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Values of modern Russian students in the context of the transformation of the higher education system

Research Article

Anna V. Garmonova Candidate of Political Science
National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia
ORCID ID=0000-0003-2656-0578
Daria V. Shcheglova Candidate of Political Science
National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia
ORCID ID=0000-0002-5196-8607
Irina F. Iumanova Candidate of Physical and Mathematical Sciences
Ural Federal University, Yekaterinburg, Russia
ORCID ID=0000-0002-1249-8825
Evgeniya A. Opfer Candidate of Pedagogics
National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia
ORCID ID=0000-0002-1253-5657
Values of modern Russian students in the context of the transformation of the higher education system.
Vestnik instituta sotziologii. 2021. Vol. 12. No. 4. P. 167-192

: 24.08.2021
This Article is downloaded: 173 times
Topic: Russian education as a mirror of social changes

For citation:
Garmonova A. V., Shcheglova D. V., Iumanova I. F., Opfer E. A. Values of modern Russian students in the context of the transformation of the higher education system. Vestnik instituta sotziologii. 2021. Vol. 12. No. 4. P. 167-192
DOI: https://doi.org/10.19181/vis.2021.12.4.758


The article is dedicated to the assessment of the correlation between the values of self-expression and survival among modern Russian students. The relevance of this topic is determined by the need to understand how to change the higher education system so that it correlates with the values of modern students and applicants, meets their expectations and needs. The article examines two aspects of the transformation of higher education: the institutional limitations of the modernisation of higher education and the value orientations of modern Russian students. Value orientations were operationalised using the approach of R. Inglehart and K. Welzel, based on the dichotomy of values of self-expression and survival, and institutional conditions - through the reproduction by the higher education system of the institutional trap “path-dependence”, to overcome which "critical mass" of subjects with dominant values of self-expression is required. The main research question was whether Russian bachelors have developed values of self-expression. The empirical basis of the study was the data of a mass survey of Russian students of 19 universities within the framework of the project "The Birth of a Russian Master's Degree" with the support of the Vladimir Potanin Charitable Foundation.

The research toolkit included a number of categories reflecting the meanings that students use when analysing the reasons for choosing a university, the direction of training and learning outcomes. One of these categories is the category of choice (of the university and field of study). The data obtained indicate that when answering the question about the reasons for choosing a university and the direction of study, there are, on average, two and a half times more students who chose the values of self-expression than those who are clearly focused on the values of survival. This suggests that, firstly, the importance of the values of emancipation (freedom of choice and development) in higher education is growing. Secondly, the potential for changes at the value level is accumulated in groups of students with different cultural capital - that is, we can talk about universal tendencies among the entire studied group. Thirdly, the choice of the direction of study turned out to be a more significant factor in the distribution of values than the choice of a university, that is, the motives for choosing a student are biased towards the content of their professional education in the first place, and the prestige of the university in the second place. Based on their analysis of the collected data, the authors come to the conclusion that modern Russian students are ready for meaningful changes in higher education. The only question is what answer to expect from the system.


higher education in Russia, path-dependence, values, transformation of higher education in Russia, students´ value orientations, strategy for the development of higher education, theories of modernisation, institutional traps

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