- to track the major transformations in each system of higher education and link them with the changes in the economic and political context
- to review how the Soviet legacy influenced and constrained these changes
- to investigate the structural changes (institutional landscape) as the key element of the systemic transformations
Methodology: desk research (documents, policy papers, national strategies) and quantitative analysis of the major trends in higher education with emphasis on the institutional level data
Empirical base of research: ernational organizations; and through analyses provided by local and international experts as well as through the media.
Also research is based on open data sources, e.g. World Bank, National Statistics Agency, National Center of expertise, Soviet Statistical books (Narodnoye khozyaistvo), Statistics from the Ministry of (Higher) Education
Results of research: The results are structured as the three country cases with the analysis of post-Soviet higher education transformation in Georgia, Belarus, Tadjikistan. The major results are following:
- Based on a wide range of data from various national sources, we describe how higher education system has transformed during the last 25 years; we identify key policy developments that have helped shape the current system; we describe current institutional setup of higher education in the country and discuss the factors that affect it
- Georgian higher education system went through a myriad of substantial changes during the last quarter of a century: from the Soviet centrally-planned system it started transforming into an independent system operating within the market economy and in addition it had to face all the global challenges outlined above.
- The HE system in Belarus has undergone important changes since the beginning of the 1990s under the pressure of the different internal and external factors (demographic, political, socio-economic changes, international cooperation, etc.). The horizontal system differentiation increased with the creation of the new private and public HEIs and changes in the functioning of the former Soviet HEIs. The vertical system differentiation inherited from the Soviet period was slightly changed and strengthened especially at the beginning of 2010 as result of government policies and of the introduction of national, regional and international rankings.
- Our findings reveal that higher education system of Tajikistan has changed significantly since the collapse of the Soviet Union. For example, many universities have switched to the three-tiered degree platform; new degree programs have mushroomed; and a new National Testing Center has been opened which alters the university admissions process. Meanwhile, the system is still highly influenced by Soviet legacies. Since the country is extremely poor, this then means that there is a shortage of funds to support universities, alleged rampant corruption, low program quality across the curriculum, and increasing gender inequality.