Higher Education and State-building: Methaphors of Universities Revisited
How has higher education influenced the evolution of nations since the Second World War—and vice versa? Stanford professor Mitchell Stevens and Institute of Education researcher Ekaterina Shibanova have tried to answer this question in a special issue of the European Journal of Higher Education. They invited renowned historians, political experts, sociologists and economists to develop ‘a consensus on the role of higher education in political and social history after 1945.’ The special issue was created with input from researchers from Canada, Luxembourg, Russia, Germany, France, the UK, and Sweden.
‘Universities have always been a catalyst in the relationships between government, the market, and society,’ Ekaterina Shibanova explains. ‘But educational researchers often take a per se approach to their subject without properly examining the external context, institutions, states and politics. And on the other hand, political economists and historical sociologists rarely look into education. We wanted to create a fuller picture while still taking specific national features into account.’
The researchers decided to avoid using the accepted periodization of ‘before’ and ‘after’ the massification of higher education—the period in the second half of the 20th century when access to higher education grew beyond being a luxury afforded to a small section of the population. The researchers consider this model to be outdated, and instead proposed a four-point model oriented around:
the end of the Second World War and the Cold War;
the end of the Cold War;
the emergence of modern neoliberalism and the appearance of global rankings;
the rise of Asia.
‘This is still a form of periodization, of course, and it’s relative like any other kind. But these were pivotal points in the evolution of higher education systems in the countries featured in the special issue. They help us to contextualize institutional changes in the sector and—in our view—are more useful for comparing countries,’ said Ms. Shibanova.
The authors believe that higher education is an integral part of the general political-economic model, though different countries take vastly different approaches to it. For example, Scandinavian countries prioritize the development of educational opportunities, inclusion and ensuring equal life chances for all. Other countries in mainland Europe also support higher education, but the financial burden largely falls on students’ families. In the USA and the UK, higher education remains a personal investment for the future. The researchers divided state attitudes to education into three categories: national asset, citizen’s right, and commodity.
These different conceptualizations can exist simultaneously in the national culture and politics to different degrees, and they have a significant influence over the extent and nature of a society’s investment in education. ‘Societies that predominantly view higher education as a citizen’s right display more balanced social policies and fewer social risks, and educational resources are much less of a tool of stratification and competition there,’ explains Ms. Shibanova.
A group of scientists from Hungary, Russia and Finland have developed a system capable of selecting cancer cells of a specific shape and size—spheroids. SpheroidPicker, the first AI device of its kind, enables a more standardized approach to working with tumour samples. The results of the research have been published in the journal Scientific Reports. One of researchers who worked on the project is Nikita Moshkov, Junior Research Fellow of the Laboratory on AI for Computational Biology.
The Fourth ICEF Conference on Applied Economics will present the studies conducted by scholars at the universities across the world, that relate to education. We talked with Fabian Slonimczyk, an Associate Professor at ICEF and the conference organizing committee member, to learn more about the highlights of this year’s conference.
Dr. Ger Graus, Global Director of Education at KidZania, is a visiting lecturer invited to work remotely with HSE University students. Last academic year, Dr. Graus conducted a series of seminars on ‘Schooling vs Education’ for students of the Master's programme in Educational Administration.
From September 8 to 12, 2021, the HSE Art and Design School will present projects that examine the topics of online privacy, attention deficit disorder in the digital environment, the perception of the human body, and ‘dark ecology’. The programme includes performances, interactive art exhibitions and a roundtable discussion on the theoretical understanding of digital transformations of culture.
HSE Rector: Universities Should Create New Educational and Research Products and Expand Human Capital
How should the universities of the Asia-Pacific region develop in the digital era, what challenges does the Russian labour market face, and what are the prospects of the Far East and Arctic region? These were some of the topics discussed during the first day of the Eastern Economic Forum, which featured the participation of HSE Rector Nikita Anisimov and other HSE University experts.
HSE Researchers Compare Expressive and Receptive Language Abilities of Russian-speaking Children with ASD for the First Time
Researchers from the HSE Centre for Language and Brain and their Russian and American colleagues have become the first to compare expressive and receptive language abilities of Russian children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) at different linguistic levels. Their work helped them refute the hypothesis that children with ASD understand spoken language less well than they produce it. The study was published in Research in Developmental Disabilities.
An international team of researchers including Alexander Tonevitsky, Professor at HSE’s Faculty of Biology and Biotechnology, found that pituitary hormones may produce different effects on the left and right sides of the body following a traumatic brain injury. These differences can accelerate the development of motor disorders. Researchers are trying to determine whether treatment that blocks the corresponding hormones can counteract these effects. The results of the study were published in the journal eLife.
Aleksey Kychkin, Associate Professor in the Department of Information Technologies in Business at HSE University in Perm, together with Georgios Chasparis, a scientist at the Software Competence Center Hagenberg (SCCH, Austria), built models to predict energy consumption in residential buildings for the day ahead. The electricity consumption profile of a group of residential buildings, which is determined for the day ahead, will allow electricity demand to be effectively managed. The results of the research were published in ‘Energy and Buildings’journal.
The 4th International Economics Olympiad (IEO) has come to a close after taking place online in Latvia from July 21 to 1 August. The competition was organized by HSE University and the University of Latvia.
Researchers of HSE Tikhonov Moscow Institute of Electronics and Mathematics (MIEM), in cooperation with their colleagues from the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC), and The European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), have developed software to model the spread of the COVID-19 global pandemic. This is the world’s fastest Viral Genealogy Simulator (VGsim). For more details about this scalable simulator, read the reprint on medRxiv. The code is freely available at GitHub.