• A
  • A
  • A
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
Regular version of the site

Plenty of Engineers – Plenty of Innovations?

On September 18th 2012, the HSE Institute for Educational Studies held the latest in its series of regular seminars. Martin Carnoy, Stanford University Professor and Academic Supervisor of the International Laboratory for Education Policy Analysis, spoke about ‘BRIC Triumph: Unprecedented Boom of Higher Education’.

For those unable to attend the seminar, a webinar was organized. The event unveiled the results of research carried out by a team of researchers from Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) headed by Martin Carnoy and dedicated to examining the booming development of the higher education system in these countries. The researchers where attempting to find out if BRIC countries could become new centers of innovation and cutting edge technology?

The study was based on two key assumptions. First, that the leading role in the development of the educational system in BRIC countries is played by the state. Second, the state is content with this situation, since it increases their legitimacy inside and outside the country. By using this model, the researchers empirically analyzed changes to the BRIC countries’ higher education systems in the context of their economic and political situations. The main focus was on education in the engineering sector.

The results show that between 2000 and 2010 the number of engineering graduates grew considerably in Russia and Brazil, almost doubled in China, and tripled in India, while in the USA the situation was radically different. ‘This is why the US is seriously concerned about how the huge number of engineering graduates from Russia, India and China can influence the global knowledge economy and the geography of high tech production’, Professor Carnoy emphasized.

The researchers believe that the growing number of engineers graduating in BRIC countries is related to the fact that future financial benefits from a technical education are high, especially for women.

The report also showed that over the last ten years the state has managed to shift the costs of educating future engineers onto their families. Parents have realized the benefits of an engineering education and are ready to pay for the future wealth of their children. And today, for example, in Russia about 55% of students pay for their education.

And this trend is global. Education has ceased to be a public responsibility and is becoming a private one.

Russia and China have not completely stopped paying for further education, but today they are implementing a special policy of fostering a relatively small number of elite universities (38 in Russia and 111 in China). As a result, in these countries the gap between state spending on higher level universities and other universities is growing. Such a situation is rather unusual in global terms: it doesn’t occur in either the US or in Europe. And while in the US there is also a difference in investment in different levels of university, this gap has been stable for many years, but Russia and China it is consistently widening.

In addition to the problems of price, the researchers have also studied the issue of education quality. It seems that prospective students in India and Brazil are the most poorly prepared: according to international research, their grades in mathematics are the lowest. And upon graduation, the quality of engineers in these countries is also not very high.

In China and Russia the students who enter technical universities are not as weak. They have good grades in mathematics according to TIMSS and PISA data, and these students are quite competitive compared with other OECD countries. Also, there are a great deal of high-level teachers in Russia and China. Although, despite all of this, the quality of graduates from Russian and Chinese universities is not as high as might be expected.

One more problem also covered in the study was related to distributing the costs for education and social inequality. The distribution of state resources for education in general, and engineering education in particular, is very uneven in BRIC countries. The lion’s share of state investment is assigned not to those who need it most, but to students from wealthy families.

For example, in Brazil about 20 percent of children from the upper social strata, from the wealthiest families, get about half of all state costs for education. And only 13 percent of state costs are spent on students from poorer families, who make up about 40 percent of all students. In Russia the situation is similar. The share of public spending for educating the wealthiest students is huge.

In the end of his speech Martin Carnoy said that the BRIC countries, except Russia (where the population is decreasing), will increase the ‘production’ of engineers. And graduates from elite universities in BRIC countries will be quite competitive on the global labour market. In absolute terms the number of graduate qualified engineers from these four countries (where the majority are Chinese) almost equals the number of graduate engineers from all other developed countries, about 250,000 young professionals a year.

But such a boom in the sphere of higher engineering education brings with it certain dangers. Since the opportunities to carry out scientific and technical research in 80% of all BRIC universities are quite limited, and the quality of the majority of graduate engineers is not particularly high, this may lead to a serious threat to the further internal development of Brazil, Russia, India and China.

