COMPARATIVE STUDY OF HIGHER EDUCATION
STEERING IN FINLAND AND THE RUSSIAN
Within the Context of the Bologna Process and
Development of Joint Degrees in the Finnish-Russian
Cross-Border University Project (CBU)
Ms. Kati Isoaho 31.12.2004
1. POSITION OF THE CBU UNIVERSITIES...5
1.1. General Overview...5
1.2. Participating Units at the CBU Universities...7
2. LAWS AND DECREES CONCERNING HIGHER EDUCATION ...8
2.1. The Russian Federation ...8
3. JOINT DEGREES, JOINT PROGRAMMES AND THE BOLOGNA PROCESS...9
4. CURRENT DEGREE STRUCTURE IN THE CBU COUNTRIES ...11
4.1. The Russian Federation ...11
4.2. Finland ...12
4.3. The Nature of the Master’s Degree ...13
4.4. Horizontal Mobility ...14
4.5. Main Challenges...15
4.6. Recommendation ...15
5. AWARDING OF DEGREES WITHIN THE CBU...15
5.1. The Russian Federation ...15
5.1.1. The Right to Award Degrees in a Particular Academic Field ...15
5.1.2. Awarding of the Degrees at the Universities ...16
5.2 Finland ...16
5.2.1. Right to Award Degrees in a Particular Academic Field ...16
5.2.2. Awarding of the Degrees at the Universities ...16
5.3. Situation at the CBU Universities ...17
5.4. Main Challenges...18
5.5. Recommendations ...19
6. CURRICULA REGULATIONS...19
6.1. Joint Curricula as an Indicator of Joint Degree...19
6.2. Detailed Regulations in the Russian Federation...20
6.3. Framework Regulations in Finland ...20
6.4. Curricula Procedures...21
6.5. Language Studies within the CBU...22
6.6. Main Challenges...22
6.7. Recommendations ...22
7. CREDITING OF STUDIES ...23
7.1. The Russian Federation ...23
7.2. Finland ...23
7.3. Main Challenges...23
7.4. Recommendation ...23
8. STUDENT SELECTION ...24
8.1. The Russian Federation ...24
8.2. Finland ...24
8.3. Student Selection and Joint Study Programmes ...25
8.4. Main Challenges...25
8.5. Recommendations ...26
9. RECOGNITION OF THE PLANNED MASTER’S DEGREES...26
9.2. The Russian Federation ...27
9.3. Finland ...27
9.4. Main Challenges...27
9.5. Recommendation ...27
10. TUITION FEES AND FUNDING OF CBU ACTIVITIES ...28
10.1 . Current Situation in the Russian Federation and in Finland ...28
10.2. Main Challenges...28
11. QUALITY ASSURANCE...28
11.1. Joint Quality – What Is It?...28
11.2 The Russian Federation ...30
11.2.1. State Accreditation ...30
11.2.2. Actors involved in Quality Assurance...31
11.3.1. Evaluation ...31
11.3.2. Actors involved in Quality Assurance...32
11.4. Quality Assurance and Students ...32
11.5. Main Challenges...33
11.6. Recommendations ...34
12. SUPPORT FOR BOLOGNA PROCESS IMPLEMENTATION...35
12.1. Current Situation in the Russian Federation and in Finland ...35
12.2. Results of the Pilot Support Survey...35
12.3. Main Challenges...35
12.4. Recommendations ...35
LIST OF BACKGROUND AND REFERENCE MATERIALS ...36
Laws, Decrees and State Recommendations ...36
Reports and Recommendations ...36
Conferences and Seminars ...37
1 A List of the Russian Actors Interviewed in October 2004
2 A List of the Questions Used in the Interviews with the Russian Actors 3 A Questionnaire of the Survey on the Pilot Support
4 A List of the Questions for the Finnish Actors
5 A Comparative Table on Bologna Process Implementation in Finland and The Russian Federation
6 A SWOT-analysis of the Feasibility of the CBU
7 Recommendations and Conclusions of the Stockholm Bologna Process Follow-Up Seminar in May 2004
8 Development of International Joint Degrees and Double Degrees: Recommendations of the Ministry of Education. Finnish Ministry of Education 2004 9 The Current Bologna Process Implementation at the Finnish CBU Universities
The Finnish-Russian Cross-Border University Project (CBU) was established at the beginning of 2004 in order to carry out the feasibility study about the possibilities to create joint degrees or joint programs between Finnish and Russian universities. The universities involved in the project are: University of Joensuu, University of Helsinki, University of Kuopio, Lappeenranta University of Technology, University of Tampere, St. Petersburg State University (STPSU), St. Petersburg Polytechnic University (STPSPU), European University at St. Petersburg (EUS) and Petrozavodsk State University (PetrSU).
This study has been conducted as a part of the Cross-Border University’s (CBU) Feasibility Study. The purpose of the study has been to identify the major challenges in the areas of laws, decrees, regulations and - within the relevant cases - also their implementation concerning joint programmes and joint degrees provided jointly by Finland and the Russian Federation. In the context of this study steering is understood as a combination of the following key elements linked with the profile of the higher education: legislation and regulation, financing and information given by the different stakeholders (primarily state officials).Views of development have been collected and analysed in order to generate change within the project in the future.
The material for the study has been collected from the current actors of the CBU. The Russian partners – members of the CBU Working Group and academic teams of the pilots – were interviewed in October 2004 (appendix 1). Similar questions also have been made for the Finnish Working Group members and pilot co-ordinators and distributed by email. Part of the Bologna Process information from Finland was collected by Project Co-ordinator Kati Isoaho. All the pilot co-ordinators were met by Isoaho and Project Manager Paul Fryer in September-October 2004, at which time these issues were discussed as well. Additionally, these issues were discussed with the following experts from both countries: Professor Vadim Kasevich (Vice-Rector, St. Petersburg State University, the Russian Federation), Dr. Evgeny Kniazev (Kazan State University/ Deputy Director, National Centre for Development Of Education, Russian Federation Ministry for Science and Education), Professor Emeritus Ossi V. Lindqvist (University of Kuopio/ Chairman, Finnish Higher Education Evaluation Council), Counsellor for Higher Education Anita Lehikoinen (Ministry of Education, Finland), Senior Adviser Sirkka-Leena Hörkkö (Ministry of Education, Finland), Counsellor for Cultural Affairs Maija Lummepuro (Ministry of Education, Finland), Counsellor for Education Carita Blomqvist (National Board of Education, Finland) and Senior Adviser Anna-Maija Liuhanen (Finnish Higher Education Evaluation Council). Their valuable comments and advice have been used while identifying the entire field of the issues that have needed to be
studied. Senior Adviser Hörkkö is also responsible for the entire CBU project within the Ministry of Education in Finland.
