Russia’s New Reputation Rankings Will Rival Times’ List

There was not a single Russian university in the top 100 of schools as ranked on academic reputation recently by the Times. In response, Education Minister Andrei Fursenko has stated that Russia is in the process of creating their own rating system.

Dr. Fursenko told the Interfax news agency that ratings were an “instrument of competitive battle and influence” and should not be monopolized. He said that Russia was working with international specialists to create its own “international and universally recognized” university rating, Interfax reported this month.

There have been widespread reports that Russia is suffering from an East-West ‘brain drain’ and that the Russian higher education system is struggling to get the resources it needs to operate, that its academic community is isolated and its research not free from government control, while its brightest minds usually leave for the West. Dr Fursenko’s comments come in the wake of earlier comments from Putin that Russia should develop its own ranking system instead of leaving a valuable method of labor market control in the hands of Western powers.

“You must know that certain experts think that these Western ratings are, in fact, an instrument for raising their competitiveness on the labor market,” Mr. Putin said at their meeting, where they discussed a law that would recognize foreign university diplomas in Russia. “That’s why we need to be very cautious about them, and work out our own objective method of evaluating the quality of education that graduates of these universities receive.”

Moscow State University, well respected for its math and physical sciences programs, was ranked 33rd last year and they are taking the drop to nearly 300th place personally. They highlight a new question this year which asks ‘Which university would you send your most talented graduates to for the best postgraduate supervision?’ This harms the prestige of Russian universities as they have no official postgraduate designation.

Russia is pumping money into programs that raise their universities’ international profiles but is also committed to revamping elementary and high school education.