Regulation Of Student Academic Rights In Russia And Abroad: Comparative Analysis

Abstract

The article explores approaches to the realization of academic rights of students in Russia and abroad from the standpoint of the humanitarian educational paradigm and the Bologna Declaration. There are four groups of factors influencing the realization of the academic rights of students: strategic, regulatory, administrative, subjective. The results of a comparative analysis of strategic, legislative and regulatory documents regulating the realization of academic rights of students in the Russian Federation and in the countries participating in the Bologna Process and CIS participants are presented. The authors analyzed the internal acts of domestic universities that regulate implementation of academic rights of students; judicial practice, concerning their realization; legal conflicts and problems are revealed. Recommendations are presented on how to improve the national institute for the realization of academic rights of students from the standpoint of implementing the humanitarian educational paradigm, further development of a single educational space for the countries participating in the Bologna process and the CIS.

Keywords: Academic rights of studentsBologna processdomestic and foreign legislation in the field of educationhigher educationhumanitarian educational paradigm

Introduction

Full-fledged realization of academic rights of students is an important indicator and condition for the democratization of education, the implementation of the humanitarian educational paradigm. The most relevant is the solution of this problem in vocational education, since during the period of education in college, the university forms the student's position regarding the realization of his rights - subjective or objective, active or passive, etc. This problem is given significant attention, both in domestic and in foreign studies (legal, sociological, pedagogical, psychological).

Russian scientific works are devoted to the problems of protection of individual academic rights of students, including works: to protect against unreliable information (Alekseeva, 2016; Razinkina et al., 2018); to protect health (Khayrullina, 2017) to receive a State Academic Scholarship (Lisitsyn, 2017), etc. The research raises questions of informing students of higher educational institutions about academic rights and duties. Naumova (2017) justifies the need to study the rights and duties of students in the educational institutions, which, in her opinion, is an indispensable element of the moral development of the student's personality. Fomin, Kulikovа, & Demashovа (2017) studied the implementation of the rights of students to transfer, to receive higher education in various educational institutions of the Russian Federation in the context of compliance of the educational organizations to licensing requirements, accreditation indicators, but the issues of compliance of Russian and foreign legislation are not studied in this paper.

Foreign scholars are exploring how students at various levels (general education, bachelor, master, etc.) understand their academic rights and how they participate in the implementation processes (Burden, 1993; Veiga, Burden, Pavlovic, Moura, & Galvãol, 2014). The term “students' engagement in school” is widely used in scientific theory and educational practice, which denotes the social activity of students, their participation in the life of the school, subjectivity in the realization of their academic rights (Hart, Zneider, & Pavlovic, 1996; Veiga, 2001; Veiga, 2013; Veiga et al., 2012). The realization of the rights of students is considered in international studies in the context of interaction between a teacher and students (Zyngier, 2007), the prevention of professional deformities of the teacher (Covell, McNeil, & Howe, 2009), the organization of psycho-corrective work (Ward & Birgden, 2007).

There are practically no comparative studies devoted to the analysis of the conformity of Russian and foreign legislation, educational and legal practice in the field of implementation of academic rights of students relevant from the standpoint of the humanitarian paradigm and the Bologna process. This article is designed to fill this gap to some extent.

Problem Statement

In the light of the implementation of the objectives of the Bologna Agreement, the development of a single European educational space and the formation of a single educational space for the CIS member states we need to address an urgent task of coordinating actions of Russia, the CIS countries and European countries participating in the Bologna process as to how best implement the academic rights of students.

As shown by the analysis of the scientific literature, Russian and domestic educational and judicial practice, strategic, legislative and regulatory acts, the implementation of academic rights of students in higher education programs in Russia has a number of problems, both general and individual character.

In this article, we consider the strategic and regulatory factors affecting the implementation of the academic rights of students from the perspective of the humanitarian paradigm, including the inconsistency of Russian and foreign approaches and legal norms.

Research Questions

To solve the problem, a comparative analysis (in the light of the main provisions of the Bologna process) was carried out to study the realization of the academic rights of students in Russia and abroad, including Russian and foreign educational legislation and internal local acts of Russian universities, as well as materials of judicial practice concerning the implementation of these rights.

