily Zhukov, a historian, sociologist and corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences - a European-style system based on student choice goes live in September.

Gennady Saenko, a first vice-rector at RSSU, said: "Rector Zhukov has always sought to be innovative and with our graduates in high demand across Europe, we want to further help them adapt to European standards."

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