Educational Migration into Secondary Vocational Institutions in the Context of Society's Well-being


In this article education and educational migration into secondary vocational institutions is considered as one of the most important factors of improving the well-being of the society. Actualization of such concepts as “knowledge economics” and “smart educations” and also the emergence of new tendencies on the world educational services market (internalization of education, commercialization of education; geographical changes in educational migration) contribute to it. In the context of such changes Russian education is capable of improving its competitiveness at the expense of reconsideration of the concept of vocational education. This article presents opportunities in stimulating educational migration into Russian secondary vocational institutions under current demographic situation and deficiency of qualified workers, and also specifies some system limitations and difficulties, which can be faced when realizing the strategy of educational services export. Some of them: bad potential students’ knowledge of Russian language, poor material and technical base, old-fashioned educational facilities and persisting differences in educational systems with the other leading countries of the world, inadequate legislation, etc. Listed in the article problems call for a better managed migration policy by using modern organizational and economic solutions, providing incentives and opportunities for the population influx.

Keywords: Educationwell-being of the societysustainable developmenteducational migration


The relevance of the work is determined by the necessity to increase competitiveness of the Russian vocational institutions on the world educational services market. The complex research of the possibilities and potential for studying of foreign citizens in vocational institutions will allow to get reliable view about the place of Russia on the global vocational education market and also to design recommendations on forming the migration policy contributing to sustainable development and providing the well-being of the society in conditions of growth of migration pressure.

Purpose of the study

The purpose of the study is the analysis of socio-economical and demographical effects of involvement foreign students into Russian system of vocational education and possibilities to improve competitiveness of Russia on the global vocational education market in the medium-term and long-term perspective as the factor of strengthening the well-being and sustainability of the society.

Research methods

The research is carried with the support of Russian Humanitarian Scientific Fund. Within the limits of system approach the methodology of legacy monitoring of actual federal legislation from the position of evaluating the quality of legacy regulations exists which allows to evaluate the fullness and effectiveness of legislative regulations of educational migrations in Russia, method of focused research of domestic and foreign experience, analysis of qualitative and quantitative results of sociological researches.


As the result of the research the importance of activities on development and stimulation of educational migration into vocational institutions in the context of maintaining social well-being was proved; the difficulties perspectives of development of educational migration into vocational institutions were defined. When making a research in the project, supported by Russian Humanitarian Scientific Fund, expert interviewing and depth interviewing with foreign students, creation of on-line base of projects which studied educational migration and also design of practical recommendations about forming migration policy in Russian vocational institutions (from CIS and far-abroad countries) were planned.

Education as the factor of improving well-being of the society

Modern sociocultural space is already in the state of permanent transformation for a long time. This paradigm shift has touched all the social important areas – cultural, economic and educational. That is why the question about the well-being of the society and its sustainable development gains the priority significance for today. Education is one of the most important factors which allows to influence the improving of well-being of the society because it forms not only professional skills but also the foundations of axiology and praxeology, mental and spiritual patterns (Vlasuk, 2011). At the same time education, as noticed above, is in the state of permanent paradigm transformation.

Previously, education less plays the role of “social lift” now; it is more of the service, but the service which can significantly influence the economic development of the country. Thus according to UNESCO forecasts the total amount of students in the world is expected to increase up to 260 million people by 2025, and the amount of foreign students (educational migrants) is expected to increase up to 5-7 million people, 2/3 of them are from Asia (India and China are leaders). Such forecasts became the result of several tendencies which were formed on the world educational services market. First of all this is internalization of education which contributes, firstly, to improving the availability of higher education and the developing of academic and student’s mobility and, secondly, to universalization of educational space (Bologna process integration, for instance).

No unimportant factor is the widespread commercialization of educational system. In this connection, education potentially represents a highly-profitable item in the general governmental income structure and begins developing as the export industry. The world leader in this field is USA, where the service rendering is the fifth the size export item of contribution to the national economy. Worth noticing geographical reorientation in the stream of student’s mobility (as we mentioned above the “Asian vector” develops gradually).

Tendencies of educational migration to Russia: problems and perspectives

It is necessary to understand that the today’s situation in the world which is accompanied by population explosion, different disasters, military conflicts and technogenic catastrophes, in the long run inevitably will be accompanied by population migrations. According to experts, Russia also can hardly avoid the strong migration pressure from Asian countries. In such conditions the worldwide migration strategy which allows grading risks and profiting from the migration is needed (Vishnevsky & Denisenko, 2016).

Meanwhile, if consider the problem in the context of social sustainability, foreign students are more favorable contingent for the country and its social institutes than the other categories of immigrants (refugees, unwilling migrations, representatives of different generations coming to country in order to reunite with their families). The stimulation and development of studying migration to Russia not only has the great influence on the demographical situation but also has a positive influence on the labor market. Even in case of student’s return to their homelands Russian government which realized their professional training wins anyway. The graduates bring Russian culture and Russian language to their countries; keep their contacts with Russian specialists and ex-groupmates, keep the formed in Russia professional approaches and preferences for the future. In the future life, including professional one, all these influence their choice in favor of Russian goods, services, technology choices and standards, encourages the growth of secondary stream because the person, who got high-quality education, proves his advantage by his own example to his surroundings (Gavrilov & Yatsenko, 2012). One of the important effects from education abroad for foreign students coming back from studying, on the one hand is realization of their roots, defining the place that their county takes in the global world, on the other hand, the respect to other cultures especially to the national culture of the host country. All these consequences encourage the growth of intercultural collaboration and understanding.

As for foreign student studying abroad provides additional possibilities in choice of higher-quality education in preferable trajectory of studying. Moreover, there can be no educational institution preparing specialists of this or that speciality in the native land of the student. No unimportant competitive advantage on the national labor market for the student studying abroad becomes a good knowledge of foreign language which he gets during the studying process and business relations which he get during the studying and internship (if it is provided).