We put the following research questions: What are the main principles and approaches to the implementation of academic rights of students at universities in Russia and abroad? Are there any differences or contradictions? How fully are the academic rights of students reflected in internal local acts of Russian universities? Are there any problems in Russian universities related to the implementation of academic rights of students, and how are they reflected in educational and judicial practice? What changes need to be made in the Russian regulatory framework to ensure the implementation of academic rights of students from the standpoint of the Bologna Declaration and the humanitarian educational paradigm?

Purpose of the Study

The goal of the study is to identify key approaches to the realization of the academic rights of students in Russia and abroad, to analyze the practice of their implementation in the light of the main provisions of the Bologna Process and the humanitarian educational paradigm, to identify typical problems, and to offer solutions.

Research Methods

The following research methods were used to achieve the goal: a comparative analysis of strategic documents, regulations, regulating the realization of academic rights of students in the countries participating in the Bologna process, in the Russian Federation, in the CIS countries; a scientific description (based on the analysis) of key approaches and principles for the realization of the academic rights of students (in Russia and abroad); identification and analysis of inconsistencies in the main provisions of the Bologna Process (if any); analysis of materials of domestic judicial practice related to the implementation of academic rights of students, identification of legal conflicts and gaps; analysis of local acts of Russian universities, regulating the implementation of academic rights of students, identifying typical problems.

Findings

Solving the first task of our research, we systematized the key provisions of the Bologna Process (Sorbonne Declaration, 1998) and the humanitarian educational paradigm (Sen’ko, 2018) and compared academic rights granted to students in Russia with those in the developed foreign countries. In the domestic legislation, the list of such rights is set forth in the “Law on Education” No. 273-FZ (Article 34 "Basic Rights of Students and Measures for Their Social Support and Incentives", item 1, current version) (Federal Law, 2012). In Western European countries and the United States the academic rights of students are represented in various state documents and documents of individual states. We took for analysis the following: France – Code of Education; Spain – Constitution (Constitución Española, 1998); Organic Law on Education of July 3, 1985 (Ley Orgánica, 1985); The Uniform (Organic) Law on Universities of December 21, 2001 (Ley Orgánica, 2001); Organic Act of 12 April 2007 (Ley Orgánica, 2007); Royal decrees, in particular, No. 1393/2007 of 29 October 2007, No. 1791/2010 of 30 December 2010 (Real Decreto, 2007; Real Decreto, 2010); USA – the California State Code was analyzed (Kiselev, 2015).

The analysis showed that the main directions of modernization of educational legislation in most European countries are related to a clearer definition of the principles of the organization of the educational process, the regulation of the participation of students, parents and teachers, the expansion of continuing education, and the establishment of new financing mechanisms.

The Bologna agreement declares: creation of a system with two main cycles - diploma and postgraduate, which would correspond to international equivalents and the greater comparability requirements; ensuring the identity and flexibility in education through the use of a system of loans for education and periods of study.

One of the acute problems of the Bologna Process is the desire to make higher education accessible to all. Everywhere in European countries, intensive work is carried out to provide normative and legal support for the participation of teachers and administrative staff of higher education institutions in the integration activities of the Bologna Process (unification of the system of levels and qualifications of higher education, the introduction of unified credits and diploma annexes).

We took the following key provisions of the Bologna Declaration to check against the academic rights: introduction of a two-tier education; introduction of a credit-based system; quality control of education by the state, university, general public, students; expansion of academic mobility; realization of individual needs of students; ensuring the employment of graduates; the unity of science and education; ensuring accessibility of higher education; ensuring the continuity of education ("education through life").

Relying on the work of Sen’ko, we also identified the key values ​​of the humanitarian educational paradigm: development of subjectivity ("self") of students; respect for the personality of the student, democratization; equality of rights of students (Sen’ko, 2018).

We correlated the academic rights with the above provisions granted to students abroad and in Russia (see Table 1 ).

Table 1 -
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As it can be seen from the table, both in Russia and abroad the main provisions of the Bologna Process and the humanitarian educational paradigm are reflected in the state regulatory and legal documents regarding the provision of corresponding academic rights to students of higher education. However, the analysis of the practice of implementing of these rights in Russia and developed foreign countries shows significant differences. Let's take some examples of specific academic rights.

