‘We Managed to Broaden the Programme of Education’
Elena Guseletova, Head of the HSE Faculty of Public Administration Department of International Cooperation, told us about the results of this year’s summer schools organized by the Faculty.
— Elena, this summer the Faculty of Public Administration sent its students to international summer schools. One of them, the ‘oldest’ one, took place in London…
— Yes London Metropolitan University (London Met) Summer School was held for the sixth consecutive year. There is an agreement on cooperation between our universities, and as part of it we annually implement a number of projects including this summer school, which welcomes students not only from the Faculty of Public Administration, but also from the faculties of Politics, Sociology, Law, World Economy and International Affairs. Feedback on the School – and Professor Pat Gray, its supervisor, who collects feedback forms from the participants every time – is extremely positive. What pleases us the most is that our British colleagues are very complimentary about the ability of our students who go to London.
— Was this year’s summer school programme different from its previous incarnations?
— This year the school was in high demand: we sent about 40 students to London. In addition to a teacher in their field of specialization, they were accompanied by an English language teacher who also collected materials on public administration which he will use in his English classes. Every year we send an English teacher with the students so that in the classes they use more material on public administration which, in turn, prepares students for the summer school. We shall definitely continue this practice in future.
In addition to this, the participants of this Summer School had the opportunity to visit the British Parliament and attend sessions at the House of Commons and the House of Lords and, for the first time, Pat Gray managed to arrange a visit to the Foreign Office, where one of its officers ‘worked’ as a guide for our students.This excursion became probably the highlight of their trip to London. After classes the students got to know London life, culture and art and also visited Oxford, the cradle of British education, and found out more about the specifics of studying in one of the most prestigious universities of the world.
— Will this School’s format change in future?
— Since this school, initially ‘tied’ to our Faculty of Public Administration, began expanding, and other HSE faculties, particularly the Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs, also became interested in its implementation, Pat Gray suggested organizing separate schools for them. They will be concerned with law science in Great Britain and international law with the Faculty of Law and on diplomacy and international relations with those who study international affairs. This means that next year we shall send three different groups to London, each with its own direction and with an individual curriculum.
— The second Summer School organized by the FPA, is focused on the East and is implemented in collaboration with Fudan University. Generally, how big is your students’ interest in the study of China?
— This school is gathering pace and the interest in it is so big that every year we organize additional courses of Chinese language. The international summer school with Fudan University is formally targeted at foreign students willing to study Chinese, but this year we managed to broaden the programme of education and include lectures in our specialization, dedicated to the state structure of China as well as implementation of e-government and ‘single window’ systems. Similar projects have been widely discussed by Russian government, and it was very useful for our students to see Chinese experience in this sphere.
But we decided not to limit ourselves to this and so invited Jeng Ley, Associate Professor and Director of the English-language Master’s programme at the Fudan University Faculty of Public Administration, to the HSE. He is coming here in November to participate in a roundtable meeting which has been organized by the HSE FPA and the Institute for Public Administration and Municipal Mangement to discuss Russian and Chinese experience in e-government and implementing new public service systems. In addition to that, Prof. Jeng Ley will read some lectures for our students on this theme and will talk to the Faculty teachers about the opportunities for joint research activities.
— And finally, one more summer school took place in France…
— Yes, it was organized in collaboration with the Embassy of France, which gives financial support to our Faculty and sponsors students who want to study French language in order to later study in France. The French Embassy annually awards between six and ten scholarships for our Faculty for those learning French in the summer school. The competition is usually three or four people for each scholarship. But even those students who didn’t receive a scholarship have the opportunity to participate in the summer school at their own expense, and the costs will be considerably lower compared to an individual trip. For example, this year ten participants of the school were scholarship holders, and ten more students covered the cost on their own. This is the longest of our summer schools – it lasts a whole month and is a perfect basis for language practice, and this year the school programme was even supplemented with some additional lectures and seminars on public administration.
Those Faculty graduates having a sufficient level of French can apply for master’s scholarships to the same Embassy, and those who succeed will have the opportunity to study a master’s programme in public administration at a French university.
— What are the Faculty’s plans on further development of the international cooperation?
— We shall considerably extend our relationship with London Met. Our agreement on cooperation expires at the end of this year, and we are preparing an agreement to prolong it, which includes provision for the development of a mutual double-degree programme in public administration. The project has already been approved by the HSE administration, now the concept of this programme is being finished, and we are planning to send six teachers to London Met to participate in the development of the modules in English. They shall get an internship on the methods of teaching and student evaluation as well as education quality management so that the courses prepared by each of them together with a colleague from London Met will be in line with British standards.
According to the plan, the programme will consist of six subject courses, a final thesis and a two-month internship which, thanks to London Met’s help, will possibly take place in Great Britain. The internship will account for a certain number of credits, and generally the programme is prepared in line with the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS).In particular, this will allow us to offer this master’s programme not only to Russian but also to international students, and to implement student exchanges with international universities. It has been hard for us to do, since we could not find a sufficient number of foreign students able to study in Russian. But now, with the courses being taught in English, we shall have a real opportunity to invite them, for example, for a semester.
— How high should the level of English be for those willing to participate in the programme?
— London Met has rather strict requirements – IELTS of at least 6.5. And we cannot organize this examination here: the students must pass it in an exams unit independent from the HSE.
— Are specific deadlines for the elaboration of the details of this master’s programme?
— The concept of this programme and its courses should be finished by the end of this year. In September and October we are planning to approve the decisions on the programme at the Faculty and University Academic Councils, in November and December our teachers will go to London for an internship, and in February London Met is planning to approve the launch of the programme. If everything goes according to plan, we should begin admission to the programme in 2011.
Oleg Seregin, HSE News Service