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Stephane Ngo-Mai, Doctor of Economics, Vice President of Strategic Development Department of University of Nice Sophia Antipolis (28, Avenue Valrose. BP 2135. 06103 Nice Cedex 2). E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
VirginieOddo, Director of Strategic Development Department ofUniversity of Nice Sophia Antipolis (28, Avenue Valrose. BP 2135. 06103 Nice Cedex 2). E-mail: email@example.com.
Summary: The article, being basedon research results, discusses the current development of international joint educational programmes and their implementation models and illustrates this process using the example of cooperation between RANEPA and its partner university — the University of Nice Sophia Antipolis.
Keywords: educational standards, the Bologna Process, the mobility of students, joint educational programmes, master’s, bachelor’s, postgraduate, issuing double diplomas.
Russia’s participation in the Bologna Process involves a large-scale adaptation of educational standards, curricula and plans for the development of student exchange programs, issuing Russian and foreign diplomas of higher professional education. It also means the development of cooperation with European universities, French universities in particular.
Increasing cooperation between universities and research centers and promoting mobility of students in both directions are extremely important for further development of cooperation and strengthening ties between Russia and France, for training highly qualified personnel for joint Russian-French projects and for the expansion of economic connections and exports.
While in the academic year of 2007/08only 40 universities out of 215 Russian universities which develop programmes with foreign partners carried out such joint programmes with issuing double diplomas in 92 programs, in 2014, there were already 73 universitiesactively working with 238 double diploma programmes. The largest number of joint programmes is implemented by universities in Russia and France [Burkelet al.]. There were over 160 agreements on double diploma programmes signed between Russian and French universities by the beginning of 2015. Double diploma programmes are one of the most popular and interesting forms of joint educational university programmes.
As far as this way of cooperation is concerned, French universities are ahead of German and UK universities. In June 2015, a bilateral agreement on mutual recognition of education, qualifications and degrees was signed by the governments of the Russian Federation and the French Republic.
RANEPA also became involved in the development of joint educational programmes (JEPs) aimed at issuing double diplomas with a number of European universities. This process needs serious scientific and methodological elaboration, explanation of the methodological component, selection of innovative teaching methods. It also calls for selecting main areas of professional training and setting priorities in the development of joint educational programmes. The educational and methodological base of the partner University of Nice Sophia Antipolis (UNS) becomes an experimental platform for the development and adaptation of joint educational programmes for different departments of RANEPA.
UNS is one of 20 French universities (out of 300-400 universities in France)included in the Shanghai ranking (Academic Ranking of World Universities) and the sixth French university included in the ranking of the University of Leiden (which takes the 135th place in the world).UNS has seven departments, four institutes and two schools; it offers high-quality study programmes, a wide range of bachelor’s and master’s programmes which meet the expectations of students and are adapted to the conditions of the labor market.
UNS is involved in a large number of programmes of academic cooperation which are financed by the European Union or within the framework of Campus France. UNS signed more than 180 large-scale agreements with universities around the world, including 28 agreements on issuing double diplomas.
There are three ways in which JEP models are realized at the extensive (quantitative) stage of their development:
- There is practical borrowing of the programme of a foreign university (franchising).
- Students take two similar programmes of study at partner universities simultaneously (which leads to information overload of students and a sharp reduction in the number of students who have successfully completed both programmes).
- There is a real adaptation of programmes which is based on the creation of one integrated joint programme accepted by two partner universities.
Most of the existing joint programs of Russian and European universities carry out the second model of dual diploma programmes which is least effective but most time-consuming.
In our opinion, however, the latter model, which is not common now, will provide the future for joint international programmes at their intensive phase of implementation.
The transition to the intensive development of JEPs is aimed to:
- gradually resolve institutional issues (for example, an agreement on mutual recognition of educational qualifications and degrees between Russia and France has been signed),
- actively introduce an intensive language learning in obligatory and optional programmes at Russian universities (which becomes their major competitive advantage to attract more applicants and significantly expands the demand for JEP), and
- exploit modern innovative educational, management and information technologies in the educational process.
That is why the models of double certification at the intensive stage of JEP development are based on the following mandatory elements: the development and implementation of the regulatory and procedural framework for international educational cooperation, the mass introduction of intensive language learning programmes at partner universities and the creation of integrated joint programmes adopted by partner universities.
