Russian Universities in the Neo-Liberal Reforms

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 9:30 AM
Room: F201
Oral Presentation
Alla FEDULOVA , Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia
Irina ORLOVA , Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia
In Russia, for two decades, neo-liberal reforms have been carried out in all spheres of social life: economy, politics, culture, and education. The higher education reforms (universities in particular) dismantle the previous Soviet national education system trying to substitute it by a new pattern based on the Western model "for the purpose of being fully integrated into the global community".

The process of transplanting Western education patterns on Russian ground resulted in the fact that education no longer performs its most important social functions of integration and differentiation.

The integration function implies the system of education that is supposed to reproduce a set of core values reflecting the spiritual priorities of society and uniting people in a common social, historical and cultural community. It is known far and wide that every society does its best to preserve national identity, socio-cultural and mental characteristics of the population.  Therefore, in order not to lose national identity communities try to transmit (and reinforce) their most important values through education systems.

The differentiation function implies preparing people of the younger generation for "embedding" them into cells of the social structure;  bringing social and occupational structure of society into the right track; preparing the right number of specialists of different skill levels and different specialties for the country, according to the strategy of its development.

But the paradox of contemporary Russian situation is that neither twenty years ago, when the construction of the neo-liberal capitalism was just at the beginning, nor now – nobody elaborated or formulated the development strategy. There was too much that was obscure: there wasn't ordered a priority system in the development of certain sectors in the economy, science, and social services. People were unaware of the economic model and the model of society they would create through liberal reforms.