Also conducted was a sub-survey (appendix 2) in August-September 2004 on the required support for the pilots with target groups of the CBU Steering Group members, Working Group members and members of the academic teams. Some relevant parts of these results also are included in this study.
A list of questions used in the interviews (appendix 3) and in the email interviews (appendix 4) are attached to this study. Some parts of the results of this study are presented in the comparative table of Bologna Process issues (appendix 5) and in the SWOT-analysis (appendix 6).
1. POSITION OF THE CBU UNIVERSITIES
1.1. General Overview
There are some major differences between Finland and the Russian Federation in terms of the general position of the universities. Some of these originate from the noticeable difference in the number of higher education institutions. As known, the number of private higher education institutions has increased remarkably during recent years in the Russian Federation. Compared to state higher educational institutions, many of these are still rather small.
The classical universities in the Russian Federation are, in terms of steering, under the Ministry of Education and Science. There is also a certain number of higher education institutions that, due to their academic specialisation, under double governance, e.g. higher education institutions specialised in transport or agriculture are steered both by the Ministry of Education and Science and by the ministry responsible for their certain field. The role of the field-specific ministry is related especially to curricular and labour market issues.
All the Russian CBU universities are steered by the Ministry of Education and Science. As a general description it can be noted that the Ministry of Education and Science finances a part of the state universities, while those remaining are financed by other ministries or by local authorities. STPSU, STPSPU and PetrSU receive state funding as state universities. Additionally to budget funding, they also have fee paying students. As the EUS is a non-state university, all students pay tuition fees. In the Russian Federation, foreign students usually are required to pay tuition fees.
All the Russian CBU universities are state accredited.
In Finland all universities are state universities, and following from this are under the same steering system of the Ministry of Education. All Finnish universities are given basic state funding based on a particular result-focussed model, and most
also have some private or other state funding, e.g. for research purposes. The percentage of other funding varies a lot up to 50%. All higher education programmes that lead to a degree are tuition free in Finland, as stipulated by the Universities Act, and at the moment also cover foreign students.
Most of the CBU universities give university education in a classical way, including undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral education. The EUS is the only exception as it is focussed on doctoral education, though it has a tradition of educational co-operation at the graduate level as well.
It is worth looking at some of the general guidelines in higher education policy in the CBU countries as well. As mentioned, the difference in the number of higher education institutions is remarkable. If looking at the general state interest concerning the higher education institutions, there are both similarities and differences.
In both countries the higher education is seen as one of key elements while building the international competitiveness. But, due to the e.g. differences in the size of the national higher education system, the policy lines concerning the higher education as a commodity diverge to some degree. After the reform of 1990´s in the Russian Federation there seem to be growing initiatives to privatize a part of the higher education institutions. Individual responsibility over funding of higher education is discussed as well, especially within the Master-level education. Due to its position as one of the leading forces in the world, it is also natural, that the Russian Federation wants to export higher education as a part of the other export promotion. In practise this may mean both sub-campuses of the Russian higher education institutions abroad and active drawing of the fee-paying foreign students to the Russian Federation. Additionally to the higher education itself, one of the benefits for the Russian Federation are relatively low costs of living for the potential students.
In Finland there have also been growing discussions about the possibility to charge non-EU/ETA –nationals at the higher education institutions. According to the state statutes, degree-leading higher education will anyway be tuition-free also in future at least to the Finnish citizens. Some discussions about the labour market responsibility over the higher education costs have emerged during the recent years. This would concern primarily the higher education provided for the adults, who are already integrated to the labour market. It is possible, that Master´s programmes would play an essential role within this kind of tendency. Thus, this possible tendency has not concretized yet on the level of legislation or statutes or in the other ways of steering.
It has to be noted, that Finland seems not to have similar pressure to export higher education in terms of commodities than the Russian Federation has. When building the joint degree or other co-operation in the field of higher education, this has to be taken into account. Both the Russian Federation and
Finland have counterparts in the Europe, Northern America and Asia in this sense, thus it is merely an issue to manage, not an obstacle in a true sense.
1.2. Participating Units at the CBU Universities
The nature of the participating units does differ to some degree at the CBU universities. There are faculties, departments and schools participating. In the Russian context the units that fall under the labels ‘faculty’ and ‘school’ are comparable, as well as in the Finnish context. In the Finnish context the units identified as ‘department’ are usually under the jurisdiction of a faculty or, such as in the case of Lappeenranta University of Technology, comparable to a faculty.
Business Administration pilot
Lappeenranta University of Technology: Department of Business Administration STPSPU: International Graduate School of Management
STPSU: School of Management (comparable to the faculty) PetrSU: Faculty of Economics
University of Helsinki: Department of History (under the Faculty of Arts) PetrSU: Faculty of History
University of Joensuu: Department of History (under the Faculty of Humanities) EUS: Department of History
Information Technology (IT) pilot
Lappeenranta University of Technology: Department of Information Technology STPSU: Faculty of Applied Mathematics and Control Processes
PetrSU: Chair of Computer Science (under the Faculty of Mathematics)
University of Helsinki: Department of Computer Science (under the Faculty of Science)
University of Joensuu: Department of Computer Science (under the Faculty of Science)
University of Kuopio: Department of Computer Science (under the Faculty of Business and Information Technology)
International Relations pilot
University of Tampere: Department of Political Sciences (under the Faculty of Social Sciences)
STPSU: School of International Relations (comparable to the faculty)
PetrSU: Chair of International Relations (under the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences)
University of Helsinki: Department of Political Science (under the Faculty of Social Sciences)
University of Joensuu: Department of Social Policy (under the Faculty of Social Sciences)
Public Health pilot
University of Kuopio: Department of Public Health and General Practice (under the Faculty of Medicine)
STPSU: Medical Faculty PetrSU: Faculty of Medicine
University of Tampere: Tampere School of Public Health (independent unit; comparable to the department).
