22 SES 13 A, The Search for the Balance: Higher Education Changes in the Post-Soviet Countries.
Since the collapse of the USSR both higher education system and environment have been dramatically transforming [Johnson 2008; Silova 2009]. In this context we have a unique chance to track those changes and to determine the specific features of higher education institutions and entire sector that can be hardly done in the well-established higher education systems [Scott 2002].
The changes in higher education systems in post-Soviet countries are determined by various demographic, economic, political, social factors. The consequences could be found in student population dynamics, privatization processes, HEIs’ diversification activities, reshaping university-industry relations, regulatory changes, internationalization, etc.
Thus, the objective of two integrated symposia is revealing the most significant socio-economic and political transformations that have influenced the higher educational landscape in post-Soviet countries. The discussion aims at developing the approaches to post-Soviet higher education analysis.
The Soviet higher education was totally state-controlled [Clark 1983]. After the USSR collapse the new stakeholders gained the tools for system determination, primarily, by means of market mechanisms. The reactions could vary from introducing the well-known institutions (aimed to adapt higher education to the new environment) to targeted measures for customizing the system to the needs of the state (responding to the public needs as well). Marketization challenged policy-making. The state needs to find the balance of interests tacking between public demands, political goals, and economic constrains. The selection of tools depends on the assumptions taken for policy-making. In this sense, the reflection of politics in the policy is the particular crucial issue for revealing the pathways to balance.
The general questions for the discussion:
- How the state reacts to the rapidly changing environment in order to balance the higher education system?
- How the political agenda and goals of the government are reflected in higher education policy?
- What are the common and the different features of the higher education transition processes in the post-Soviet countries?
The symposia are related to the international project “Higher education systems dynamics and institutional diversity in post-Soviet countries” coordinated by Institute of Education (NRU HSE, Moscow). The study is conducted by the groups of researchers from different countries working on the analysis of higher education systems’ changes in the states of former Soviet Union.
This session will refer to the discussion on the consequences of the marketization process in higher education. New economic environment and the public demand for liberalization forsered the governments to introduce new regulations with regard to privatization and market orientations. The transformations of labor markets and changing public demands determined the variety of approaches. Taking into account four country cases (Azerbaijan, Russia, Tajikistan, Kyrgystan), the discussion will focus on the implications for the analysis of situations when introduction of “education markets” has become the focal point of development of higher education systems.
• Scott P., (2002) Reflections on the Reform of Higher Education in Central and Eastern Europe. Higher education in Europe. No. 27 (1-2) p. 137-152 • Silova I. (2009) Varieties of educational transformation: The post-socialist states of Central/Southeastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. In R. Cowen & A. Kazamias (Eds.), International handbook of comparative education (pp. 295-320).Netherlands: Springer Publishers. • Johnson M. (2008) Historical Legacies of Soviet Higher Education and the Transformation of Higher Education Systems in Post-Soviet Russia and Eurasia. The Worldwide Transformation of Higher Education (eds D. P. Baker, A. W. Wiseman). Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp. 159–176. • Clark, B.R. 1983. The Higher Education System. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.
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