The JEP models based on mutual recognition of disciplines studiedthroughout the entire period of study at the national university are becoming more and more common. Also, as a rule, one-year compulsory study in a foreign university is part of this model(when it comes to France, it means that Russian bachelor’s students must study there for a year at the level of L3, master’s students – for a year at the level M1 or M2, and postgraduate students — 6 months out of each year of study). This eliminates the need for parallel and full study of two programmes at both universities; mutual recognition is based on trust in the methods and quality of the educational process in the partner universities. There has been a gradual introduction of recognition mechanisms: recognition of parts of programmes, whole programmes and graduation documents in partner universities. Partner universities award diplomas (usually of the state standard) to students who have successfully mastered JEP and have gone through one year of mobility experience.
JEP almost of any model involves the use of modern innovative educational, management and information technologies in the educational process. Thus UNS provides the following opportunities, which are widely used by both students and teachers: a virtual office with groups of disciplines and a set of necessary materials (for instance, lesson plans for each class, lists of required reading, reference materials, practical tasks and their solutions, archives with exam questions and answers, etc.), an online digital library, possibilities for video conferences, special e-learning systems for teachers (JALON, Adobe and Skype Connect), etc.
According to the report of 2014 [Burkelet al., p.11], the structure of joint educational programmes of dual certification between Russian universities and universities in the EU is as follows: out of 238 programmes, 20% of the programmes are implemented at the bachelor’s level, 9% — with specialists, 65% — double master’s programmes, 6% — double post-graduate programmes.
The comparative analysis of current implementation models of JEP. Model1.Bachelor’sprogrammes, the traditional model.
This model is based mainly on a complete borrowing of the programme from a foreign partner university. The model involves parallel studying of most subjects (over 50%) of a foreign partner university during the whole period of study, taking written examinations in the foreign language every semester with the exams being graded in the foreign university. It is obligatory for a national university to have professors who are capable of teaching disciplines of a foreign partner university in that foreign language.
The model is time-consuming to implement for both students and teachers. Students, in fact, have to study for two different courses simultaneously, take twice as many examinations and follow different requirements. All these problems lead to the fact that the number of students who have successfully completed two different programmes simultaneously is extremely small, whereas the number of students participating in the programme has been either rising very slightly or reducing in recent years.
Model 2. Bachelor’s programmes with JEP based on one-year exchange programme.
This programme of double diplomas is based on a study abroad internship in UNS for students in their third (and final) year of a bachelor’s programme in RANEPA. This programme represents a unique opportunity for students to obtain two state diplomas of partner universities for just one year of study in a partner university, unlike the programmes of the first model (with mobility during one or two semesters, but with the completion of two programmes of partner universities throughout the whole study period). The University of Nice Sophia Antipolisplans to implement such programmes with several European partners: the University of Turin, the University of Ferrara, the University of Kosice, the University of Oldenburg, the University of Seville and RANEPA.
When it comes to cooperation between RANEPA and the University of Nice Sophia Antipolis, the following two inter-institutional agreements lie in the foundation of this JEP model:
- the agreement of cooperation between these two universities, and
- the agreement of a joint educational programme.
The first agreement regulates interuniversity cooperation, and essentially it is the basis for the development of cooperation in the fields of education and science; it involves academic exchange and double certification programmes.The second agreement (about JEPs), which is developed by partnering departments, implements JEPs and regulates the cooperation of the parties as regardstheir implementation.
Let’s look at the example of the JEP aimed to train students for 38.03.04“State and municipal management” with a specialization in “Politics and Law” (bachelor’s degree). IPAM of RANEPA has two compulsory modules (the French and Russian modules) and one optional module (it is to be accomplished in France). The Russian students enrolled in this JEP programme are taught in Russian in the 1st-4th and 7th-8th semesters at the site of IPAM. This training period is called the Russian Module. In the 5th-6th semesters students are taught in French in UNS, and this period is called the French Module.
The French students who are enrolled in this JEP are taught during the first six semesters at UNS, and this period is called the French Module. In the 7th and 8th semesters the French students are taught in Russian at the site of IPAM, and this period is called the Russian Module.
Model 3. Joint Master’s programmes.
