Russian system of higher education is now under the process of reconstruction so that it could answer international requirements and in accordance with the obligations of Russia as a participating country of Bologna process. Where will that get us?
During the last years students could get a higher education of three levels: “Bachelor”, “Specialist”, and “Master” in this country. The first one was not in great demand, and only a few people could reach the highest (third) one. Thus, the major portion of Russian HEIs graduates was becoming “Specialists”.
Two-level (Bachelor-Master) model of higher education is now in force in many countries of the world and in the most part of European countries.
The major portion of students from these countries becomes Bachelors, since this level is considered to be optimal for the start of professional activities: a complete higher education that can be obtained in a relatively short time and universal training with wide employment opportunities. Upon graduation from a HEI, a Bachelor can find a job in the middle segment of the labour market in several specializations within a certain profile. And only people oriented to scientific activities or those who have been working for several years and identified a specialization which is the most interesting for career growth enter Master’s degree programmes. A niche specialization and two additional years of study distinguish a Master from a general Bachelor.
What the economy of new Russia is now really in need of – is the great number of Bachelors. When specialists complete studies, they have quite a concrete specialization, and the labour market of the new age demands increasingly for universally trained personnel, so that an employee could make a move toward a narrower special sphere only having some working experience obtained. Today, our economy is able to “consume” 7 times more Bachelors, than HEIs produce. After complete switch to the two-level model of education the situation will stabilize – the most part of alumni will be Bachelors. At that, training of limited number of specialists will be continued for some time, but it is subject to separate profiles (engineering, medicine, high technologies) due to the specific character of such personnel training.
The main reason for introduction of the new model of higher education lies in Russia’s movement to the integrated international educational environment and its entry into the European labour market. Free turnover of labour force and possibility of training abroad implicate unified marking criteria and levels of education. For now, Russian Specialist's degree drops out of this scale.