University of Joensuu: Faculty of Forestry
University of Helsinki: Department of Forest Economics (under the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry)
PetrSU: Faculty of Forest Engineering STPSPU: The Applied Ecology Department
Lappeenranta University of Technology: Department of Energy and Environmental Technology
2. LAWS AND DECREES CONCERNING HIGHER EDUCATION
2.1. The Russian Federation
The following list indicates the current laws and decrees concerning higher education in the Russian Federation:
Law on Education (1992)
Concerns: System of Education
Law on Higher and Postgraduate Professional Education (1996) Concerns: All types of higher education institutions
Decree No. 1323, “For the State Accreditation of Higher Education Establishments” (1999)
Concerns: All the higher education institutions
Decree No. 1769, “On Managerial Structure of the State Educational Standards Elaboration” (2001)
Decree No. 686, “On Approval of the New State Educational Standards” (2000) Decree No. 940, “Standards Regulations of Higher Education” (1994)
The following list provides the current laws and decrees concerning higher education in Finland. The legislation concerning the universities is naturally the
most relevant in the context of the CBU. In the case of student selection and access qualifications the legislation concerning the polytechnics is relevant as well. It must be noted that the Law on the Experiment Phase of the Second-cycle Polytechnic Degree is valid until 31.7.2005 and some new legislation concerning this is expected to be introduced before that.
Universities Act (645/1997) Concerns: Universities
Universities Decree (115/1998) Concerns: Universities
Government Decree on University Decrees (2004; into force 1.8.2005) Concerns: All university degrees
Polytechnics Act (351/2003) Concerns: Polytechnics
Government Decree on Polytechnics (352/2003) Concerns: Polytechnics
Act on the Experiment Phase of Second-cycle Polytechnic Degrees (645/2001) Concerns: all current second-cycle polytechnic degrees
Decree on the Structure of Higher Education Degrees (464/1998)
Concerns: All higher education degrees at the universities and in the polytechnics
3. JOINT DEGREES, JOINT PROGRAMMES AND THE BOLOGNA
The promotion of joint degrees and joint study programmes is one of the associated goals of the Bologna Process introduced at the Prague Ministerial meeting in 2001. One of the recent Bologna follow-up seminars held in Stockholm in May 2004 particularly handled this issue. The entire list of recommendations from the Stockholm seminar is included as an appendix to this report (appendix 7). The European University Association (EUA) has recently published the report, Developing Joint Master’s Programmes for Europe. Results of the EUA Joint Master’s Project, which also have been very useful point of reference for this study. As noted in the EUA´s report, the focus of their research has been in the following three main themes: 1.) quality assurance and recognition, 2.) student experience and mobility and 3.) curriculum integration and sustainability. As much as possible within the current stage of the CBU, these points of view have been kept in mind, especially while making the recommendations.
Joint degrees and joint programmes are issues of a new kind of co-operation, but also issues of a new kind of legislation In the Bologna follow-up seminar held in Warsaw by the name “The New Generation of Higher Education Laws and Policy Documents. Their Trust in the Context of the Bologna Process”, joint degree issues were discussed as well. As a general conclusion it was noted by Professor Dennis Farrington (Secretary-General, South East European University), that in most Bologna Process member countries legislation does not yet explicitly enable universities to award joint degrees or provide enough support for the awarding of joint degrees. This was seen as one of the areas to be developed at the level of national legislation. As noted in the EUA report, most of the problematic issues within the joint degree projects are not deriving from the inadequate action within the network, but are rather the result of the current incompatibility of European higher education structures. Hence, the matters of legislation and regulation play an essential role within the CBU as well.
One other CBU-relevant question raised by Professor Farrington was how to assist applicant (or ‘new’ - KI) member states so that they do not have to “reinvent the wheel (in matters of legislation in the context of the Bologna Process)”. The CBU Project can at its best also be a learning process; to generate some new aspects and solutions of Bologna Process implementation both in Finland and the Russian Federation. Learning about the policy and practise in other European institutions and countries is mentioned as one of the potential benefits of the joint degree cooperation in the EUA report as well.
As noted at the very beginning of the CBU project, neither in Finland nor the Russian Federation does the current legislation permit the awarding of joint degrees in a true sense. Following from this, the CBU Master’s programmes to be piloted will start as joint programmes. The exact nature of the degrees has to be decided and arranged as a part of a CBU development project. In the current context the most obvious alternatives are double degrees (two national diplomas) or one national degree, which is recognised both in Finland and the Russian Federation. In addition to one national degree, also some kind of CBU-appendix or certificate obviously is needed. As an third option it was suggested during the interviews that it would be possible to search for degree recognition from relevant pan-European organisations rather than from national bodies.
There have also been some cases within the higher education co-operation of border regions, where the students have been able to choose, with which degree they have continued after the jointly arranged part of their studies. This possibility has – naturally – been also dependant on the higher education institution and country of each student. This kind of arrangements are described e.g. in the report of German Rectors Conference (2004).
At the national level the Finnish Ministry of Education has provided recommendations to Finnish higher education institutions regarding joint degrees and double degrees (appendix 7) in June 2004.
4. CURRENT DEGREE STRUCTURE IN THE CBU COUNTRIES
4.1. The Russian Federation
The current degree structure in the Russian Federation consists of both a one-tier system of the Specialist degree (Diplomirovannii Spetsialist; 5 years) and a two-tier system of the Bachelors degree (Bakalavr; 4 years) and Masters degree (Magistr; 2 years). Both Specialist degree and Master`s degree gives similar access to postgraduate studies. At the postgraduate level there are two degrees, Candidate of Science (Kandidat Nauk) and Doctor of Science (Doktor Nauk). At the moment, in some cases also the Bachelors degree can give access to doctoral studies. In practice, there are also 1-year programmes on offer to graduates with a Specialist degree in order to obtain a Master’s degree. According to Vice-Rector Kasevich, the Russian system of higher education degrees is a parallel system at the moment.
The future of this system is still open. At the moment about 40-50% of all Russian higher education institutions have the right to award degrees according to the two-tier system, but 97% of students are still involved in study programmes that lead to the Specialist degree. According to the interviews conducted, the opinions and actual needs for change do vary from one academic field to another at the CBU universities, e.g. in the fields of IT, International Relations and Business Administration the tradition of awarding Master’s degrees already exists to some degree.
Opinions on the two-tier system in relation to the system of Specialist degrees seem to vary also depending on the geographical orientation (Europe, Asia) of the particular academic field or unit. Naturally, some fields or units have, e.g. existing exchange co-operation with Asian countries, which might decrease the current attractiveness of the European-type degree structures.
There seems be to two main alternatives concerning the future of the Specialist degree: to replace it gradually by the two-tier system or to create a system, in which the 1-year Specialist programme is an alternative to the 2-year Master’s programme after passing the Bachelor’s degree. Probably in this system the 1-year Specialist degree might be a more practically-oriented part of higher education, while the Master’s degree would have a clearer link to research.
