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Employers told what results they expect from the process of modernization of higher education


The Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology has published the admission control figures for budgetary places on bachelor's degree programs for the next academic year. As it turned out, their number will increase by about 8% and will reach 1077 in all areas of training. MIPT explained: this was done in order "to ensure that all applicants with high results in the USE or with success in the Olympiads" could become students of this university.

In contrast, the Empress Catherine II St. Petersburg Mining University has completely abandoned the so-called "first stage of higher education". Next summer, applicants there will be able to enroll exclusively in the specialty with a term of study of 5.5 years. This decision was made as part of a pilot project to improve personnel training for various sectors of the national economy.

"Forpost" decided to ask representatives of the business community how much demand there is today for bachelor's degree graduates in employment, and what results the industry expects from the process of modernization of higher education. For example, the Electroapparat plant - the largest manufacturer of high-voltage equipment for thermal and hydroelectric power plants, as well as large metallurgical and oil refining enterprises in the North-West - noted that they "do not experience any shortage of personnel", and therefore they are "very cautious" when it comes to recruitment. Unless, of course, we are talking about operators, designers and technologists with at least 3-5 years of work experience. Such employees are in short supply.


"If we talk about graduates, then, of course, preference is given to certified specialists or masters rather than bachelors. The whole point is that the latter, as a rule, do not even have the necessary theoretical basis in applied disciplines. In this regard, there is a need for their training, and this immediately increases the load on experienced workers and can adversely affect their efficiency," explained Andrei Karpov, Chief Designer of the plant.

As one of the main disadvantages of the bachelor's degree, he named the obvious lack of time allocated for practical skills. Young engineers, who study for five and a half years, know the production much better, as they have at least several times traveled there for internship. And this becomes a good support even for white-collar workers.

© Автор: Эльвира Гизатуллина / на фото: Андрей Карпов демонстрирует проректору Горного университета Сергею Новикову выключатель КРУЭ (комплектного распределительного устройства с элегазовой изоляцией)

"It is very useful for any employee to have experience of working at an enterprise. As our practice shows, people who transferred to office work from the shop floor perform much better than those who came "from the street". This is obviously due to a more accurate understanding of the processes they have to take part in. Those who know them from the inside are undoubtedly more competitive," said Andrei Karpov.

He emphasized that bachelor's degree students simply do not have time to "work with their hands" during their internship at production facilities, which takes only a few weeks. They are usually loaded with "simple routine tasks" that are not directly related to learning the skills they need. This is one of the most serious shortcomings of the two-tier education system.

Another disadvantage of bachelor's degree graduates is the lack of experience in working with software that is used at real enterprises. As the chief designer of Elektroapparat specified, the chances of getting a place at the plant will be much higher for young people "who have skills in using any of the three-dimensional CAD (computer-aided design systems), as well as performing independent calculations in Ansys or Comsol, for example, for strength or electrostatics".

цифровое моделирование
© Форпост Северо-Запад / Павел Долганов

The unified approach to the structure of higher technical education, which has been developed and is currently being implemented at St. Petersburg Mining University, involves the introduction of compulsory electives where additional competencies can be obtained. This includes IT. This is due to the fact that digital technologies have long become an integral part of the modern world, and the industry, of course, needs engineers with skills in working with specialized software.

Roman Kondratyev, General Director of the Drilling Technology Plant (Vorovsky OZBT), is much less picky about personnel selection. He says that he is ready to hire not only bachelors, but even students, "in the case, of course, if it does not compromise their education." Nevertheless, he fully supports the idea of higher school reform, as it would create a system of training specialists combining fundamental and narrowly focused knowledge.

"The return to mastering fundamental knowledge in the initial courses, as well as the possibility of obtaining additional competencies in IT, business communication is an extremely important initiative. Another priority is specialized knowledge in our field of activity. Of course, it is also important for students to understand where they would like to build their career and grow professionally," Roman Kondratyev emphasized.

Sergey Chibisov, Director for Corporate Affairs and Shareholder Ownership of Lebedinsky GOK, believes that graduates of specialization and master's degree programs differ from bachelors in many ways because they are more motivated to find employment in the real sector of the economy. Firstly, because "they have studied the profession longer, paid more attention to nuances and narrow specialized issues". And, secondly, because "they have experience in industrial practice".

Лебединский ГОК
© Сергей Чибисов

"The future young specialists must understand how they will be able to implement the acquired knowledge. While still studying at university, they should learn about the technologies and equipment used in a particular production facility. To see how the team lives, where they plan to work later on. To realize the importance of self-control and independent systematization of various data within the framework of their tasks. Without industrial practice, the duration of which should be at least 6 months, it is unrealistic. And what kind of practice do undergraduate students have? We can say that they simply do not have it. Therefore, of course, our plant welcomes the work that is currently underway at Mining University within the framework of the pilot project. It is very important for the Russian mineral and raw materials complex and many other sectors of the economy," believes Sergey Chibisov.

Araksiya Manucharova, manager of work with young specialists at Highland Gold, one of the leading gold mining companies in our country, called a bachelor's degree "an unfinished higher education." However, she specified that its graduates can still count on employment. But this is in the short term. If in 8-10 years the labor market will see a noticeable increase in the number of young engineers who have studied according to the modernized educational standards, the situation may well change.

Хайлэнд Голд
© Араксия Манучарова

"Of course, it will be much more convenient for business if the period of study for students of technical universities is increased to 5.5 years. During this time, if the emphasis is right, they will have time to acquire all the necessary practical skills, as well as fundamental and specialized knowledge. And we will have ready specialists who do not need to be trained and introduced to real production from scratch. The implementation of this idea, of course, will be a great help for many companies and organizations," believes Araksia Manucharova.

Probably everyone at least once in his or her life has heard the common joke that a university graduate who gets a job should forget everything he or she was taught at university and start learning the wisdom of the profession all over again. The saddest thing is that as far as bachelors are concerned, this is not a joke at all, but a harsh truth of life. The main task of the pilot project on modernization of the higher education system, which is currently being implemented at Mining University and then will be scaled to the whole country, is to change the state of affairs once and for all. And to establish such a system of personnel training, which will make it possible to level the problem of the deficit of specialists in the real sector of the economy and ensure a painless change of generations in the domestic industry.