However, irrespective of the applied quota distribution mechanism there is a need for bureaucratic control over it that is fraught with corruption and, consequently, is not optimal. Besides, distribution of quotas instead of variable duty also does not solve the key problems of sugar market: non-regulated import of syrup and other sugar products, “grey” supplies from the CIS countries and excessive stocks.
In this situation it seems rational to perfect the effective mechanism in three basic ways:
1) to introduce simultaneous tariff protection measures for all sugar products;
2) to constrain import of sugar and sugar products from countries-members of the Customs Union by quantitative quotas until their trade regimes are harmonized;
3) to shorten the time span between the period when a certain rate of variable import duty is applied and the period, the NYBOT price wherein is taken as the basis for its calculation.
Karlova N., Serova E.
Russia and the Bologna Process: the current state of the problem The development of the Russian higher education system takes into account the general guidelines of the Bologna Process. Since recently, there have been put forward many mixed opinions concerning the necessity and the nature of Russia’s participation in the Bologna Process, primarily in connection with the intensifying dynamism of this process and cooperation between EU and Russia. Formulation of the national position with respect to this issue first of all requires the development of a clear understanding of the total variety of phenomena constituting the Bologna Process, which has been implemented by EU since 1984, when the European Commission initiated the creation of a number of tools aimed at the facilitation of mobility of human capital on the European labor market.
The first instrument from this toolkit is the network of national information centers for academic recognition and mobility existing in all EU member countries. The network provides competent information to citizens and universities as concerns the possibilities and requirements pertaining to the academic recognition of degrees and individual courses of studies at foreign universities.
The second tool is the European credit transfer system, which ensures transparency and comparability of the studies, and, accordingly, the academic recognition of qualifications and competences. It was initially created in the framework of the European “Erasmus” program in 1988, at present it includes more than 1100 universities and a network of ECTS Helplines. Compatibility of learning plans permits students to choose programs answering their qualification and later these studies are recognized by other universities.
The third tool is the Diploma Supplement, which universities prepare in accordance with the model (standard) worked out by the joint task force including experts of the European Commission, Council of Europe, and UNESCO. The standard exists in 11 languages and presents a full description of the subject, level, context, and contents of education. The Diploma Supplement facilitates academic mobility and mobility of graduates on the labor market. At the same time, while protecting independency of universities, the Diploma Supplement offers the general framework of cooperation, provides to An indirect sign of lacking compromise is the shift of Russia’s Sugar Union management.
partner educational organizations and citizens with important information about university programs, and facilitates students’ promotion abroad.
The fourth instrument is the EURYDICE information network, in the framework of which there is prepared and distributed reliable and comparable information about national systems of education in the EU member countries. EURYDICE was established in 1980 on the basis of the Resolution of the council of ministers of education signed in 1976, which set forth the first cooperation program in the sphere of education. At present the network embraces 30 countries. The offices in Brussels and member countries carry out comparative analysis of policies and organization of national education systems, publish surveys and statistical indicators across specific issues.
Therefore, the process of formation of the European area of higher education has a 20 years long history. The legal basis of the process is constituted by articles 149 and 150 of the EU treaty, it is a part of the general integration process, accompanies and fixes this process. However, this process is far from its completion, it encounters serious problems, public discussions of related risks and quality problems, preservation of national values, formation of confidence environment, autonomy and role played by universities as concerns the attainment of objectives of creation of the European area of education.
In June of 1999, in Bologna, the ministers of education from 29 European countries signed the Declaration about the European area of higher education (the Bologna Declaration). The key objectives to be achieved by 2010 include:
1. Adoption of a system of easily readable and comparable degrees, also through the implementation of the Diploma Supplement.
2. Adoption of a system essentially based on two main cycles, undergraduate and graduate. Access to the second cycle shall require successful completion of first cycle studies, lasting a minimum of three years. The second cycle should lead to the master and/or doctorate degree as in many European countries.
3. Establishment of a system of credits - such as in the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) system - as a proper means of promoting the mobility of students and academic and administrative staff. Adoption of the general framework approach to qualifications of bachelors and masters, ensuring of “compatibility” of degrees, separate courses and credits. Creation of a system promoting cooperation in quality assurance (on the basis of the European Network of Quality Assurance in Higher Education and organization of information and exchange programs.
4. Promotion of mobility of students and academic and research staff.
5. Promotion of European co-operation in quality assurance with a view to developing comparable criteria and methodologies.
6. Promotion of the necessary European dimensions in higher education.
Following the broad discussions held in the course of conferences and meetings organized by the RF Ministry of Education in 2002 through 2003, there was taken the decision to start the preparation for implementation of the Bologna Process in Russia, there was worked out a special action plan aimed at implementation of the provisions of the Bologna Declaration in the system of higher education in the Russian Federation.
