Rector of RUDN: mutual recognition of education improves performance of universities

Agreements on mutual recognition of academic credentials like the document that has been recently signed by Russia and Hungary encourage universities, departments and faculty members to perform better and enter the international arena. Vladimir Filippov, Chairman of the Higher Attestation Commission (HAC), Academician, Rector of Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (RUDN), told about the importance of such documents for the Russian academic environment in his interview to the Russian state news agency RIA Novosti.

Why is the agreement between Russia and Hungary on recognition of academic credentials so important?

— Hungary is a country of the European Union, and Russia has not so many agreements on recognition of degrees with the EU member countries. I signed the similar document between Russia and France four years ago. And it is impossible to conclude such an agreement with Germany and some other countries with federal structure at the intergovernmental level: such countries do not have a unified system of diploma requirements— they differ in different territorial entities of these federations (lands, cantons, states, etc).

Meanwhile, such agreements significantly expand the horizons of academic and scientific cooperation. For example, Rector of Semmelweis University, the best medical university in Hungary, visited RUDN last week. He demonstrated that the mutual recognition of diplomas including those in medical education provides new opportunities for activating cooperation of leading universities of two countries.

Mutual recognition of academic credentials improves education quality as it encourages universities, department and faculty members to perform better, enter the international arena — all joint programs and projects must have updated content. Both cooperating parties are aimed at improving quality, given that information on program content, professors, education content and technologies is spreading quickly. Universities and departments try to improve the level of the joint programs being implemented.

— Talking about Europe, do we only have mutual recognition with France and Hungary?

— In these cases, it's rather automatic recognition. Let's exemplify. RUDN has the greatest number of joint programs among all Russian HEIs, about 150 joint programs. The considerable part of them — with the universities of Germany, England, Spain, Italy, aside from HEIs of the CIS or SCO countries. Many countries do not have a common state system of diploma validation, it is universities that act as guarantors of each diploma issued. And if they trust their partner university, each of them issues its own document of higher education following the implementation of a joint educational program.

— Must  diploma recognition be provided in the agreement?

— If agreements are signed at the country level, e.g., between Russia and France, Russia and Hungary, Russia and China, such diplomas will be recognized automatically. At the same time, Russia has such agreements simultaneously concluded with other countries, e.g. with the CIS countries. This means that these countries also recognize degrees automatically. Besides, we have signed an agreement with China so the joint program with China— two diplomas obtained - will be recognized at least in these two countries.

—  How does it help students, why are they interested?

— Simple academic cooperation— e.g. exchange education— when students are to go to another university, spend a semester or a year there and come back. And it usually happens that at home they are required to retake all or some of missed disciplines, even if they studied them at partner university. Certainly, this holds back student mobility severely. If the agreement provides that all subjects will be credited, that's a different matter.
But as part of joint double degree programs students can obtain diplomas of two universities at once. This is a more encouraging form of academic cooperation. For example, the parties agree that students of a certain Master's program spent their first year of study at one university, and the second year at partner university. It's a more common practice for Master's studies because about 70% of Master's disciplines are determined independently by Russian HEIs, they have more freedom. Although, agreements on double Bachelor's degrees are also signed. It is important that departments and universities harmonize their curricula and programs so that university teachers entrust each other with the task of giving lessons and take exams. Russian students spend a year or a semester in France, Germany or Spain— when graduating they receive the diplomas of RUDN and the foreign partner university. The credentials are recognized in both countries, which is not only interesting but also useful for students, they understand that this increases their chances for successful career.
Besides, academic cooperation encourages learning of foreign languages at both spoken and professional levels. For example, it is logical to develop programs with Hungary in Russian, Hungarian and English, and, similarly, with Germany, Spain, China, France, and other countries in corresponding languages. And an additional foreign language is always a competitive advantage.


— How are such programs codified by law?

— At the initiative of leading HEIs, St. Petersburg State University, Higher School of Economics, RUDN, and others an article on network cooperation between higher education institutions in implementing joint educational programs was included in the Federal Law "On education in the Russian Federation" of December, 2012. At the same time high-level Russian universities even without a relevant regulatory framework started implementing such programs much earlier.

— Sometimes such form of cooperation is said to have a corruption component.

— The corruption component here is much smaller then in case of our own educational programs. The point is that international academic cooperation is an indicator of a high hurdle which can be overcome only by leading universities. Their reputation depends on the quality of joint programs, double degree programs. All HEIs of Project 5-100 expand the network of international partners including the number of joint educational programs. It takes about a year on the average to create such a program and ensure its quality. Universities conduct negotiations, agree upon educational programs, approve official texts of working programs in detail.

— If, suppose, RUDN students pursue a joint program with a Hungarian university, will they be able to work in Hungary with this diploma? They do not need certificates and approvals — is this automatic recognition?

