European Education and Russian Universities
Department of Sociology of Education, Science and Culture Institute of Sociology, Russian Academy of Sciences Moscow, Russian Federation
Cooperation with European universities, internationalization of education generally needs of evaluation both positive and negative consequences, appreciation of cultural traditions, preservation of achievements of the Russian educational system. On one side of the argument are the employers as the main customer on labor market confirming the importance of internationalization and insisting that university graduates must have professional skills enabling them to work in international environment, to participate in international projects. We also see that international activities of the university might have a real influence on the home region: it is more actively involved into international cooperation and integration; the region gets an access to foreign scientific achievements, new material and technology, obtains a possibility for intercultural communication. But many experts are concerned that existing educational model would be destroyed and new one might not have evident advantages. Important argument of the opponents of university's international integration is a fear of 'brain drain'. Such apprehensions do have some grounds, though international activities of the universities can't be considered as an only reason for the 'brain drain', there are others significant causes.
Our researches show what courses are chosen by Russian universities; what attitudes Russian academics have toward innovations in interaction and communication with foreign universities. Moscow and regional universities participated in survey and interested in cooperation with foreign universities face the following difficulties. Often they don't have enough experience in building international cooperation in education sphere. Moreover, there is a lack of information regarding opportunities of such cooperation. Employers are interested in internationalization of education, but don't provide the real support. Many universities experience the lack of financial resources. Russian academic staff and students have a lack of knowledge of the foreign languages. Joint educational programs seem to be too expensive for many Russian students. Significant problem is the attitude of academic staff toward the integration - many are alerted by innovations, mainly because they consider them as a threat to their status.