Lyudmila Ogorodova: “If a university does not change, it cannot compete in the global education market”September 22, 2017
On September 21, the 21st Project 5-100 Seminar-Conference opened at Baltic Federal University in Kaliningrad. The conference began with a welcome address from the Deputy Minister of Education and Science of the Russian Federation Lyudmila Ogorodova. She emphasized a number of global trends in the development of higher education, including the formation of target models as platforms for innovation development, creation of business environment and introduction of creative approaches to teaching, effective inter-agency and interdisciplinary cooperation, aggregation of and pooling resources of educational and scientific organizations and the real sector of economy, digital environment, open educational resources, as well as combining traditional and new formats of education.
Deputy Minister said that securing sustainable competitiveness of higher education institutions and developing their ability to sustain growth are one of the key state-level higher education issues that are policy flashpoints. The Deputy Minister highlighted the fact that “today it is important to create an educational environment that would provide the framework of and offer opportunities for the implementation of the best global educational trends.” According to Lyudmila Ogorodova, in order to accelerate this process, the government is now changing its approach, in particular, the implantation of sector-wide strategies and a project approach generating and managing horizontal communications, aligning projects with strategies and developing new training areas corresponding to today’s challenges.
“Now it is time for universities to decide: open data, digital platforms, cross-cutting technologies, interdisciplinarity – these are areas that all universities need to be advanced in,” she said. At the same time, Lyudmila Ogorodova added that “almost all Project 5-100 universities have made good progress in the world university rankings, but now y is the time to speak about the speed of “running”: smart decision making and proactive implementation of these decisions. We should not just train personnel, but train professionals, strengthen the workforce with necessary capabilities that were required by the market and become a driver of the labor market’s development. And if we want to do that, universities should be able to use the tools provided by the government. And we expect that Project 5-100 universities will be the first ones to enter this platform.”
The plenary session dedicated to the transformation of universities in the current context was also attended by Alexander Sobolev, the Director of the Department of State Policy in Higher Education of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation.
He said that the state policy in the field of higher education was being implemented through three top-priority projects. These are “Export of Russian education”, “Universities as Innovation Drivers”. and “Modern digital educational environment: “As far as the “Modern digital educational environment” is concerned, this project has only one goal – by 2020, Russian education should be largely digital, modern and meeting international standards. How will we achieve that? There will be three steps. The first is the infrastructure, training of teachers and creation of a quality system that will provide students with equal access to all high-quality educational standards, including federal ones. The second stage is to provide content. And the third stage is to integrate the project into the digital economy, in today’s global projects. The Ministry of Education held a competition, in which 102 universities took part and 19% of them were Project 5-100 participants. We also had 17 lots and 12 of them were won by Project 5-100 universities.”
Andrey Klemeshev, the rector of Baltic Federal University, presented the case of his university in the context of transformation. He highlighted the fact that it is very important for the university “to become a recognized scientific and educational, research and analytical center in issues of applied philosophy, integrated development of special territories, ecosystems and ensuring the sustainable development of special territories of Russia. It is very important for the university to proceed from the fact that it must become a driver of regional development. In fact, it is on the national agenda and we are aware of the responsibility level.”
Andrey Rudskoy, the rector of Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University, has analyzed the model of polytechnic university 4.0 and its interaction with the hi-tech industry. Other speakers at the plenary session were Alexei Novoseltsev, the vice-rector of Higher School of Economics, who emphasized the human capacity as a key factor of transformation, and Marina Rakova, the Director General of the Foundation for New Forms of Education Development, described the transformation of the system of supplementary education in Russia and its interaction with universities.
The busy agenda of the first day continued with parallel sessions dedicated to network interaction between universities, the redesign of education and scientific communications.
On October 19-20, within the framework of the preliminary program of the conference, there was a meeting of working groups of the Association of Global Universities dedicated to legal practices and rule-making initiatives, the support of foreign specialists and students, the model of an effective contract with regard to employees, and the development of the professional potential of young teachers, research fellows and administrators.
The first day of the workshop conference set a high standard for the subsequent business agenda: topical, fruitful and lively debates, a high expert level and strong interest from the audience – and the second day is expected to be just as intense and eventful.