Russia began to develop certain aspects of the Bologna Process even before the signing of the Bologna Declaration. For instance, yet in the early 1990s Russia took steps aimed at the introduction of a system of higher education based on two main cycles: bachelor and master. In 1994, there was approved the introduction in Russia of the system of education envisaging bachelor and master degrees alongside with the traditional system of education.
According to the federal law of the Russian Federation “On higher and postgraduate education” (adopted in 1996), the autonomy of higher education establishments was enhanced, what permitted to introduce the system of credits such as in the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) system as a means of promoting the mobility of students.
In the period from 2002 till 2004, the Ministry of Education of the Russian Federation carried out an experiment concerning the introduction of the credit system in higher education institutions. The experiment was conducted on the voluntary basis, and in present the number of institutions of higher education participating (fully or partially) in the experiment concerning the introduction of the system of credits reached 31 state and private establishments. In 2002, there was elaborated and distributed among higher education institutions the Methodology of calculation of credits for Russian higher education establishments. This methodology is adapted for the specifics of the Russian education system and recommends higher education institutions to use certain procedures governing the calculation of credits compatible with the ECTS. Therefore, the higher education institutions taking part in the experiment should:
• Master the said methods; determine possible forms of organization of the educational process on the basis of credits;
• Work out mechanisms permitting students to form their individual educational trajectories basing on the selection of individual courses;
• Assure rational planning of the amount of work of students and academic staff;
• Introduce modern forms of organization of the educational process, including the rank based system of assessment of students’ progress.
It should be noted that the experiment aimed at the introduction of the system of credits was not financed from the federal budget, while the expenditures relating to the organization, methodological, and technological support of the experiment were rather significant.
The federal law of the Russian Federation “On higher and postgraduate education” promotes mobility of students and academic staff. Autonomy of higher education institutions permits them to work out and implement student exchange programs and on-the-job training of students and academics at other higher education establishments in Russia and other countries. At present, the preparation for the introduction of a diploma supplement compatible to the European standards on the whole territory of the Russian Federation is underway, the issue should be settled by 2006. In order to assure high quality of education, Russia started elaboration of compatible criteria and methods of evaluation of the quality of education, this work should be completed by the end of 2005.
On the initiative of the Duma Committee for Education and Science, in June of 2003 the State Duma of the Russian Federation appealed to M. Kasyanov, the head of the Government stating that it was necessary for Russia to sign the Bologna Declaration about higher education. At the Berlin conference of the Ministers of education of European countries held on September 19, 2003, there was taken the decision to include Russia in the group of European countries developing the European area of higher education. Alongside Russia, the document was singed by Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, and Vatican. By now, the Declaration about the European area of higher education has been signed by 40 ministers of education from different countries, and Russia will participate as an official partner of the Bologna club.
The official inclusion of Russia in the Bologna Process had mixed responses on the part of the educational community. In the course of the ongoing discussion, there were detected both problems and difficulties, and positive consequences of the accession to the European area of higher education. The negative responses may be in essence reduced to the following arguments: (a) Russian education is at risk to loose its original character and accumulated positive academic traditions; (b) Russia will experience an intensive brain drain after introducing compatible diplomas; (c) difficulties of the transition period require significant expenditures on the part of higher education institutions, while perspectives of compensation are not apparent.
The said negative assessments to a greater degree result from differences existing among Russian higher education establishments. While certain higher education institutions have already been working on the European level and even exceeds it as concerns some profession lines, so the switching to the use of the aforesaid tools for them will be easy16, for many other higher education institutions the costs of reorganization may be prohibitively high. A significant increase in the amount of time academics staff will have to dedicate to the educational process not supported by an adequate raise in salaries may result in deteriorating quality of the academic staff and general deterioration of quality of higher education.
However, this transition will incur costs relating to the mass mastering of the new forms of work with students in the framework of a sharply increased amount of independent, but controlled by the educators, studies on the part of students. The major consequence of these developments will be a sharp reduction of the academic staff possibilities to earn money outside higher education institutions. At present, at the “advanced” higher education establishments such additional earnings significantly exceed official salaries of academic staff.
At the same time, the systemic inclusion in the Bologna Process requiring adjustment of methods, organization, and financing of the higher education system will benefit the Russian education by:
(a) an increase in its efficiency;
(b) equal status of Russian education establishments and Russian citizens in the world community;
(c) settlement of the problems of recognition of Russian diplomas in other countries;
(d) consolidation of the position of the Russian education system on the world market of educational services.
The integration of the Russian education system in European structures will permit to improve the standing of different sectors of the Russian economy on the world market due to higher culture and better organization of economic activities, increase the conductivity for technological progress across a broad range of different areas.
It should be noted that participation in the Bologna Process not in the least requires the unification of higher education systems. This participation is an evidence of the striving for compatibility of educational systems, enhancement of their dynamism and adequacy to the needs of individuals and labor markets. The only alternative for Russia in the case it rejects participation in the Bologna Process is parochialism of the Russian higher education system, deterioration of its competitive capacity, voluntary rejection of an efficient use of advantages and achievements enjoyed by the domestic higher education system.
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