Alina Ivanova, specially for HSE News Service

See also:

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.

Researchers Assess Student Performance in Mathematics, Physics, and Critical Thinking

A group of researchers representing four countries summed up the results of the Supertest, a large-scale study of the academic performance of engineering students in Russia, China, India, and the United States. It is the first study to track the progress of students in computer science and electrical engineering over the course of their studies with regard to their abilities in physics, mathematics, and critical thinking and compare the results among four countries. The article about study was published in Nature Human Behavior.

How Academic Dishonesty Seeps into the Workplace

How does academic dishonesty of students correlate with honesty in further work? A group of scientists, including Evgenia Shmeleva, Research Fellow at the HSE Institute of Education, conducted research answering this question. During an open online seminar of a research group dedicated to ‘Academic Ethics in the Educational Context,’ Evgenia Shmeleva presented ‘Does Academic Dishonesty Seep into the Workplace? Evidence from a Longitudinal Study,’ which was prepared jointly with Igor Chirikov (University of California at Berkeley-HSE University) and Prashant Loyalka (Stanford University-HSE University)

Why High-Ability School Graduates Choose Low-Quality Universities

According to the findings of HSE researchers, up to one-quarter of school graduates in Moscow enrol in low-quality universities despite scoring highly on their Unified State Exam, the final school exam and a standard university admission mechanism in Russia. This academic mismatch limits their life opportunities and often stems from unequal starting conditions in the family and at school.

World Bank—HSE University Webinar Examines the Costs of School Closures During the Covid-19 Pandemic

On May 21, the joint webinar series, ‘Education under COVID-19: Problems, Solutions, Perspectives, Research’ began with a session about the effects of school closures under the pandemic. Harry Anthony Patrinos of the World Bank presented the results of a model that he and a team of researchers developed in order to predict the extent to which the closures may reduce learning and lead to future losses in labor productivity and earnings for today’s students. The webinar was moderated by Isak Froumin (Head of the HSE Institute of Education), while Professors Tommaso Agasisti (School of Management, Politecnico di Milano) and Sergey Kosaretsky (Director, HSE Centre of General and Extracurricular Education) served as discussants.

‘No One Expected Online Education to Receive Such a Powerful Impetus for Further Development’

On March 17, the Institute of Education hosted its annual seminar dedicated to issues in education. This year’s seminar addressed the topic, ‘Higher Education during an Epidemic: The Possibilities of Digital Technology’. For the first time in eight years, the seminar participants—representatives of Chinese, American, and Russian universities—participated in the event remotely.

A Journey of a Thousand Miles

Ruoqi Cao, from Harbin, China, graduated from HSE University’s Masters’ programme in International Business. She is now working on her PhD at the HSE Institute of Education, where her research focuses on the influence of higher education on the economics of the regions in Russia and China. She has shared with HSE News Service her story of coming to study and work in Russia.

International Higher Education Conference Opens at HSE University in Moscow

The tenth International Russian Higher Education Conference (RHEC) has commenced in Moscow this week and will last until October 25. This year’s conference focuses on ‘Contributions of Higher Education to Society and Economy: Global, National and Local Perspectives.’

American SemyonovAward Recipient to Look at Higher Education’s Relation to Civic Engagement in the Russia

Radomir ‘Ray’ Mitic just completed his PhD at New York University and will be joining the Council of Graduate Schools as a postdoctoral fellow this coming fall in Washington, D.C. This summer, he received an HSE SemyonovAward Research Internship to research civic engagement among Russian university students at the Institute of Education at HSE University. Last week, he participated in the International Summer School of Higher Education at HSE – St. Petersburg, and now he is conducting field research in Moscow. HSE News Service spoke with Ray about his research, his impressions of the two Russian cities, and his future plans.

International Advisory Committee Recommends a More Focused Approach

Members of the International Advisory Committee (IAC) and the HSE administration have discussed the results of the committee’s annual meeting.