5 facts on the current education market in Russia

Russia’s internationalisation efforts have expanded over the last decade, and the outlook for continued growth in the future is promising. Russia remains an emerging education market and is ambitious in its aims to become a bigger player in international mobility.

Education Intelligence highlights five facts about the education market in this country.

1. Consumer expenditure on education is rising

In 2016, consumer spending on education totalled US$7.3 billion, and although this figure has decreased in recent years, it is expected to rise in the coming years to reach US$10.03 billion in 2021. The OECD indicates that Russia spends a high proportion (23.1%) of household income on tertiary-level education but only three per cent on primary, secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary (2013), reflecting the comprehensive state provision at all the non-tertiary levels. Private education began to emerge in the early 1990s, and while the market remains small, it has seen significant growth in recent years, particularly in wealthy urban areas, as parents seek an international, or European, education that they believe will prepare students for work and further study at home or abroad.

2. Strong commitment to higher education

With an extensive and well-established higher education sector, Russia had 530 public and 366 private universities in the 2015-2016 academic year (Rosstat). Tertiary attainment is high with 54 per cent of adults (25-64 years) having attained a tertiary education compared to the OECD average of 35 per cent. Among adults aged 25-34 years, 58 per cent have a tertiary education, higher than the OECD average of 42 per cent (OECD). Tertiary education has become a ‘social imperative’.

3. Internationalisation is a priority

Russia has been implementing the Bologna process since 2003, and the government is undertaking extensive reforms designed to improve the quality and visibility of its higher education sector. In 2012, the government announced the 5-100 initiative to place five Russian universities among the world’s top 100 by 2020. Project 5-100 was launched to enhance the competitiveness and prestige of Russian institutions in global research and education. The internationalisation of research, as well as faculty and the student population, are central to this plan, and researchers are also being encouraged to publish in international rather than local journals. Investment in institutes such as Novosibirsk University and the Russian Academy of Sciences means that Russia is well on its way to creating world-class research centres.

4. Growing popularity of Russia as a study destination

In 2015, around 226,400 international students were studying in Russia (UNESCO), with numbers almost quadrupling since 2007 as the country has evolved to become one of today’s leading study abroad locations. Russia was the sixth top destination for the world’s mobile tertiary-level students in 2015, hosting almost five per cent of this international cohort following the US (19.7%), UK (9.3%), Australia (6.4%), France (5.1%) and Germany (5%) (UNESCO). Foreign students in Russia come mainly from Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries such as Belarus, Armenia and Kazakhstan, where the reputation of Russian higher education is strong and Russian language proficiency is high.

Main building of Moscow State University

5. Heightened interest in study abroad among Russians

Russia has become a major sending country in recent years as the demand for quality higher education has grown, and incomes have risen. UNESCO reports that 56,328 Russian tertiary students headed overseas to study in 2016, almost double the number who studied abroad in 2000. Interest in study abroad remained resilient despite a struggling economy, the 2014 fall in oil prices and economic sanctions, with outbound numbers between 2013 and 2015 increasing from 51,262 to 56,483. The rising interest among Russian students in studying abroad has been mainly due to the increasing cost of tuition at universities at home as well as the country’s improved economic outlook and stability. Preferred destinations among Russian students are in Central and Eastern European countries, where education is usually more competitively priced with a comparable quality of teaching.


20/11/2017 - 04:34