15:13, June 10, 2016
Transformation of education in BRICS countries was one of the issues discussed at NAFSA Conference in Denver, Colorado, USA.
The centre of the BRICS Studies at Ural Federal University took part in organization of the session ‘Initiatives of the transformation of education in BRICS countries: opportunities of the cooperation’ during international NAFSA conference in Denver, Colorado, USA on June 1st, 2016. The session attracted attention of the participants of this large international forum. The speakers were Prof. Maxim Khomyakov, Director of the centre of BRICS studies at Ural Federal University (Russia); Prof. Jose Celso Freire Jr., President of FAUBAI Association (Brazil); Prof. Nico Jooste, President of IEASA Association (South Africa), and Alexey Falaleev, the director of the expert assistance of 5-100 Programme (Russia).
Maxim Khomyakov opened the discussion with presentation of the main joint academic projects in the framework of BRICS, such as BRICS Network University, BRICS University League as well as some network research projects of universities and scientific centres of BRICS countries. BRICS Network University, which was established with the support of the Ministries of Education of all five BRICS countries, has really great potential. It involves 55 universities from all BRICS countries. The majority of the 12 Russian participants are also members of the 5-100 project. Prof. Khomyakov indicated the main directions of the BRICS Network University activities, such as development of academic mobility; joint PhD programmes, based on joint research; coordination of the cooperation in innovations and knowledge transfer. The main further steps in this direction are: (1) international thematic groups should agree on the content of the Master’s and PHD programs; and (2) international governing board must define the financial principles. The first academic exchanges should start already in January 2017. Thus the collaboration in the framework of the BRICS Network University is developing really fast and should bring its first results really soon.
Prof. Jose Celso Freire Jr., President of FAUBAI and a vice-president of the Universidade Estadual Paulista Júlio de Mesquita Filho (UNESP, Brazil) introduced Brazilian system of higher education. In his presentation he emphasized the importance of the BRICS collaboration and noted that the single state of Sao-Paolo developed more than 30 joint Brazilian-Russian research projects. Cooperation with BRICS countries is considered as one of paramount importance in Brazil.
Prof. Nico Jooste, President of IEASA Association and director of the department of international education of Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth (South Africa) discussed South African system of Higher Education. He commented on the expansion of the system and said that although there were 23 universities in South Africa for the moment, 3 more universities were to be established in the nearest future. Comparatively small number of the universities is partly explained by the fact that South Africa adopted a model of large comprehensive universities. The speaker emphasized importance of the BRICS as an alternative model of cooperation in contemporary world and supported extension of this model to the collaboration between the universities and research centres.
Alexey Falaleev talked about international collaboration in the framework of 5-100 project. He described the first results of the project, including progress of Russian Universities in the main academic rankings. According to the speaker, regular seminars, which attract professionals from the best world universities, could help Russian universities greatly to develop effective relations with their foreign partners.
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