It seems to be obvious that at least in the medical field the degree structure will continue as a one-tier system. This follows the tendency in most European countries. According to the interviews it is also possible that, e.g. at STPSU, some fields of the natural sciences will keep the Specialist degree instead of
adopting the two-tier system, and at PetrSU it might be possible to keep some professional areas within academic education in the field of history (e.g. training for archivists) as one-tier degrees as well.
Finland will introduce the obligatory Bachelor’s degree from 1 August 2005, when recently-approved changes in legislation will come into force. There have been non-obligatory Bachelor’s degrees in most academic fields since the 1990s, but the forthcoming changes will clarify the functioning of the two-tier system. The only exceptions are for the fields of medicine and dentistry, as the law will allow faculties to decide whether they will use a one- or two-tier system. Probably, there will be some differentiation between these faculties in this matter.
The two-tier system will consist of a Bachelor’s degree (180 credits/study points and 3 years of study) and a Master’s degree (120 credits/study points and 2 years of study). Some exceptions will be introduced to the following fields: Psychology (180/3 and 150/2,5), Music (180/3 and 150/2,5), Fine Arts (210/3,5 and 120/2), Medicine (360/6 or 180/3 and 180/3), Dentistry (300/5 or 180/3 and 120/2). It is also stated in the decree that those Master’s programmes offered specifically to foreign degree students may consist of a particular duration and number of credits (maximum 2 years, minimum 90 credits).
It must be noted that in the chosen CBU pilot fields the Finnish model follows the most common Master’s degree model of 120 credits/study points with a duration of two years. As noted, it would be possible to use the shorter duration and smaller number of credits as well.
After changes in the Universities Act the Polytechnic degree also will enjoy the status of an access qualification to Master’s programmes at the universities. Within this framework universities can define their more detailed requirements when selecting students.
At the postgraduate level there are two degrees, the Licentiate degree and the Doctoral degree. The Licentiate degree is traditionally the first postgraduate degree in many academic fields, although a non-obligatory one. During recent years it has become more common to obtain a Doctoral degree directly after the Master’s degree, and this tendency seems to continue and is generally supported by the government.
It has to also be noted, that according to the forthcoming Decree on University Degrees the award of the degrees in foreign languages (in practise most often in English) will become possible in Finland. There are the titles (In English) of those degrees stated in this decree as well.
Titles, which are the relevant ones within the CBU programmes are:
Humanities: Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts, Licenciate of Philosophy and Doctor of Philosophy.
Business and Economics: Bachelor of Science (Economics and Business Administration), Master of Science (Economics and Business Administration), Licenciate of Science (Economics and Business Administration) and Doctor of Science ( Economics and Business Administration).
Agriculture and Forestry: Bachelor of Science (Agriculture and Forestry), Master of Science (Agriculture and Forestry), Licenciate of Science (Agriculture and Forestry) and Doctor of Science (Agriculture and Forestry).
Technology: Bachelor of Science (Technology). Master of Science (Technology), Licenciate of Science (Technology) and Doctor of Science (Technology).
Health sciences: Bachelor of Health Sciences, Master of Health Sciences, Licenciate of Health Sciences and Doctor of Health Sciences.
Social sciences: Bachelor of Social Sciences, Master of Social Sciences, Licenciate of Social Sciences and Doctor of Social Sciences.
More detailed descriptions of the entire Bologna Process implementation at the Finnish CBU universities are collected in a separate document (appendix 9).
4.3. The Nature of the Master’s Degree
At the moment the nature of the Masters degree differs greatly in the context of the Bologna Process in Finland and the Russian Federation. The most visible difference is in terms of student selection. In Finland most students receive two study rights (for both the Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees) after one selection procedure, meaning before starting undergraduate studies. Following from this, the Finnish students in the forthcoming CBU programmes will, in most cases, be undertaking part of their basic higher education.
There is also the option to choose students only for Bachelor’s programmes in the Finnish Universities Act, but at the moment this does not seem to be very common. In general, there will be second selection to Master’s programmes only in cases of those special Master’s programmes (such as CBU programmes). In the Russian Federation the role of the Bachelor’s degree is still perhaps more unclear, but in terms of student selection the Bachelor’s degree comprises the basic higher education in the two-tier system. As an example, in STPSPU’s International Graduate School of Management only about 15% of applicants are accepted into the Master’s programmes.
Within the CBU students are – at least when based upon co-operative student selection in each particular Master’s programme – equal not depending on their nationality. Due to the different national two-tier solutions it is anyway possible that students may have different expectations of some degrees.
4.4. Horizontal Mobility
The future of horizontal mobility is still unclear both in Finland and the Russian Federation. Both countries have traditionally had rather coherent 5-year degrees, and an increase in horizontal mobility is one of the Bologna Process action lines that will change existing practices.
In both countries horizontal mobility exists to some degree. For instance, at STPSU there has been some mobility from Oriental studies to international relations after the Bachelor’s degree, and in Finland in the fields of technology and business there has been increasing mobility from the polytechnic sector to the university sector. According to the interviews, e.g. at Lappeenranta University of Technology, students with a polytechnic degree may be accepted into Master’s studies, although some additional studies (“bridging studies”) are usually required. According to the interviews there are differences in these matters between the Finnish universities.
In Finland there is also occasional mobility between the universities, but because of the old degree system its basis primarily has been in the recognition of credits, not degrees. Since the first separate Master’s programmes were introduced, some have been open to students with a relevant polytechnic degree as well. In future this kind of mobility should be technically easier when the polytechnic degree will be an officially accepted access qualification for Master’s programmes at universities. The forthcoming legislation allows universities to require additional studies in cases of horizontal mobility, and the recommended duration of these studies is a maximum one academic year (60 credits/study points). It is possible that Finnish universities will define the specific amount of additional studies through institutional regulations.
The issue of horizontal mobility – nationally, internationally and transnationally – is rather important for CBU programmes. All students must be selected for the programmes, and every academic team has to define the suitable access qualifications, and especially the preferred academic fields that will be required. When promoting mobility the programmes should, as much as possible, allow students from different neighbouring academic fields to start studies in the same programme. This is a real challenge for the substance of the programmes, as well as for student guidance.
4.5. Main Challenges
- Finnish and Russian students may have - to some degree - different kinds of expectations about the study programmes because of the differences in the nature of the basic higher education.
- Conditions for horizontal mobility are still unclear.
