Ranking of universities
Our press conference today is dedicated to the rating of Russian universities in accordance with the preferences of student winners of school competitions in 2012. Yaroslav Kuzminov, rector of HSE Olympiads are a very important channel for our high school completion; this is a channel which was formed virtually simultaneously with the CSE and without which the CSE would not be so effective. The fact is that there is selection according to knowledge, and there is selection for talent. There is selection based on knowledge acquired in school, and there is selection of those who came out beyond the school program and became interested in this or that subject, who show their creative independence, and higher education needs both channels. It is very important that the Olympiads held by the Ministry of Education and Science, that is, the All-Russian Olympiad, and the Russian Union of Olympiads, which works on the basis of the Russian Rectors’ Union, led by Viktor Sadovnichy, work effectively. What do we say when we talk about performance criteria and recognition by the society of these competitions? First, we have repeatedly formulated, and I say again – Olympiads should be absolutely transparently organized. The reputation of a university which holds Olympiads is crucial here. And, in order to remove any doubts that may arise due to the fact that this is not the CSE, the degree of protection of works is less, and the degree of subjectivity, quite frankly, is higher, we decided to encourage universities organizing the competition, who are working with us in Russia, to cooperate in order to create Olympiads – to cut off the feeling that the universities organize them for themselves. Now most competitions held by the Russian Union of Olympiads are competitions held by whole groups of high schools on an equal basis with each other. The second requirement, which we have formulated, is as follows: Olympiads should not start in the last graduating class. If the Olympic movement and creative contests will focus only on the graduating classes, the society will naturally perceive it simply as a conduit for admission to universities, and instead of selecting and promoting talents, people will prepare for the Olympiads with tutors, like for the CSE, and a noble goal will be profaned. Therefore the contests should start earlier – in the eighth or seventh grade. I must tell you that this year the number of competitions that began earlier than in the 11th and 10th grades has significantly increased. This, of course, shows the growth rate of public confidence in the Olympiads and simply interest in creative competitions and not entering some university. Olga Kashirina, general secretary of the Russian Union of Rectors For three years the Rectors’ Union with the HSE has been undertaking a study of academic preferences of the participants of the contests, and this is very important because with this small study we identify new phenomena in education and not only there; I’ll speak about this further. In the top 10 of the list of universities, the first five are Moscow universities, the others are federal and national research universities, which certainly supports their social and business reputation and growing interest on the part of students. This is very important. In addition, we note the strengthening of the role of regional universities, so-called “small” universities that are located in the provinces. Maybe they’re not so small in their regions, but on the all-Russian scale they are not included in the pool of forty leading universities. This is also a public commitment and public confidence in these institutions, such as Altai State University and the university of Tomsk, which are not national research universities. This is a very valid marker for the academic policies of these institutions. I have discovered some universities that do not hold Olympiads, but pupils participating in the contests in the capital cities go back there. There is a trajectory of the outflow of talented people to the provinces, and this requires some research into the social profiles of people travelling to the Far East or to Siberia to get an education. Certainly, the personal aspirations of pupils and parents, and not just a new look of academic institutions in these regions but also strong marketing strategies that are already beginning to line up, contribute to this very strongly. Third, of course, there are strong infrastructure projects and social and economic policy in general. We see the Far East this year as the absolute leader in terms of the inflow of competition winners. Of course, we will look for evidence of this in the future, since the APEC is only one example. Of course, there is the small village of Uglegorsk in the Amur region, where the spaceport “Vostochni” is built, and this project includes network projects of several universities, both in Moscow and in the Far East and the Urals, South Ural State University is involved in this project, too. Certainly, I think that next year will reveal a strengthening of the region; this migration shows public confidence in the enormous projects and priority being given to the development of the Russian regions today. If we look at the twenty leading universities, which received more than 80 people by Olympiads, there is a clear upward trend in the group of universities which are out of this ranking, if we look at the 25th and 27th places – Olga has just talked about this. Let’s see, say, the Altai colleges, the universities of Ivanovo. You see LETI, the Ufa Oil Institute and so on there. A number of universities are added to the participants of this rating, because for the first time they received a sufficiently large proportion of the participants of the contests. This shows that the proportion of schools considered by these participants as institutions with a good, strong reputation in Russia is being increased: if before we could talk about 40-50 high schools, now we can talk about 70-100 universities, and this is certainly a gratifying fact. Restoring public trust in a wider group of institutions of higher education is a measure of the recovery and rebirth of our high school. If we take the twenty leaders, there are some changes, but they are small. I can say that Urals Federal University and Tomsk State University were added to this rating; these universities at the last stage simply did not provide the data – there just were not enough winners, frankly. Now they have taken, respectively, 12th and 14th places. The Siberian Medical University, a very strong high school, where 103 people entered at once, was also added, as well as the Russian Academy of National Economy and Public Administration. We can see that, even in the top 20, new schools were included, and the criterion was, as I said, more than 80 winners who entered the university, which is quite a large number. You can pay attention to the position of MSU and HSE – this position is traditionally not changed, because of the value of these institutions and their active participation in the Olympiad movement, we are the main organizers of these competitions. But the MIPT moved to third place from seventh, for example. This is a very high score. At the same time I must say that the success of MIPT, which accepted 803 winners of the Russian Union of Olympiads and 57 winners of the All-Russian Olympiad, is emphasized by the fact that the university receives eight times fewer people than MSU and HSE. These are the absolute figures. This is a very high figure for a single institution.