Universities in Russia and other BRICS countries will cooperate more actively with each other
On December 3, HSE marked ‘Russian Universities’ Day’ – an event held during the BRICS University summit organized by Times Higher Education and the 5/100 Project for Raising the Competitiveness of Russia’s Leading Universities among the top global higher education institutions.
The forum brought together over 50 representatives of international universities and over 60 from Russian universities, to discuss issues of cooperation in education and research between universities in countries whose economies are developing actively. It was agreed that, over the next two years, the HSE would welcome up to 100 Brazilian students, who will enroll in BA, MA or further postgraduate studies.
Russia and Brazil have not before set themselves such ambitious plans for cooperation in education, and students from Latin America rarely come to study in Russia. What prompted this uptick in interest?
New wave universities
The BRICS countries are today striving to oust the world’s leading economies, HSE Rector Yaroslav Kuzminov said. International financial organizations’ leading experts have already posited that, in 10-15 years’ time, these countries will play a much more significant role in the global economy. Given this reality, there is extensive potential for inter-university cooperation, joint research, and cultural projects.
One of the key ideas raised at the summit is founded in the understanding that BRICS countries universities are not only becoming increasingly competitive at a global level, but are ready and willing to cooperate more readily — in part in order to achieve this goal. The framework for this cooperation is already in place. February 2014 saw the first meeting of BRICS countries’ ministers responsible for science, technology and innovation, which resulted in the adoption of the Capetown Declaration, creating a BRICS university network.
In all BRICS countries, spending on education per student at the leading universities is growing. The education system is becoming more segmented and groups of universities are emerging which will become the drivers of national competitiveness.
However, Yaroslav Kuzminov believes that, now, everything depends on cooperation between academics at university and research-group level, between people who trust each other and see each other as partners, and carry out joint research, hold student exchanges and do everything that is so typical in the Anglo-Saxon world, which became the dominant intellectual centre.
‘In all BRICS countries, expenditure on each student enrolled in the countries’ leading universities is rising. We are witnessing the division of the education system into segments, and the formation of groups of universities that are to become the drivers of national competitiveness.’
The development of relations between BRICS countries’ universities does not mean rejecting existing ties with universities in other countries. But without this development, countries with developing economies will be ‘doomed to the semi-periphery’ of the international academic community, which today speaks English, and in which the standards are set by Anglo-Saxon universities.
The potential for cooperation is very great, BRICS countries’ universities should surely see in each other reliable partners, and seek to expand their mutual understanding, after all there are partners in Malaysia, Korea, Singapore, and other countries with developing economies. These countries are the new wave, they have strong, ambitious universities, says Yaroslav Kuzminov, and the resources for mutual projects.
In joint discussions with BRICS countries’ universities, it is important to identify particular elements in the development of education that are common features in these countries, stressed Academic Supervisor at the Institute of Education Isak Froumin. It is important to understand where the opportunities for advancing development — overtaking world class universities — really lie.
One of the conclusions reached as a result of this collaborative effort by researchers from HSE, Standford and BRICS countries’ universities, is that over the past decade, our countries have been faced with a double challenge. On the one hand — higher education has essentially become universal, and on the other — the goal of forming groups of the best universities that will underpin the countries’ competitiveness in the global economy’s new technological era. Unlike those countries in which higher education developed by evolution, and a key role was played by the private (non-state) sector, such as the United States, in BRICS countries, the state has played a leading role in education reforms, as it aimed to accomplish the twin goals of increasing the reach of education and raising its quality. In all BRICS countries, spending on education per student at the leading universities is growing. The education system is becoming more segmented and groups of universities are emerging which will become the drivers of national competitiveness.
This trend, Isak Froumin feels, reflects the governments’ impatience: they are not going to wait until evolution delivers these changes – and a group of universities developing faster emerges. This is clear from the Chinese and Russian examples, and the new Indian government also assumes the same. The English word ‘push’ is an apt descriptor here, governments are ‘pushing’ universities, giving them unusual development goals and investing significant resources in them. Russia’s 5/100 project (aiming to get five Russian universities in the international ranking of the top 100) is one of the best examples of this.
Can BRICS countries push their universities forward, and develop faster than their competitors in other countries? Developing economies and positive demographic trends could well both be natural drivers of this process. The Anglo-American model of a research university has won recognition for its success world over. But perhaps BRICS countries will also succeed in building a new model of a world-class university? This is the question posed by colleagues from Standford university, but as to what the exact model will look like, neither researchers nor politicians can, yet, say.
Boris Startsev, HSE News service, Photo – Mikhail Dmitriev
The fourth HSE International Summer University has drawn to a close. The programme continues to grow and evolve. This year over 160 students from 46 universities came to HSE to take courses in International Relations & Politics, Computer Science, Russian Studies, Economics, Culture & History.
On July 17-28 an intensive course titled ‘In-transition lab: Structure as an Urban Catalyst’ by the Vysokovsky Graduate School of Urbanism (Moscow) and the Architectural Association School of Architecture (London) was held at Moscow’s Shukhov lab.
On July 17-23 the Third Machine Learning summer school organized by Yandex School of Data Analysis, Laboratory of Methods for Big Data Analysis at the National Research University Higher School of Economics and Imperial College London was held in Reading, UK. 60 students, doctoral students and researchers from 18 countries and 47 universities took part in the event.
The Summer School ‘Law in Russia: National Aspects’ was held at HSE Nizhny Novgorod on July 17-28. Students from HSE Nizhny Novgorod and the Southwest University of Political Science and Law (Chongqing, China) took part in the event. For two weeks the international participants studied the basics of Russian language, law, and management.
In mid-June 2017, the town of Pushkin near St. Petersburg, Russia welcomed the Fifth International Summer School on Higher Education Research, a joint initiative between the HSE Institute of Education and Peking University’s China Institute for Educational Finance Research. This year, the Summer School focused on higher education and social inequality.
The HSE St Petersburg Buddy Club has officially become a section of the Erasmus Student Network (ESN). The buddy club is a student organization and its main aim is helping international students adapt to their new lifestyle in Saint Petersburg and to their studies at the Higher School of Economics. Club members meet international students when they arrive, take them to the students' new home, explain how to use the underground, help buy a sim card, open a bank account and assist with other important tasks which students may find difficult to handle not knowing the Russian language. Additionally, the club also organizes educational and entertaining activities, trips to theatres, cultural events, Russian film evenings, etc.
Representatives of about 30 international universities have come to Moscow to take part in International Partner Week at HSE and discuss cooperation agreements, joint educational programmes, and research and student exchange programmes. On June 23, a partner university fair will be held for HSE students.
On June 19 the Higher School of Economics signed a cooperation agreement with Hitotsubashi University in Japan. The agreement covers mutual visits for lecturers and researchers, student exchange programmes, as well as joint research projects, academic events, and publications.
Students from HSE ISSEK, Stanford University, and Rice University have researched how Russia and the US cooperate in cybersecurity and explored the nuances present in the approaches that each country takes in this area, including different understandings of cybersecurity-related terms. The research was conducted in 2016-2017 as part of the Stanford US-Russia Forum (SURF), a programme dedicated to developing US-Russia cooperation. Over a period of 8 months, 30 American and Russian students and young professionals worked on their projects.
On May 10 – 19 students of HSE- Nizhny Novgorod and University of Utah Valley (USA) took part at the international school 'Democracy in the Contemporary World' held at Higher School of Economics – Nizhny Novgorod within the Master's Programme on Political Linguistics.