1. All the CBU academic teams should create a reasonable framework for horizontal mobility within each particular Master’s programme to be piloted. While designing this framework, both national degree structures should be taken into account.
5. AWARDING OF DEGREES WITHIN THE CBU
5.1. The Russian Federation
5.1.1. The Right to Award Degrees in a Particular Academic Field
In the Russian Federation the Ministry of Education and Science makes decisions on universities to award degrees in the different academic fields. For every academic field there is a particular negotiating body, a Committee for Educational Standards, or UMO (Uchebno-Metodicheskoe Otdelenie), which consists of the Heads of Departments, Deans and Vice-Rectors of the biggest universities. Every UMO is chaired by one of the Vice-Rectors and UMO decisions are prepared by a secretariat. The UMO makes proposals for the Ministry on the national educational standards in each field, and also handles all requests for new rights to award degrees. The role of the UMO is essential, and usually its proposals for the Ministry are approved. As described by Dr. Kouptsov in his report to European Centre for Higher Education (CEPES/UNESCO), the UMO system also had a specific role in the 1992 educational reform in Russian higher education.
There are also methodological councils at the universities, the role of which will be described later in the chapter concerning curricula procedures.
The role of the UMOs regarding the Bologna Process is not clarified yet, but it is possible that they will be essential also for its implementation. The issue of the autonomy of the UMO probably will be discussed during Bologna Process implementation as well. According to Vice-Rector Kasevich, in an ideal situation the UMO should be developed in the direction of being a fully recognised expert body.
There seems to be also another opportunity to creating a new programme in the Russian Federation. If the university already has a general right to award
degrees in a certain field, it is possible to create a new programme in this field as an initiative of a full professor and with the approval of the University Board/Academic Council of the University. These study programmes have to correspond to the State Educational Standard as well.
5.1.2. Awarding of the Degrees at the Universities
In the Russian Federation the state is involved rather deeply in the awarding procedures via State Final Attestation. State Final Attestation is a system of state-determined final examination procedures. All state-accredited higher education institutions follow the same procedures in these matters. State Final Attestation consists of the following evaluation procedures: preparation of a diploma paper or project, which is reviewed by experts and defended before an examination commission. This procedure is obligatory and it is a primary condition for the latter. According to the interviews there seems to be growing initiatives to develop university autonomy over the awarding of the degree.
5.2.1. Right to Award Degrees in a Particular Academic FieldIn Finland the Ministry of Education makes decisions on the universities’ new rights to award degrees. This procedure will be taken into force according to the changes in university legislation in 2005. Formerly these decisions were made by the Government according to the Ministry’s proposals.
Every university has a particular number of academic fields and degrees, within which they are allowed to conduct higher education leading to a degree. This division of the fields is regulated in The Decree on University Degrees (2004) . Universities negotiate with the Ministry of Education over new possible fields. Usually these negotiations are linked with the Ministry’s steering system (steering by results system) and general steering negotiations held yearly between each university and the Ministry of Education.
5.2.2. Awarding of the Degrees at the Universities
After receiving the right to award degrees a Finnish university is allowed to award degrees that meet the framework legislation on university degrees. Usually the award of a degree is the responsibility of a faculty-level administrative body, depending on the administrative model of each university.
The degree-awarding university regulates the detailed procedures of the awarding of the degree within the framework of national legislation. For instance, the detailed attestation procedure of the final thesis is regulated by the universities.
All Finnish university degrees enjoy the same legal status, e.g. in terms of recruitment to public posts that require a university degree of a particular level. Hence, in cases involving public posts, the official status of the national degree is
not dependant on the degree-awarding university in Finland. The hierarchy of the national degrees is defined in the Decree on the Structure of Higher Education Degrees (1998). This Decree covers all Finnish higher education degrees, including polytechnic degrees.
5.3. Situation at the CBU Universities
There are differences between the Russian CBU universities in terms of rights to award degrees. At the moment, PetrSU has no right to award Master’s degrees in most of the CBU pilot fields, but plans to apply for these rights as part of its CBU development work do exist, especially in terms of the fields of international relations and history.
The following table presents the current situation regarding the rights to award state standard Master’s degrees in the chosen CBU pilot fields pilot by pilot. As a part of the EUS’s state accreditation process the university has been given the right to award MA degrees, but they have not been given the status of state standard degrees. According to this, the role of the EUS as a teaching and possibly degree-awarding institution within the CBU has to be arranged in co-operation with the other CBU partner universities. Petrozavodsk State University has a right to award degrees in the medical field, but at the moment no Master’s degree in the field of the medical sciences exists in the Russian Federation. Hence, the nature of the degree in the field of public health probably has to be negotiated as a part of the planning process by the academic team.
Academic field to be piloted within the CBU
Partner universities with a right to award state Master’s degrees Partner universities without a right to award state Master’s degrees Partner universities in the process of applying for a right to award state Master’s degrees (at least a concrete plan exists) History University of Helsinki, University of Joensuu Petrozavodsk State University, European University at St. Petersburg Petrozavodsk State University International Relations St. Petersburg State University, University of Tampere Petrozavodsk State University, St. Petersburg State Polytechnic University Petrozavodsk State University
University of Technology, University of Joensuu, University of Kuopio, St. Petersburg State Polytechnic University, Petrozavodsk State University
State University State University
Business Administration St. Petersburg State Polytechnic University, Lappeenranta University of Technology, Petrozavodsk State University Forestry University of Joensuu University of Helsinki Lappeenranta University of Technology Petrozavodsk State University
Public Health University of Kuopio Petrozavosk State University, St. Petersburg State University St. Petersburg State University
5.4. Main Challenges
- Some of the Russian CBU partner universities do not yet have the
required rights to award Master’s degrees in the chosen academic fields to be piloted.
- The estimations of the duration of the approval process for new degree rights in the Russian Federation vary between 6 months to 3 years. Following from this, the application processes have to start as soon as possible.
- The Joint Degree is not possible at the moment in Finland or the Russian Federation in a true sense. There is not the legal framework that explicitly allows the award of joint degrees.
2. The degree awarded after CBU studies should be either Finnish or Russian Master’s degree.
3. As a part of CBU development work the issue of the rights to award degrees should be included in the pilot-specific working plans.
4. If the participating university is not able to get a right to award Master’s degrees in the chosen pilot fields, it should be allowed to participate in the pilot as a teaching associate partner or as a partner in a minor subject. 5. The long-term goal of designing and developing Master’s programmes
should be to award Joint degrees or Double degrees. While the legislation does not enable the awarding of Joint degrees, the goal should be the Double degree.