— Yes, this is automatic recognition of the diploma of a Hungarian university in Russia, of a Russian university in Hungary. Again, this is not always possible at the state level. But this is no obstacle for academic cooperation between universities which have a mutual trust in education quality. For example, we do not have a similar agreement with Germany— the German system is different, diplomas are recognized in lands, and not in the country in general. But students and universities implement joint programs with leading Russian HEIs. They understand that graduates with two diplomas have an employment advantage, especially at those companies and organizations cooperating with the Russian Federation. And that's not just the document that's a problem— as a rule, they speak Russian and German, understand our specific features, have required competencies.

—  We have moved from joint programs to network interaction of HEIs. What are specific features of multilateral academic cooperation?

— Joint educational programs, network interaction between leading universities is an inevitable path of development of academic mobility. As far back as in 2011, in the Year of innovations in the CIS, one of the three projects that won the competition of innovative projects in the CIS, was the Network CIS university. The results were summed up at the CIS Forum at MGIMO with the participation of the President of the Russian Federation. The Network CIS university was created at the initiative of RUDN, and, as a result, our Vice-Rector even was awarded a certificate of appreciation of the Council of Heads of the CIS countries,  a very prestigious and rare award.

Objectively speaking, before that time, when Andrei Alexandrovich Fursenko was the Head of the Ministry, the creation of the university of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization was underway—. The corresponding agreement between the Ministers of education of the SCO countries was signed.
The Network universities of the CIS and SCO countries were established about 10 years ago. They include leading universities of Russia and other states: 26 —in the Network CIS university, 80 — in the SCO university. Each country has a national rector's office of the Network university which is responsible for the quality of each educational program. Other universities have a monumental desire to join this academic mobility project but the selection criteria are unattainable for most applicants. Annually 1-2 HEIs are usually added to the Network university. This alone indicates that universities-members of these Network universities have strict requirements to the level of this cooperation ensuring high quality of joint educational programs, confidence in the results of this cooperation.


Table of Contents

Iraq and Belarus discussed cooperation in education and science

The international center of Uzbek culture opens at Kazan Cooperative Institute

Techno-optimists vs techno-skeptics: the International Open Innovations Forum will take place in Skolkovo

LSTU and University of Science and Technology Liaoning have signed a new cooperation agreement

X International Russian Higher Education Conference will take place at Higher School of Economics

Moscow State University holds top spot in Round University Ranking (Russian version)

Finland wants to abandon school subjects by 2020

Russia and Turkey have signed an agreement on cooperation in quality assurance of higher education

BRICS countries are stepping up technology transfer and transformation

India and Russia are reaching new heights of cooperation

The 'Study UK: Discover You' Exhibition will take place in Moscow and Saint Petersburg in October, 2019

Belarusian universities offer English-taught programs

The first foreign branch of MEPhI opened in Uzbekistan

Novosibirsk expands geography of international cooperation

Uzbekistan and the United States intend to develop cooperation in the field of higher education

Russia and the United Arab Emirates develop cooperation in higher education and science

Georgian universities offer free tuition to international students

A list of 3,500 free online courses starting in August

Next WorldSkills Competition will be held in China

Russia and China will continue cooperation in the field of education and mutual learning of languages

Universities of Excellence selected in Germany

Russian-German animal movement monitoring system ICARUS launched

45 WorldSkills Championship started in Kazan

Asian states want to join SCO

About half a million foreign students studied in China in 2018

President of Kazakhstan will stop assigning rectors of national universities

Germany became the fourth most attractive study destination for foreign students

The National Scholarship Programme of the Slovak Republic 2020

Achieving Greater ROE in Learning & Teaching With New Generation’s Pedagogy, Space and Technology

Aalto University becomes a member of the UNITE! alliance

Russia is preparing for bilateral years of Russian-Chinese science and technology cooperation

International students in Kyrgyzstan

The 4th Higher Education Leadership Forum

The webinar under the aegis of APQN took place as part of the EDU Atmosphere project

The National Centre for Public Accreditation has become a full member of ENQA

7th AQ Austria Annual Conference

Russia is planning to boost education and raise number of foreign students

15 Russian Universities in ARWU Ranking by Subject

Eurasian Higher Education Leaders’ Forum 2019

QS WORLDWIDE 2019 to be held in Almaty

HSE is the only Russian university in THE Young Universities Ranking-2019

Cooperation agreement signed by Kazan Federal University and Turkmen State Institute of Economics and Management

Recognition of the IAAR activities in the international educational space

International Quality Assurance Programme 2019

Universities of the Far East and the Arctic will strengthen ties with India

More international students take postgraduate programs in China

North-Eastern Federal University will train cultural industry experts

Moscow and Beijing will develop an educational tourism program for universities

25 Russian universities enter the QS World University Rankings 2020

Don State Technical University opened an educational platform in China