NETWORK INTERACTIONS OF UNIVERSITIES AS A FACTOR OF DEVELOPMENT OF THE HIGHER EDUCATION IN THE RUSSIAN MACRO-REGION
Ural Federal University named after the first President of Russia B.N. Yeltsin (RUSSIAN FEDERATION)
About this paper:
Conference name: 9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 3-5 July, 2017
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:Today there are about 900 universities functioning within the system of the Russian higher education, almost 300 of them are located in two metropolitan cities – Moscow and St. Petersburg. All the rest are located in 83 regions of the country, united in 8 macro-regions, called federal districts. The concentration of universities is very uneven – from 25 minimum to 140 maximum. However, quantitative inequality does not seem to be an only issue. The main problem is related to the fact that within those regions and micro-regions these universities are almost not connected, they often duplicate each other's activities and at the same time are separated and distanced from each other.
Being under the authority of the federal units and receiving budgetary financing from the center, they are not fully concerned about the problems of their macro-regions and regions and do not contribute to the systematic development of the higher education. Meanwhile, in speaking about these territories, there are a lot of specific economic, social, scientific, cultural issues of regional and macro-regional level, that need to be addressed. This requires network interactions between universities, their joint coordinated partnership efforts.
The object of the study is higher education in one of the most developed macro-regions of Russia – the Ural macro-region. The subject of the study is network interactions between its universities. The goal is to analyze the possibilities and perspectives for constructing these interactions for solving a wide range of macro-regional problems. The research hypothesis is that, due to the inclusion of network interactions between universities in a common educational space, the possibility of transforming the higher education of the macro-region into a driver of its social, economic, scientific and cultural development can be created.
The article shows interdisciplinary research methodology, which examines the principles of the theories of network, system and institutional analysis, as well as the theories of exchange, stakeholders and resource dependence. The empirical base of the research includes statistics of 50 Ural universities, the results of a semi-formalized in-depth expert interview (N = 30).
As the result of the study the possibilities for designing various types of network interactions between universities and the stages of this process were identified. The main types of interaction include creation of joint educational programs for the preparation of bachelors, masters, postgraduate students in the same or similar areas of training could be introduced, as well as joint research activities. An important condition should be provided – the established network interactions should be of social, economic, scientific and cultural interest not only for the universities, but also for the macro-region itself. Therefore, both the universities themselves and the authorities structures of the macro-region should initiate their creation and step-by-step development.
Keywords: Network interaction between universities, Russian macro-region, development of the higher education.