6. CURRICULA REGULATIONS
6.1. Joint Curricula as an Indicator of Joint Degree
Joint curricula are mentioned rather often as an important indicator of the joint degree or joint programme. Naturally, all definitions are not this strict because of different national practices. Also the nature of the joint degree as a relatively new innovation leads one to avoid too strict definitions.
The importance of curricula work as a part of the joint degree process is promoted by the Finnish Ministry of Education as well. In the Ministry’s recommendation on joint and double degrees it is stated that the basis of such degrees should to be in jointly-made curricula work.
The most noteworthy difference between Finland and the Russian Federation concerning curricula regulation is in the nature of legislation and, therefore, also in practice. In Finland regulation is made at the level of the framework (framework legislation and regulation), while in the Russian Federation there are rather detailed regulations concerning degrees in every academic field. If looking at the situations in Bologna Process member countries at the moment, both practices do exist. This was noted, e.g. in the presentation by Professor Dennis Farrington at the Warsaw conference in November 2004. According to the interviews there is some existing experience about joint curricula within the CBU universities, e.g. STPSPU’s International Graduate School of Management has existing curricular collaboration with the South Karelian Polytechnic in Finland.
6.2. Detailed Regulations in the Russian Federation
State Educational Standard is the key issue when identifying the curricular procedures in the Russian Federation. The current Standard was introduced in the Russian Federation in 1992 as a part of the federal Law on Education. According to this law, the State Educational Standard establishes the norms for the contents of education programmes and for the quality of graduate education and training.
There are three kinds of educational standards regulating higher education in the Russian Federation: federal standards (federalnyi komponent), regional standards (regionalnyi komponent) and institutional standards (vuzovskii komponent). The amount of courses included in each category varies according to the academic field. There are two universities - Moscow State University and St. Petersburg State University - that have the right to use only federal and institutional standards.
State Educational Standard was also discussed in the Bologna Process seminar on Bachelor´s degree at STPSU in 2004. It was noted by Vice-rector Kasevich, that especially on the level of the Bachelor´s degree the joint degree co-operation with the Russian higher education institutions might be problematic because of the current State Educational Standard and its requirements (if the joint curricula is pursued in the true sense). State Educational Standard includes e.g. some obligatory parts of the studies in humanities, which are traditional in the Russian higher education. On the level of the Master´s degrees situation seems less challenging.
The State Educational Standards that probably will be used within the CBU have the following codes:
Master of History: 520800
Master of Mathematics (IT in the CBU): 511800 and 510100
Master of Applied mathematics and Computer science (IT in the CBU): 510200 Master of International Relations: 522900
Master of Economics (Business administration in the CBU): 521600 Master of Forestry: 560900
6.3. Framework Regulations in Finland
In Finland the core issues concerning curricula are regulated by the Decree on University Degrees. The Finnish Government has recently agreed to replace the previous 19 field-specific decrees with one single decree covering all academic fields and degrees at the universities. These new regulations will be taken into use from 1 August 2005. In fact, this means that universities will have more flexibility when designing the structures and contents of degrees.
The Decree on University Degrees gives general guidelines on the following issues: the duration of the degrees, the number of credits in the degrees, general
structure of the degrees, required language skills and core goals of the degrees. Concerning curricular work the core goals for Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees are proposed. These goals are the same for every academic field. Providing the qualifications that entitle entry into a Master’s programme is one of the general goals for the Bachelor’s degree. Similarly, being qualified for doctoral studies is one of the general goals for the Master’s degree. This decree also provides the general regulations concerning the taking of degrees.
As a part of the national Bologna Process implementation there were established field-specific working groups led by one the faculties (or comparable unit) within each academic field. The task of these groups is to make recommendations on the implementation of the principles of framework regulation. This way of working should also ease mobility at the national level from one university to another.
6.4. Curricula Procedures
There does not seem to be remarkable differences in the formal procedures in curricula design and approval between the CBU partner universities. Both in Finland and the Russian Federation, a faculty-level decision-making body gives final approval for the curricula (in Finland, the Faculty Board or Department Board, while in the Russian Federation, the Academic Council of the Faculty). Also in Finland, in some cases, the Vice-Rector responsible for academic affairs gives final approval after the Faculty body has done so (e.g. at Lappeenranta University of Technology). In the Russian Federation the role of the individual professor is perhaps more important than in Finland in terms of taking the initiative to start the planning of a new programme.
In both countries the preparative work for curricula is made by the staff of the programme or unit. In the Russian Federation there is usually an expert body - a Methodological Council - under the Faculty Council for this purpose. In Finland the solutions do vary from one university to another, but usually there is a similar preparative committee or working group under the faculty or departmental-level administrative body.
In Finland there is rather long tradition of integrating students into curricula work. In the Russian Federation student feedback about courses also is gathered in some cases for the purposes of curricula development.
The differences in the nature of curricula regulations affect the curricula procedures as well. In the Russian Federation the existence of particular curricula is longer than in Finland because of the system of State Educational Standard. As a result, the cycles of curricular procedures are also different. In general it can be said that there are still only a few concrete descriptions about the existing procedures of curricula work at the universities, as well as at the CBU universities. When looking for the opportunities to design more and more joint curricula with national and international partners, this area may be one of
the most important ones to be developed. In order to make curricula work jointly, it should be possible to know, which precise actors are involved and in which stage of the process.
6.5. Language Studies within the CBU
The issue of required language studies within the CBU were discussed with the co-ordinators of each pilot. In general it is agreed that some professional language studies would be useful as a part of CBU studies. When reasonable skills in English are one of the access criteria for the planned study programmes, it raises the question about the possibility of courses in either Finnish or Russian. Obviously, this will be one of the issues to be discussed by the CBU academic teams. If the need for courses in professional English/Finnish/Russian is widely agreed upon, it could be wise to try to find out the synergy between the Master’s programmes.
The funding of language courses was discussed in a general way as well. It was noted that in every case it is not possible to find funding for additional language studies from the basic funding of the partner universities. Hence, one of the solutions could be allocating funding for co-operatively-arranged language courses by the CBU. As with all funding issues, this should be discussed among the CBU steering body in 2005 or later.
6.6. Main Challenges
- In general there are no existing process descriptions about the designing of curricula at the level of the university units.
- The nature of relevant legislation in Finland and in the Russian Federation diverges.
- The tradition of student participation in curricula work is rather different in Finland and in the Russian Federation.
- The pilot subjects have to discover the needs for language courses in Russian and in Finnish. If they are needed, some basic knowledge might be required in order to guarantee the possibility of linking the teaching of the languages to academic substance and the labour market.
