Experts at HSE International Partners’ Week Discuss How to Establish Cooperation between Universities
Strengthening and expanding partnerships between universities in different countries requires an increase in the number of specific joint projects in the educational, research, social and cultural spheres. In addition, it is necessary to expand academic exchange and student mobility programmes. The working session ‘University as a Global Citizen: Global Partnerships in Education and Science’ was held as part of HSE International Partners’ Week.
HSE University Vice Rector and session moderator Victoria Panova believes that universities, even if they employ brilliant scientists, find it difficult to implement global projects alone. Internationalisation and interaction will allow them to carry out major research, overcome emerging difficulties, and create new forms of interaction. She noted the importance of personal communication, which is often more effective than online negotiations. Technologies help solve many problems, but teachers and scientists work more effectively in a hybrid format.
Vice-Rector of the Russian-Tajik (Slavonic) University (Tajikistan) Marina Rusakova stressed the importance of peer cooperation between large and small universities, the joint use of scientific equipment, and launching joint degree programmes for specialists. She considers it important to employ post-Soviet university students in Russian companies. Marina Rusakova believes that this will expand cooperation between the countries.
‘We should create a single information environment so that we can immediately see what programmes are implemented in partner universities,’ says Marina Rusakova. She invited the participants of the session to conduct joint research into the problems faced in Central Asia and Afghanistan. She adds that one of the university’s priorities is teaching Russian to the residents of Tajikistan, and it is taught for free.
Vice Rector of the Tashkent Institute of Irrigation and Agricultural Mechanization Engineers for International Cooperation Abdulhakim Salokhiddinov says that the institute has become the first research university in the country. It has launched a laboratory for testing fuels, lubricants and special liquids for different types of equipment in hot climates. Students and teachers of the university designed an electric tractor and unmanned aerial vehicles for processing agricultural areas, and also developed a ‘smart agriculture’ pilot project utilising control, monitoring and data processing systems.
The institute has signed 100 memorandums of cooperation, including 25 agreements with universities. Among the difficulties that arose in developing cooperation, he noted partly unfulfilled work that was agreed upon and included in the roadmap. This occurred for several reasons, including the consequences of the pandemic, lack of resources, etc. The number of joint projects and programmes, in his opinion, is insufficient.
To increase the effectiveness of cooperation, it is necessary to involve more scientists in academic exchange and student mobility, including organising summer and winter schools. He also noted the high potential of HSE’s ‘Mirror Laboratories’ project. The creation of an internship database on the websites of universities in Russia and Uzbekistan could be of great benefit.
Victoria Panova stressed that the creation of mirror laboratories in foreign universities is part of HSE's systematic approach to international cooperation.
Dean of the Faculty of Law of Yanka Kupala Grodno State University (Belarus) Svetlana Cheburanova noted the importance of developing intercultural dialogue as a social mission of the university. She considers reaching and fulfilling human potential to be the main mission of the university. Svetlana Cheburanova says that the university has signed agreements with 217 universities from 27 countries, and 180 foreign teachers participate in the ‘Visiting Professor’ programme.
She spoke about co-living between Belarusian and foreign students in university dormitories, which, in her opinion, contributes to studying languages, learning more about other cultures, and developing friendships. It also stimulates educational achievements among international students.
Cholpon Sydykova, Director, Higher School of Economics and Business, I. Razzakov Kyrgyz State Technical University, says that the internationalisation of education and science is of the university’s goals. The university has concluded more than 480 cooperation agreements. The Russian-Kyrgyz consortium, which includes 40 Russian and 15 Kyrgyz universities, has proved to be particularly effective. The university has a number of joint degree programmes, as well as exchange programmes for students, teachers and researchers. To effectively implement these programmes, it is necessary to overcome the language barrier, which often impedes obtaining a quality education. It is also important to agree on diploma recognition, solve visa and migration problems, and mitigate cultural differences.
Rajendra Singh Yadav, Professor at the University of Rajasthan (India), recalled that 25 global companies are now headed by Hindus who have graduated from leading universities. In his opinion, a university’s ranking depends on its international reputation, the ratio of students to teachers, and the scale of research. In India and several other countries, it is impossible to achieve the ‘classical’ 1:10 ratio of teachers to students, but in Indian universities, where there are 20–25 students per teacher, the quality of education is often higher. Another factor may be the number of international students at the university and the employment of graduates in leading companies. These elements are sometimes omitted from international rankings.
Rajendra Singh Yadav proposed the development of a ranking of universities in the Eurasian space, which will more accurately reflect the quality of education.
Martin Pedro Gonzalez from the University of Buenos Aires (Argentina) also drew attention to the problem of rankings. According to the representative of Argentina, they affect the attractiveness of universities among applicants and the principles of university management. ‘It is necessary to form a policy that reflects the situation in society. We would like to reach the top 100 ranking of QS universities; this is also a political issue,’ says Martin Pedro Gonzalez.
‘This issue is on the agenda, these rankings are often biased and politicised, taking into account factors that are convenient for minority countries. Recently, the BRICS education ministers discussed creating their own ranking, but it is not going quickly. One of the results of our partner week could be an agreement on the creation of a working group on the creation of an objective ranking,’ said Victoria Panova.
Vice President of Astana International University (Kazakhstan) Kairat Abdrakhmanov says that the university is striving to establish student exchange with HSE University. Astana International University has joint programmes with RANEPA, the University of International Business and Economics (China), and the University of Freiburg (Germany). The university is also engaged in analytical support of the government.
The following participants also attended the session:
- Elyor Matchanov, Dean, Faculty of Japanese Studies, Tashkent State University of Oriental Studies (Uzbekistan)
- Erke Turdumambetova, Director, Training Centre of the Ministry of Finance of the Kyrgyz Republic (Kyrgyzstan)
- Zhadyra Bainazar, Director, International Cooperation Department, Abai Kazakh National Pedagogical University (Kazakhstan)
- Rakhat Islanova, Director of the Department of Education and Science of the Academy of Public Administration under the President of the Kyrgyz Republic (Kyrgyzstan)
- Maryna Karpitskaya, Dean, Faculty of Economics and Management, Yanka Kupala State University of Grodno (Belarus)
- Aiganysh Umetalieva, Dean, School of Entrepreneurship and Service to Society, Technical School of Innovation, American University of Central Asia (Kyrgyzstan)
- Anandhan Padmashree, Project Associate, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore, India
- Pewnim Thanit, Special Advisor, Vidyasirimedhi Institute of Science and Technology, Thailand