Russia's withdrawal from the Bologna process implies, first of all, raising the level of basic higher education. This is one of the goals of the pilot project involving 6 domestic universities, which was launched in May this year by the decree of President Vladimir Putin. Today's first-year students of the St. Petersburg Mining University of Empress Catherine II will get not just an additional year and a half of study to the 4-year bachelor's degree, but a fundamentally higher quality engineering education closer to the needs of modern production. This is a necessary factor in achieving full sovereignty of the country.
The bar has been raised, respectively, for master's and postgraduate programs. The Institute of Specialized and Professional Education created for the new academic year will be engaged in their improvement at the Mining University.
"The new name of the master's degree is special training. The new name of postgraduate studies is the highest form of special training. Specialized education, in the old way Master's degree, we consider as narrow-profile training of a qualified specialist who already has a basic higher education. Terms of training will vary from 1 to 3 years depending on the direction. We envisage the possibility of internships to master the most advanced competencies, including abroad, but with an emphasis on further work in the country. The Mining University has a wide range of opportunities in terms of international cooperation.
As a result, the country will have personnel capable not only of working at the cutting edge of scientific and technological progress, but also of creating new knowledge and moving the Russian economy forward," said Vladimir Litvinenko, Rector of the Mining University.
Already today, the leading companies of the Russian mineral resources complex are ready to queue up for such specialists. For example, the innovative potential of students in improving the energy efficiency of technological processes is particularly relevant.
The university's industrial partners involve their leading specialists in teaching and provide sites for practical training.
Gorny is creating a new educational institution jointly with the Chinese University of Mining Engineering and Technology (Beijing). Rectors of the two universities signed a memorandum and a roadmap in July. They provide for the construction of campuses in both countries and joint scientific research. Education will be based on the same principles that are being implemented today by the Mining University within the framework of the Russian pilot project.
The joint efforts of university science and high-tech business give a chance to build a new educational model in a short period of time, free from the problems of the two-tier system (bachelor's degree, master's degree).
According to Dmitry Mardashov, Director of the Institute of Specialised and Vocational Education, the former system, in addition to reducing the quality of education as such, led to the loss of professional continuity:
"We often encountered the fact that students when entering the bachelor's programme chose one training profile, in the master's programme the second, and in the postgraduate programme sometimes the third. As a result, a specialist leaves the university with superficial knowledge that does not meet the modern requirements of the industry.
By the way, in this respect, Mining University used to be a good exception to the general rule. For example, in the mid-twenties I received a classical 5-year engineering education in the speciality "Development and Exploitation of Oil and Gas Fields". Then I continued working on the same scientific speciality at postgraduate school, defended my PhD thesis and started teaching at the relevant department at the Mining Institute. Fourteen years later, I got my doctoral thesis as a follow-up to the scientific school of enhanced oil recovery, which was formed by my teacher, Professor Mikhail Rogachev."
The renewed postgraduate programme at Gorny will start its full-fledged work this year. The main pass to the highest form of special training should not be a red diploma, but first of all the ability and desire for pedagogical and scientific activity. The final stage of the training will be the defence of a candidate's thesis and mandatory employment at one of the university departments.
According to Vladimir Litvinenko, Gorny in postgraduate studies prepares personnel for itself: "These are the cadres that educate the cadres".
The dominant role of a lecturer is lecturing based on the achievements of advanced science. The quality of lectures is the object of the university administration's closest attention. Chinese experience will also be relevant here. In the Celestial Empire, a multi-level evaluation system is successfully operating: surveying employers and graduates for feedback, comparing the popularity of courses by the number of enrolled students, engaging specialised consultants and freelance auditors from among employees of companies in the real sector of the economy, and online broadcasts from classrooms.
The Mining University considers specialised professional education as the next step after basic higher education.
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