Rights associated with the transition to a two-tier education system

Distinctions between the developed foreign countries and the Russian Federation in the realization of these rights consist in the fact that for Europe and the United States such a system is traditional, historically predefined but for Russia it is “descended from the top”. The existing mentality of educators, teachers, and employers to some extent makes it difficult to implement the academic rights of students associated with the transition to the two-tier system. In addition, significant differences existed between such a system in the Russian Federation and developed foreign countries: international recognition is given to a system that includes two main cycles - pre-graduation and graduation - undergraduate and graduate, but there are no analogues in the Russian higher education. There are differences in the terms of study in Russia and abroad: for example, in the study area of "Jurisprudence": in the United States, after four years of university the graduate is awarded a bachelor's degree in the humanities or natural sciences, and he can enter the Law school), and after three years of training to obtain the degree of Doctor of Law (JD); in Russia this degree corresponds to the qualification of a Master, acquired after six years of study, in Germany after six to seven years of study, in France after four years of schooling. There are differences in the qualifications obtained: the example of the study area "Jurisprudence": Russian degree of Candidate of Law is equivalent to the American Masters of Law (LLM), German - Doctor of Law (Dr. jur.) and French - Doctorate d'etat). Abroad bachelor's programs have a broader focus while in Russia - a narrower one. There are different approaches to assessing the learning outcomes: in Russian universities there is a kind of fetishization of exams, the number of which is several times higher than the number of exams in foreign universities, where a more flexible multistage assessment system dominates. All this makes it difficult for Russia to enter the European educational space, create conditions for international academic mobility, and develop programs for "double degrees".

The rights to participate in the creation of the content of education and the choice of disciplines

Western European and the US universities are autonomous in determining the direction and content of educational programs. The content of specific academic disciplines is determined by university teachers and is largely determined by their qualifications and scientific interests. The predominance of private universities, a sufficiently high level of competition between them, leads to the training in such areas where the content of educational programs and disciplines is in demand with students. Such conditions allow universities to provide students with a realistic choice of educational programs, academic disciplines, teachers.

In Russia, the list and content of educational programs have been tightly regulated by the state for a long time (classifiers of specialties and training directions, state educational standards). Now, when universities are given the opportunity to independently determine the profile of the preparation and content of the educational program (with the exception of a few mandatory disciplines), they were not ready for this and are striving for unification (they are based on exemplary educational programs and curricula developed by the teaching and methodological associations of universities, copy the content of educational programs and educational disciplines from each other). Also, students are not fully ready for a conscious and responsible choice of the profile of training and educational disciplines, and in most cases are not guided by personal needs, career prospects, while the view of the majority is guided by "fashion". In addition, the implementation of students' rights towards the choice of profiles and academic disciplines is hampered by the organizational conditions, the regulations of the universities: the procedure for electing teachers for the competition, the standards of the academic load, the requirements for graduation and staffing, the ratio of teachers and students in the university etc. As a result, in Russia the implementation of these academic rights remains a declaration. Universities and teachers are not interested in providing students with a real choice of educational disciplines and content. For them, the option of "imposing" a certain choice on students is more convenient.

The right by one organization that conducts educational activity, in accordance with the procedure established by it, to officially enter the results of learning the subjects, courses, disciplines (modules), practice, additional educational programs that were provided by another organization that carries out educational activities

Outside Russia, this right has been around for a long time. It has well-developed mechanisms for realizing and, in conditions of independence of higher education institutions, in determining the content of educational programs, has no barriers for implementation.

For the Russian system of higher education, this right is becoming increasingly important due to the increase in the number of educational programs implemented in a network form, programs of "double diplomas", the system of academic exchanges, foreign practices and internships. However, its implementation encountered, in a number of Russian universities, some difficulties and problems associated with the fact that the right to officially endorse the results of studying a disciplin was given to the teacher, and in some cases he refuses to sign the transcript of a new student, arguing that this is due to the differences in the content of the discipline studied in another university. Also in most institutions of higher education there are no procedures for developing individual curricula. All this constrains the implementation of the main provisions of the Bologna Declaration concerning academic mobility.

Rights associated with the implementation of individual needs of students in terms of terms of training and the principle of “education through life”

Outside Russia, these rights are productively implemented through the system of loans, as well as the “repeated year of training” system. To obtain a diploma, the student must collect a certain amount of credits (credit units). In a number of cases, he can accumulate them not only in the university where he studies, but also in other universities. It can also regulate the period of their accumulation. Therefore, the legislation of Argentina gives students of universities the right to choose the term of completion of education (for example, it can last for 10 years).

