One of the paramount objectives of Russian higher educational institutions is to integrate the education and science into world academic system, to train a specialist, able to meet top international requirements and solve urgent questions of civil society development.
The experience of leading Russian universities proves that international collaboration (including academic staff exchange, training foreign specialists in Russian higher educational institutions) is not only the necessary condition for maintenance Russian education up to the standard, but it is also the mechanism of geopolitical and external economic interests realization. The potential of Russian Higher School gives hope that Russia can become one of the leading world exporters of educational and scientific services.
It should be noted that in itself the academic staff exchange is not the most important task of universities, but the participation in such an activity is necessary for fulfillment of major objectives the Universities must target at.
According to the data of RF Ministry of Education, the direct funds intake as a fee, paid by foreign citizens for education, comes to 100 million USA dollars per year, the indirect intake (students' expenses for accommodation, food, entertainment, etc.) exceeds this sum twice/three times more. Nevertheless, these incomings total less than 1% in the world market of educational services, which certainly doesn't correspond to Russian universities potential.
In order to become an equal partner in the world market of educational and scientific services, Russian higher educational institutions should improve the organization of foreign citizens' enrollment and study process, develop and implement a package on effective use of Russian universities scientific and educational potential to meet the interests of each institution, Russia and international community as a whole.
From 1991 by the initiative of Russian universities and under support of Federal Department of Educational Management inter-universities' and regional centers of international collaboration and academic exchange are being set up and developed. These centers contribute to the effective realization of international and external economic activities in the sphere of education. Initiative unions, which are being established in regions, are the attempt of joint measures, aimed at moving Russia up in the world market of educational services.
The main subject of international educational system formation is a higher educational institution, which is mainly presented by universities putting into practice the following major activities directions:
- international collaboration in the sphere of educational and scientific activities (development and realization of joint projects on research and learning programs; holding international seminars, symposia, conferences and other joint events; international recognition of diplomas and scientific degrees, etc.);
- academic exchange of teachers and students (study in foreign universities, including distance learning; inviting teachers from overseas, etc.);
- co-operation with international, foreign national and regional organizations (including volunteer and youth organizations), foundations and programs in the educational and scientific sphere;
- establishment of a system to provide information and communication in the sphere of higher education.
The carrying out of these activities directions is based on the organizational and technical supplying (corresponding to the international requirements) of international departments activity.
Major directions of usurt international activity
1. International collaboration in educational and scientific sphere
Objective: to establish a modern system, corresponding to international standards of foreign citizens' training, which will raise USURT attractiveness rating in the world market of educational services and will facilitate its integration into world educational environment, increase of specialists' training both for Russia and for other countries and development of the specialties, which are the priorities and of great demand in the world market.
Being a subject of Russian Higher School, USURT can provide the following educational services in the international market:
- pre-university training for getting further education on humanitarian, social and economic and engineering specialties;
- full course of study following the program of getting a diploma of a specialist;
- full course of study following the program of getting Bachelor and Master Degree;
- "included" education;
- post-graduate and doctorate programs;
- various kinds of internships;
- professional development of all types specialists;
- specialists' retraining;
- courses of Russian language as a foreign language (including professional development courses for Russian language teachers in schools and universities abroad);
- additional educational services (separate disciplines, a series of disciplines, special courses).
To effectively realize educational services it is necessary to solve the following problems:
а) to establish the system of forming foreign students' contingent. In order to reach this aim, the following activities are necessary:
- having stable targeting of USURT at foreign specialists training on specific specialties for concrete countries and regions;
- setting up an overseas network of constant partners, organizational structures, providing a formation and in some particular countries - pre-training of foreign students for further study in USURT;
- establishing direct collaboration ties with Russian and foreign organizations, which enroll students abroad;
b) to improve the spheres of life and entertainment, cultural and aesthetic life, development of sports and physical training;
c) to update curricula to meet international requirements;
d) to increase the amount of various kinds of foreign specialists' postgraduate training and retraining;
e) to consider the expediency of establishment the Center of foreign specialists' professional development;
f) to establish an "International Economic Relations" department.
2. Academic exchange of teachers and students
Objective: to provide the study and scientific process with highly-qualified staff, to develop students' exchange, contributing to bringing together the educational standards, to the improvement of education quality, to USURT entering the International Education Area as an equal partner.
In order to develop the academic exchange of teachers and students USURT has to accomplish the following tasks:
- to participate in realization of intergovernmental, interregional contracts, agreements and protocols of collaboration in the sphere of higher education, which should consider mutual exchange of teachers, probationers and researches with foreign countries;
- to define the directions of the international academic exchange development, which are the priorities;
- to develop services infrastructure on providing international academic exchange;
- to participate in international research programs, conferences, held abroad;
- to implement scientific and engineer developments by orders and moving up to the world market of competitive high-end production;
- to review curricula and syllabuses, open new prestigious specialties, reorganization of the study process in order to bring it together with modern international standards;
- to establish steady collaboration ties with foreign educational institutions, which enroll Russian students;
- to make a fundamental change in the process of learning foreign languages in USURT (according to the developed conception).
3. Co-operation with international, foreign national and regional organizations
Objective: to provide the establishment of steady collaboration ties with Russian and foreign partnership subjects in the sphere of international education and to bring them into line with international practice requirements.
In order to reach these aims it is necessary to accomplish the following tasks:
- to define international and foreign organizations, which are the priorities, and have a similar to USURT type of activity;
- to provide conditions for international recognition of USURT educational documents, scientific degrees and titles;
- to analyze the existing normative-legal base, regulating the relationships between Russian and foreign partnerships' subjects in the sphere of specialists' training, and to bring it into line with international practice requirements (developments of model agreements, regulations on study, legal status, living conditions, medical provision for foreign citizens, etc.);
- to set up co-operation with foreign embassies and representatives;
- to organize work on preparing and submitting application forms for getting grants of international organizations, foundations and programs.
4. Establishment of a system to provide information and communication in the sphere of higher education
Objective: to enhance the effectiveness of providing information to international, educational and scientific-research USURT structures in the sphere of international education.
To establish such a system it is necessary:
- to realize marketing of educational services in the international intellectual labour market;
- to compose data base of international and national foundations and programs in the sphere of educational and scientific activity;
- to set up close information ties with international and national organizations, foundations and programs;
- to do marketing research of educational services market in the Urals region;
- to timely inform USURT sub-divisions about specific programs and terms of getting grants;
- to hold conferences and seminars with participation of international organizations, foundations and programs' representatives;
- to develop (together with Educational department, university scientific and research structure and its departments) syllabuses of USURT specialists' training and internship abroad in natural-scientific, technical and social and economic spheres;
- to set up a center of information collection and dissemination;
- to use modern information technologies;
- to establish a system of advertising information dissemination in Russia and abroad;
- to provide holding lectures of professional development, retraining and internship courses mostly in English;
- to improve and expand the work of foreign languages courses for USURT teachers and students;
- to organize systematically professional development events for staff of International Affairs and Information Center, other staff members of USURT structures, connected with implementation of international programs;
- to study foreign experience in the sphere of technique, technology, economics and management of railway transport.