Today educational migration to Russian higher education institutes is partly seized by researches but Russian institutes of secondary vocational education are not paid enough attention on the authors’ point of view.

Today there is a deficiency of qualified employees in Russia but there is no deficiency of specialists with higher education. In such conditions the evaluation of problems and possibilities to improve the competitiveness of vocational education institutes in Russia becomes quite essential. Thus the development of mechanical engineering factories, which managed to preserve themselves and now have the potential for expansion, is strongly complicated by the staff challenge which can be solved at the expense of labor migrants prepared in Russian vocational education institutes (Popov, 2014).

The training of foreign citizens in Russian vocational education institutes is the source of accumulation “educated” human capital which provides the economic growth of the host country. The necessity of educational migration development is also fixed in “The conception of public migration policy of Russian Federation until 2025”. At the same time mechanisms of realization of migration priorities in vocational education field are not working at its full capacity yet.

The number of foreign citizens who studied at Russian institutes of secondary vocational education during post-soviet period went to minimum (0.38% of their total student’s contingent of 2.2 million people). The number of foreign students in this Russian education segment by 2008/2009 was 7653 people and 6007 out of them studied full-time course, and this number hardly changed during last years (Arefjev, 2010). However, poor dynamics doesn’t mean inability of its correction when having systematic strategy of this vector of educational development. The increase of educational migrants in Russian vocational education institutes will allow the increase of prestige of domestic vocational education and attraction of investments to economy of the country (Mittelman, 2000).

Today the perspectives of mass educational migration to Russian vocational education institutes seem to be relatively good, however, some systematic constraints and difficulties, which can be faced when realizing the strategy of educational services export, should be considered. They are:

  • Bad potential students’ knowledge of Russian language (and today’s unpreparedness of vocational education institutes to teach in different languages).

  • Low quality of school grounding of CIS students and differences in school programs with RF ones.

  • Limited international competitiveness of Russian vocational education institutes which is connected previously with poor material and technical base, old-fashioned educational facilities and persisting differences in educational systems with the other leading countries of the world.

Low popularity of Russian vocational education (even in CIS countries) leads to the fact that potential students choose the place of studying in more industrialized countries where modern technologies and facilities are actively involved in educational process (such countries as Finland, Germany, Korea etc.).

And if points 1 and 2 could be solved by mass creation of special departments in Russian institutes of vocational education as it is already practiced in Russian higher education institutes and USSR (preparatory faculties), then to dispose the 3d constraint it is probably necessary to change the system from the inside.

The serious barrier for increase the number of foreign students in Russian institutes of secondary vocational education is the lack of the fixed legislation law of institutes of vocational education for target perception of foreign students. According to 56 item “On Education in the Russian Federation” (Federal Law № 273-FL dated 29.12.2012) the opportunity for target perception of students is assigned to Russian higher education institutes, however, CIS regions have the need for target perception on the vocational education level. In this connection today the initiative on including the separate item about target perception on the vocational education level is submitted to legislative duma. Probably in a short time this constraint would be disposed which would be reflected on the number of educational migrants.

The legal novel in 13 item “On the Legal Status of Foreign Citizens in the Russian Federation” which came into force on 1 September 2013 also should be mentioned. According to this item foreign citizens studying in institutes of secondary vocational education got the right to realize labor activity without official permission until they are 18 (when working during holidays or their free time in educational institutes and created household communities) (Federal Law № 115-FL dated 25.07.2002). The inclusion of this item in Russian legislation is certainly important step in Russian educational migration development because foreign students officially got the possibility to do their internship which is integral part of educational process.


In conditions of increasing competitiveness on the world educational services market and for qualified foreign labor force Russia needs the new look on foreign citizens’ inflow. It’s necessary to evaluate its geopolitical and economic views and also forecast risks connected with it. One of the priority state objectives for today is the preparation of young people for life in polycultural world and the key role in this process belongs to educational institutes of different levels, they have resources for migrants’ adaptation and for development of the respect to other cultures among the local population. All these helps to reduce the conflict potential and to strengthen the principles of good neighbourliness, when forming the comfort area for living in communities in the city. It contributes to reducing xenophobia moods and dethronement of myths and stereotypes about migrants and migrations, it also leads to sustainable systematic development of the society.

Russian activation in the CIS educational space is one of the steps on the way to strengthen positions of the country as a significant player on the international educational services market. The long-term work on this market expects investment of the resources (from material supply of education institutes to investments into communications and infrastructure, which are aimed at vocational and higher-educating students) into attractiveness of all levels of Russian educational system (from school to postgraduate level) and the change of character of academic mobility itself (students, lecturers, administration staff). At the same time it is necessary to compound the remedies which are taken by all the participants of educational market in Russia, and the design of the common strategy of educational development on the federal level.

A well-planned strategy for the development of educational migration and the use of additional incentives for settling of the Russian Federation by foreign students in the future will allow to get highly educated young people, qualified workers, already adapted to Russian conditions, which will contribute to social well-being and social cohesion.


This work was performed by the authors in Tomsk Polytechnic University was supported by Russian Humanitarian Scientific Fund within the research project № 16-03-00446: The potential of the Russian vocational institutions to improve competitiveness of Russia on the global vocational education market.


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17 January 2017

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Dryga,  ., Giniyatova, E., Poletaev, D., Dementeva, E., & Lenivtseva, Y. (2017). Educational Migration into Secondary Vocational Institutions in the Context of Society's Well-being. In F. Casati, G. А. Barysheva, & W. Krieger (Eds.), Lifelong Wellbeing in the World - WELLSO 2016, vol 19. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 159-164). Future Academy.