In the Russian legislation, this category includes the right to re-enter an educational organization, the right to have a sabbatical or an academic leave. Realization of these rights is hampered by gaps in Federal legislation and the rights of universities to independently determine specific procedures, which creates a precedent for unequal conditions for the realization of such rights. For example, the right for an academic leave:

- in some universities there is a list of circumstances in which such leave is granted, other universities use the wording "in other exceptional (force majeure) circumstances" in internal documentation;

- some universities require the student to provide supporting documents for obtaining an academic leave for family reasons, others do not etc.

The same is true of the right to re-enter a university:

- in the Federal legislation there are gaps in procedures for the re-signing of the student, expelled for a disrespectful reason. Therefore, some universities re-sign in such students only on a fee basis, others - on a fee basis (at the discretion of the university management);

- some universities require “to cover” the academic difference - to take exams at those disciplines that are in the curricula of the faculty where the student was studying before and after the re-signing, others do not require it;

- the financial conditions of the re-entering are not worked out in the Federal legislation: can the university charge a student for the exams that “cover” the academic difference, is the teacher's work paid for examining students with such a difference and in what amount, etc.?

Rights related to ensuring the accessibility of higher education

Outside Russia, such a right is realized, as a rule, through a system of state scholarships and grants: talented applicants from socially unprotected strata of the population are provided with the means to study at the university.

In Russia, this right is ensured by state funding of budget seats, granting students the right to free-of-charge entering on a competitive basis, if a citizen of the Russian Federation receives this type of education for the first time, the right to choose an educational institution and transfer to another educational organization. Also, the accessibility of higher education is ensured by providing students with the opportunity to switch from paid to free education in the event that there is a vacant budget seat emerges and the student has received "good" and "excellent" marks for two semesters in a row if the conditions prescribed in the subordinate act are met (no failed exams, disciplinary penalties, and late payments for educational services). There are also gaps in the legislation, when the decision is given to universities, which creates a precedent for the corruption component:

- in case of having several applicants for one budget seat, the decision is taken by the commission created by the university; the selection criteria are determined by the university;

- if the student meets the requirements of transfer from paid education to free education, but he did not know about this right and did not file a timely application, he is deprived of this right;

- the questions of the student's payment for the period of study before the transfer are not fully clear: whether the transferred student makes payment before the date of the decision of his transfer or until the date of the transfer order is issued or before the starting date of the semester.

Concerning the right to transfer to another educational organization, a number of unclear questions also arise:

  • does the academic difference include the disciplines of choice?

  • how is the academic difference examination paid to teachers?

  • if the student is transferred to another educational program, in which case a transfer can be made with a relegation to a lower study year (different schools have different rules, which infringes the equality of students rights);

  • can the institution where the student was previously studying send the documents of the student by mail with a notification, or should the documents be given to the student personally or his representative by a power of attorney?

Conclusion

The analysis showed that in Russia, the regulatory and legal framework has not been sufficiently developed and the necessary organizational conditions have not been created to allow students to use the right to master certain disciplines in foreign universities, to freely choose academic disciplines, teachers, to have flexible educational programs, and to manage their studying time. The requirements for higher educational institutions in terms of ensuring the necessary quality of educational services are not regulated (in particular, this applies to non-state-run institutions). The procedures for transferring from paid to free education, as well as from one educational program to another have not been fully developed.

The main drawback of domestic practice: the rights are declared by the regulatory and legal framework, but in some cases, the mechanisms for their implementation have not been prescribed and the necessary organizational conditions have not been created, which leads to their formal implementation.

There is a need to create effective mechanisms for implementing the academic rights of students given at the legislative level, establishing personal responsibility of university employees for violations and managing emerging problems. Since the charters of all Russian universities are typical, it is necessary to develop a local regulatory framework that reflects the authenticity of a particular university, its specifics and established traditions.

Acknowledgments

Our research was performed on the state order assigned to the Sochi State University – ‘The Study of Regulation of Student Academic Rights: Challenges and Development Vectors’ (Project № 27.12684.2018/12.1).

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18 December 2019

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Ivneva, E., Kavshbaya*, L., Kniazkova, M., & Konovalova, G. (2019). Regulation Of Student Academic Rights In Russia And Abroad: Comparative Analysis. In V. Chernyavskaya, & H. Kuße (Eds.), Professional Сulture of the Specialist of the Future, vol 51. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 312-323). Future Academy. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2018.12.02.34