Industry presses ministry to address HE jobs outcomes

Russia’s leading companies, banks and state corporations, have prepared a petition calling on the national Ministry of Education and Science to design measures to improve the quality of higher education offered by national universities and change the curricula taught by them.

The companies, which are the largest employers in Russia, are unhappy with the current level of teaching at the majority of domestic universities, as well as academic courses offered by them.

According to the industry leaders, there is a need to revise the current courses offered by universities due to a low demand for graduates of such courses in the Russian labour market.

The seriousness of the situation is confirmed by official statistics. According to Yulia Holomtseva, head of the section of employment of the Department of Labour and Social Protection of the Moscow city government, up to 51% of unemployed young people in Moscow are graduates of higher education institutions and these figures are growing steadily.

According to Roman Ermolenko, deputy head of the human resources department of Eldorado, one of Russia’s largest consumer electronic retail chains and one of the leading employers in Russia, there is a need to systematise the number of demanded specialties in Russia, with their further correlation with academic courses which are taught by national universities.

Universities and their graduates should also pay more attention to internship programmes, which are offered by many companies, Russian businesses say.

Irina Arzhanova, executive director of the National Training Foundation, a public association, which specialises in the design of federal programmes in the field of higher education, a lack of serious analytics during the design of their academic courses and programmes currently remains one of the major problems of Russian universities, which results in too many graduates not being able to secure jobs.

She said the current courses in the domestic universities are designed without taking into account the current realities and business environment in Russia and the situation in the country’s labour market.

In the meantime, the Russian government says it is aware of the existing problems and is considering possible solutions.

Commenting on the issue, Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said: “The range of existing courses and the current level of training of students in the majority of Russian universities do not comply with the current economic situation in Russia and the demand of its labour market.

“This applies to all domestic universities, while the most complex situation is observed in the case of private universities. Obviously there is a need to revise academic courses offered by national universities as many of them were designed as far back as during the Soviet times and are completely outdated at the present time.”

Ministry plans

The Russian Ministry of Education and Science says it is planning to start work on measures to improve the quality of higher education at Russian universities in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, some Russian universities have already started the revision of their courses.

Julia Kamasheva, vice-rector for academic affairs of the Kazan Institute of Economics, Management and Law, one of Russia’s leading institutions in the field of economics and management, said all the universities should start a regular monitoring of the jobs market.

She said: “In addition, there is a need to create conditions for the integration of national universities and businesses. This should take place in the form of cluster development. Such schemes have already been introduced in some regions of the country.”