"The model for financing universities is undergoing significant changes," said Analytical Center expert Inna Karakchieva as she opened an expert meeting on the mechanisms for improving the methodology for rationing state expenditures on education taking into account the industry specific features of universities. According to Ms. Karakchieva, when financial mechanisms are standardized and transparent it not only ensures the accessibility of higher education but also guarantees equal opportunities.
2010 saw the start of efforts to standardize the budget financing of universities on the basis of a system of per capita financing standards that was supposed to have quickly increased competition between universities and improved the quality of educational services. In 2017 all the universities in the country adopted the same system for rationing the costs of rendering state higher education services.
"However, studies and discussions are still underway about how to take into account the industry specific features stemming from the labor and capital expenditures that go into implementing educational programs by universities offering training for specific industries such as agriculture or sports," Ms. Karakchieva said. The participants of the expert meeting discussed the Russian experience in this area, the position of the industry executive authorities and the best international practices.
The issue under consideration has to do not only with the amount of budget financing available to universities but also with improvements of the mechanisms of allocating human resources among industries, Ms. Karakchieva believes. In a situation where getting a higher education remains a social norm, the strengthening of the allocation mechanism through state assignments (on a competitive basis, taking into account the quality of the university education services) plays an important role in the financing of universities.
However, there is a risk that a higher education system that is too focused on standards may prove unable to correspond with the needs of the market and the population, experts believe. The reason for this discrepancy lies in two segments that exist in the Russian higher education market: the first is the state segment in which the state orders and purchases the services of universities and then there is the private segment in which the public and business are the customers and purchasers of education services. And that is another important aspect in improving the methodology for rationing the costs of state education services in the higher education system.
The participants in the expert meeting shared their views on this issue and had a constructive discussion of it.