6. The long-term goal of the CBU Master’s programmes should be joint curricula, which can be approved by all the partner universities both in Finland and the Russian Federation.
7. As a first step every academic team should design so-called ‘partly joint curricula’ in order to guarantee its approval nationally and institutionally. 8. As a part of CBU development work every pilot should make its own plan
of how to reach joint curricula in future.
9. As a part of the CBU Development Project transparent and clear procedures of making joint curricula should be designed in each academic
field to be piloted. This is the responsibility of the academic teams. These procedures should be included in a manual of good practices to be edited by the CBU management.
10. As a general part of the CBU curricula courses should be organised in the professional language within every Master’s programme. Pilots should find out the possibilities to organise these courses together.
7. CREDITING OF STUDIES
7.1. The Russian Federation
In the Russian Federation studies definitely are not performed through credits, but are credited through the average number of hours of students’ work. Study hours are allocated to particular modules or courses that are included in the State Educational Standard.
In Finland the system of national credits has been used since the 1980s. One credit has been equal to an average of 40 hours of student work. Within this framework, the universities have created their own guidelines on crediting, e.g. how many pages of a professional text that is read is equal to one credit, or how many pages of an essay that is written is equal to one credit. These guidelines have been both field-specific and university-specific.
Finnish universities will move to the ECTS-based crediting system from 1 August 2005. The framework of this ECTS-based crediting is defined in the new Decree on University Degrees. One academic year will comprise 60 study points (credits). These 60 study points should consist of 1600 hours of student work. Universities alongside their units have been preparing the new guidelines for crediting within this legal framework. Part of this work is being made in field-specific nationwide working groups.
7.3. Main Challenges
- A lot of work is needed in order to find the best solutions for crediting during the piloting period of the planned Master’s programmes.
11. All the CBU Master’s programmes should be credited according to the ECTS system. If some other system is also needed due to national or institutional regulation or statutes, ECTS credits will be converted for the purposes of curricula approval.
8. STUDENT SELECTION
8.1. The Russian Federation
In the Russian Federation student selection is primarily a responsibility of the universities, although some reforms in the direction of unified selection procedures have been introduced during recent years. Since 2001, a single nationwide standardised set of examinations has been experimented with by the Ministry of Education and Science. These examinations are called the Unified National Exam. It is possible that this kind of unified examination gradually will replace institution-based entrance examinations. The legal basis for the Unified National Exam is expected to be introduced in 2005.
The legal basis for admission to higher education gives a framework for access qualifications and, e.g. the special treatment of some groups (e.g. disabled persons). However, at the moment there are also widely-used systems of institution-based entrance procedures and examinations in the Russian Federation. Examinations can be both written and oral. The total number of exams to be passed within the selection procedure varies according to the institution and the academic field. Additionally, students who are not selected for state-financed places may obtain access to a programme through tuition payment. All universities are allowed to admit a certain number of tuition-paying students.
In Finland student selection is primarily a responsibility of the universities. The legislation gives the general framework for it, e.g. the principles of equal treatment of the applicants and treatment of the different national language groups (Finnish, Swedish). Also, the required qualifications to the each degree are stated in the Universities Act (1997).
The Finnish system of student selection to the universities recently has been evaluated by Finnish Higher Education Evaluation Council (FINHEEC). As a result, some changes are expected. For instance, universities are encouraged to organise more co-operative selection procedures within the same academic field in order to make student selection more fluent. At the national level this will concern primarily selection to Bachelor’s programmes.
According to the legislation, a person qualified for a Master’s programme is someone with a Bachelor’s degree, a polytechnic degree, a comparable foreign degree or a person with relevant skills and knowledge recognised by the university.
Students can be selected through various ways: the most common way is an entrance examination, but in some cases there are selections through previous
diplomas or grades. As noted, the future of a more co-operative student selection is still open, but there are no legal obstacles to its use. At the moment there are some existing practices of co-operative selection, especially in the field of technology.
8.3. Student Selection and Joint Study Programmes
Some of the CBU’s academic teams have already discussed the student selection arrangements at a preliminary level. At the time of making interviews and visits for this study, at least the following pilots had had some discussions about student selection: international relations, history and IT. All these subjects were chosen as the first cohort of CBU pilot subjects, which has obviously given them enough time for deeper discussion.
As noted earlier, one noticeable difference between the CBU countries is the general profile of the Master’s level student selection; in Finland at the moment it concerns only so-called separate study programmes (such as the CBU programmes), while in the Russian Federation second selection after the Bachelor’s degree is frequently used.
Both in Finland and the Russian Federation procedures and methods of student selection vary from one university to another. In the Russian Federation the interview as a part of the selection procedure seems to be much more typical than in Finland.
In both countries student selection usually is seen as part of the academic autonomy of higher education institutions and their units. Following from this, in most cases the procedures have to be re-thought to some degree in order to find coherence inside of each particular programme and the entire CBU.
In the report of the EUA dealing with joint degree issues, co-operative selection is noted as one of the important areas while building legitimacy for joint programmes and degrees in the eyes of potential students. Hence, this area of development may be seen also as an issue of attractiveness of the planned study programmes.
The final approval for student selection is one of the issues to be discussed within the CBU academic teams. When all students ‘belong’ to one of the partner universities, their approval probably has to be arranged on two levels: at the level of the Master’s programme (selection procedure) and at the level of the institution (approval by the relevant administrative body).
8.4. Main Challenges
- The different profiles of Master’s level student selection in Finland and in the Russian Federation are noticeable.
- Co-operative student selection requires a lot of institutional flexibility from the partner universities and their units.
12. In all CBU Master’s programmes the required access qualification should be a Bachelor’s or comparable degree recognised by the university. Especially during the piloting period of the CBU, also a Russian Specialist degree or a Finnish polytechnic degree should be taken into account as suitable access qualifications.
13. The suitable degrees (academic fields) for each programme should be defined as a part of CBU development work within the academic teams. 14. The long-term goal of CBU Master’s programmes should be a
co-operative selection organised by the partners of each pilot.
15. If co-operative selection is not possible during the piloting period of the Master’s programmes, the aim should be to select students in as identical a process as possible in each partner university within the same pilot. 16. Student selection procedures should be included in quality assurance both
at the level of the individual programme and that of the entire CBU.
