Putin: ‘We need to keep closing dud universities’

Putin: ‘We need to keep closing dud universities’
Photo: pickpik.com

In Russia, there are still many inefficient universities that provide their students with diplomas without giving them real knowledge. President Putin has urged the government to continue closing such institutions and create a competitive network of regional universities instead of them “to attract young people and strong professors”.

President Vladimir Putin has instructed the Russian government to move as quickly as possible to close inefficient domestic universities, particularly those providing low-quality education, says University World News. The initiative to reduce the number of higher education institutions that “provide only diplomas without real knowledge to their students” was initially put forward by Putin two years ago. Since then, the number of universities in Russia has decreased by almost 30%, while the number of regional branches has dropped by more than 60%. In 2018, Russia’s Federal Service for Supervision in Education and Science closed 46 and suspended licences of more than 20 such universities.

A quarter of the country’s total number of higher education institutions is based in Moscow and St Petersburg, and here the situation with such “inefficient” universities is especially complex, consider analysts. According to Putin, it is a “major challenge when it comes to balanced development throughout Russia”. “We need to keep closing dud universities, of which there are still many,” said the president during the joint meeting of the State Council Presidium and the Presidential Council on Science and Education on 6 February. He emphasised that the goal was much higher and more complicated than just getting rid of inefficient institutions. “It is important to consolidate the resource potential of education and research institutions and merge them legally where appropriate,” the president explained.

Joint meeting of State Council Presidium and Presidential Council on Science and Education, 6 February 2020. Photo: kremlin.ru

“We support this initiative. It is necessary to support universities that really train personnel for economics and the social sphere instead of structures that use the sign of a university to solve its private commercial problems,” says Rector of Moscow State Pedagogical University Alexey Lubkov. Head of Moscow State University Viktor Sadovnichy confirms that there are serious problems with the diploma level as well as the level of university graduates in some regions of Russia. According to Sadovnichy, the decisions for merging or closure of universities in Russia are usually based on objective research, which indicates that such a university is no longer able to issue high-quality diplomas.

Poor quality of education provided by some Russian universities may be caused by the reluctance of their owners to hire highly qualified teachers and pay high salaries for them, consider Russian higher education analysts. Meanwhile, according to the presidential decree issued in May 2012, the salaries of university teachers and researchers should be twice higher than the average salary in the region where the university is located.

By Anna LItvina