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Persistence and Change in the Governance of Post-Soviet Higher Education Systems

  • After 25 years of transformations of higher education systems in Post-Soviet countries, the single Soviet model of higher education has evolved into fifteen unique national systems, shaped by economic, cultural, and political forces, both national and global (Johnstone and Bain 2002). International agencies such as the World Bank and the OECD have lobbied for certain policies, while the Bologna Process has created isomorphic pressures, many post-soviet countries have yielded to albeit with different motivations and unclear outcomes (Tomusk, 2011). Comparative research on these developments, however, is scarce and has primarily discussed them in terms of decentralization, marketization and institutional autonomy (Heyneman 2010; Silova, 2011). My PhD thesis conducted between 2014 and 2017 at the University of Leipzig and the Higher School of Economics (Moscow), has reconstructed the developments in terms of driving forces and path dependencies at national, regional and global level have promoted convergence and divergence in the governance of higher education in post-Soviet higher education space, studying in detail the three Post-Soviet, non-EU Bologna signatory states Russia, Moldova and Kazakhstan. Drawing on work by Becher & Kogan (1992), Clark (1983), Jongbloed (2003), Paradeise (2009); Hood (2004); Dill (2010) and Dobbins et al. (2011), the research has conceptualized and analyzed the governance of higher education systems by analyzing change actor roles, power, structures and processes in four areas: 1. Educational Standards, quality assessment, and information provision; 2. Regulation of admissions to higher education; 3. Institutional structures, decision-making and autonomy; 4. Higher education financing and incentive structures. Explanatory approaches draw upon perspectives of path dependence and models of institutional change drawing on work by North (1990), Steinmo (1992), Weick (1976), Pierson (2000) and Witte (2006). The study rests on the one hand on extensive literature analysis of previous academic publications, reports by international organizations such as the World Bank, OECD, and the EU, national strategy papers. Furthermore, over 60 semi-structured expert interviews were conducted with representatives of State organizations, HEIs and other stakeholder groups engaged in the governance of higher education. The outcomes of interviews were used to situate developments in the particular social-political and societal contexts and to triangulate policy documents with various stakeholder perspectives, in order to reconstruct how and why certain policy changes came about, were implemented or abandoned. The results show a differentiated picture: Powerful ministerial control over HEIs remains everywhere, but the means are changing. While in Moldova the political volatility and underfunding have all but made substantial reforms impossible, Russia and Kazakhstan have adopted governance and management practices from New Public Management in idiosyncratic ways. While Kazakhstan has embarked on an authoritarian-driven decentralization program, Russia has created a two-tier system of state steering through financial incentivization and evaluation on the one hand, and tight oversight, control and intervention on the other.

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Author:Lukas Bischof
Document Type:Conference Proceeding
Date of Publication (online):2018/05/14
Publishing Institution:Deutsche Universität für Verwaltungswissenschaften
Release Date:2018/05/14
Tag:GfHf-Jahrestagung 2018
Documents ordered by chairs:Lehrstuhl für Hochschul- und Wissenschaftsmanagement (Univ.-Prof. Dr. Michael Hölscher)
Access Rights:Frei zugänglich
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung-Nicht kommerziell-Keine Bearbeitung