9. RECOGNITION OF THE PLANNED MASTER’S DEGREES
9.1. Recognition of Joint Degrees
The recognition of joint degrees was handled widely at least in two recent documents: in the EUA report mentioned above and in the “Recommendation on the Recognition of Joint Degrees” of the Committee of the Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education in the European Region (also known as the Lisbon Recognition Convention).
Naturally, the recommendations of the Lisbon Recognition Convention do emphasise the importance of the recognition of joint degrees by the competent recognition authorities. The adequate access to a fair assessment of the qualifications is seen as the right of the holders of joint degrees. The basic assumptions behind the recommendations of the Lisbon Recognition Convention may be considered to be rather strict, when the recommended goal is to remove any legal obstacles to the recognition of joint degrees and to introduce legal provisions that would facilitate such recognition.
The use of the Diploma Supplement and ECTS-based credits also are seen as important tools when building the conditions for the recognition of joint degrees. In the EUA report the issue of recognition within its pilot projects were described as well. None of the pilot projects described was able to award degrees that
would have been recognised in all the partner countries in the project. Hence, this clearly describes the current situation of the joint degree as a new innovation to be developed.
9.2. The Russian Federation
In the Russian Federation the professional recognition of degrees is made by the National Information Centre on Academic Recognition and Mobility. This Centre works under the Ministry of Education and Science. Additionally to recognition matters, it functions as a data gathering and delivering organisation concerning higher education, qualifications and recognition. The Centre is a national link organisation to the ENIC/NARIC (European Network of Information Centres/National Academic Recognition Information Centres) network as well. Academic recognition is clearly an institutional responsibility in the Russian Federation. Naturally, the National Educational Standard and the final attestation create the primary framework for the recognition at the institutional level as well.
In Finland the professional recognition of foreign university degrees is made by the National Board of Education by a particular council. The National Board of Education is a national link organisation to the international ENIC/NARIC network.
Academic recognition, e.g. in matters of postgraduate studies, is made by the universities. At the level of legislation all Master’s degrees give the same qualifications to those completing postgraduate studies. Hence, the academic recognition made by the universities concerns mostly the field-specific issues and evaluation of competence based on academic performance (e.g. grades, research plan). This procedure concerns applicants both with national and foreign degrees.
9.4. Main Challenges
- The area of joint degree recognition is still unshaped and changes and new innovations also have to be followed by the CBU.
- The recognition of degrees in both Finland and the Russian Federation has to be one of the goals to be kept in mind when designing curricula.
17. The Master’s degrees awarded should be recognised at least at the national level both in Finland and the Russian Federation.
10. TUITION FEES AND FUNDING OF CBU ACTIVITIES
10.1 . Current Situation in the Russian Federation and in FinlandAs described earlier in this study, the current situation concerning tuition fees differs in Finland and in the Russian Federation. In Finland higher education leading to a degree is tuition free by law, while in the Russian Federation the use of fees has become rather common during the last decade. In fact this means that there can be three kinds of students in CBU programmes in the future: non-paying students of Russian universities, tuition-non-paying students at Russian universities and non-paying students at Finnish universities. Additionally, when dealing with the national legal frameworks and joint programmes within the CBU, a student’s position in terms of tuition fees is defined, not by citizenship, but by the degree-awarding institution. This has to be taken into account when marketing the programmes to foreign students outside the CBU countries.
In Finland the tuition-free position covers foreign students as well at the moment, though during recent years the discussion about the possibility of charging non- EU/ETA nationals has increased. Hence, it is possible that the position of foreign students in Finland will change somehow over the ensuing years.
10.2. Main Challenges
- In the context of the CBU these differences are not insurmountable, but they have to be arranged in a transparent way at the level of the study programmes and the entire CBU. This especially concerns the marketing of the study programmes.
- The question of the attractiveness of the programmes may rise between the partner universities when the same joint study programme is provided both as tuition-free and tuition-paying.
11. QUALITY ASSURANCE
11.1. Joint Quality – What Is It?
Quality assurance was one of the main topics of the Berlin ministerial meeting in September 2003 and discussion will continue at the Bergen ministerial meeting in May 2005. A great many organisations and individual actors have recently highlighted the importance of the particular needs for quality assurance in cross-border co-operation in the field of higher education. For instance, UNESCO and the OECD have collaboratively drafted a paper, “Guidelines on Quality Provision in Cross Border Higher Education”. The same topic was also promoted at the Warsaw conference by Mr. Christian Tauch of the German Rectors’ Conference. A typical fear expressed in cases of joint degrees/transnational education is of an increase in low quality providers or “degree mills”. This point was underlined, e.g. in the UNESCO/OECD recommendations. In the context of the CBU the
development of co-operation has a strong basis in terms of the credibility of the partners. Hence, there is also a reasonable basis for the jointly arranged quality of the education to be provided.
According to the EUA report the fundamental link between recognition, quality assurance and funding that is present in single degrees is much more complicated in case of the joint degrees. This complexity is also visible within the CBU. Compared to the single degrees, joint degree cooperation is much more development of the structure of the education and degree awarding management equally to the academic substance of the high quality.
Consensus and transparency between the partner institutions of the goals of the higher education provided is noticeable important, as well all kind of legitimacy of the programmes in the eyes of the potential students, financial sponsors and labour market. Additionally, the quality and legitimacy are not defined similarly by all these stakeholders.
Partly this cross-border quality assurance is – of course – a question of national accreditation and recognition of the degrees. Usually it is recommended that joint or other degrees awarded after a joint study programme should enjoy the same legal status as normal national degrees.
One of the key issues in the field of joint quality is networking and recognition of the national quality assurance agencies. As described below, both in Finland and the Russian Federation there are national quality assurance agencies with international connections. Although their national responsibilities diverge to some degree, they anyway have rather similar position in the international context. This kind of networking as a way of mutual recognition among the national quality assurance agencies seems to be becoming more and more common, as well as important. For instance, the European Network of Quality Assurance Agencies (ENQA) has a particular set of criteria for membership including autonomy from higher education institutions. There are an increasing number of non-state accreditation agencies or networks as well, the position of which within the Bologna Process or European Union is still rather open. For example, Business Schools have the EQUIS (The European Quality Improvement System) network, which awards its own accreditation according to a certain criteria and evaluation procedure. The networking and positioning of networks within the Bologna Process is still going on. At the Berlin Ministerial Meeting in 2003, ENQA was given an official role in matters of quality assurance development within the Bologna Process. Forthcoming decisions, statutes and recommendations made by ENQA do affect to the CBU as well, not actually depending on the membership of the national quality assurance agency. In the long run also the field-specific networks and accreditation organisations have relevance within the CBU.