The most common form of JEP with awarding two diplomas — 65% of the existing double diploma programmes in 2014 between Russian and EU universities –is joint master’s programmes. Master’s programmes provide more opportunities for their integration with master’s programmes of a partner university because they are much less regulated by educational standards.
Thus, according to the Russian educational standards of the third generation, 75% of the curriculum can be diverse and be given the author’s approach [Krasnova et al.,P.40]. As a rule, a joint master’s programme means one year of studying in the partner university and one year in the national university. The main point, despite the differences in educational programmes, is that a master’s degree corresponds to the curriculum in120 ECTS. It is noteworthy to mention that in France it is not necessary, after finishing the 1st level of master’s, to continue study at the 2nd level which makes it easier to a certain extent to prepare and regulate a joint master’s programme. Besides, it becomes increasingly widespread to teach master’s programmes in English.
Model 4. Programmes of double postgraduate programmes.
These programmes are presented in two types: joint supervision in a postgraduate school and a joint programme of double postgraduate studies (COTUTELLE).
Joint supervision of a postgraduate student can be carried out both within the framework agreement between partner universities and without it. This supervision is realized in the form of joint consultations of postgraduate students with their supervisor at the university in their own country and the partner university. This study finishes with students defending their research work at the university of their country, the process of which goes according to the accepted rules of this country, and their obtaining a diploma (a candidate of sciences in Russia).
The second form –a joint postgraduate school — is a more complex form of study which results in students’ obtaining two diplomas — a candidate of sciences in Russia and a PhD at the partner university.
It goes without saying that all current models of JEP cannot be realized without students having an appropriate level of foreign language proficiency while studying at a foreign university (for example, to study in France bachelor’s students must have an international certificate of French DELF B2, master’s and postgraduate students — DELF C1).Moreover, these requirements become mandatory when agreements on any model of JEP are signed.
For this reason, the organization of intensive foreign language courses in the first two years of studying for a bachelor’s degree lays the foundation for intensive development of JEP and is paramount for the successful implementation of any model of JEP. The task of students’ achieving the required levels is accomplished in different ways: provision of mandatory language courses with at least 6-8 hours per week during the first six semesters at any JEP, organization of additional language courses (ranging from 144 to 500 hours in length), on-site intensive language courses in a partner university, summer and winter language schools.
The result of language learning has to be a certificate proving the appropriate language level. The universities can be in charge of conducting examinations (via the appropriate infrastructure). Students are free to choose the way or combine a few ways to learn the language.
Summing up the brief analysis, we would like to note that in the framework of joint educational RANEPA-UNS programmes the following work has been done:
- Standards, curricula of UNS programmes in the humanities, management, economics, law and other specializations were analyzed in order to adapt them to the Russian standards.
- Such areas of cooperation as joint research, JEP for humanities, administration, economics, law and other specializations were proposed.
- There has been an analysis of existing models of JEP as well as testing of new models of joint higher education programmes with French universities, including networking and distant learning courses taught by European professors.
In practical terms, our proposals require:
- the development of joint educational programmes between UNS and RANEPA,
- selection and justification of innovative teaching methods used for joint study programmes,
- updating the regulatory framework of JEP at all stages of the educational process: the undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate,
- the development of the trajectory (“roadmap learning”) for an individual curriculum for students who are enrolled in the double diploma programme.
In conclusion, it should be noted that the combination of human and technological resources of partner universities is aimed at the implementation of new approaches to meet the needs of students and employers and develop quality and effective double diploma programmes; at expanding student exchange programmes — within the framework of intensive language programmes as well.
- Burkel N.,Tvorogova S.,&Shenderova S. Innovatsii i izmemeniya v transnatsional’nom obrazovanii. Sovmestnye programmy mezhdu evropeyskimi i rossiyskimi vuzami [Innovations and changes in transnational education. Joint programmes between European and Russian universities]The report of the EU Delegation in Russia.July 2014 .
- Krasnova G.A. MalyshevaM.M. Syulkova N.V. Prakticheskoye rukovodstvo po sozdaniyu i soprovozhdeniyu sovmestnykh obrazovatel’nykh program.[Practical guide for the creation and support of joint educational programmes.] M .: People’s Friendship University of Russia, 2014.
- Data provided by the Department of Strategic Development at UNS.
 The University of Nice Sophia Antipolis, which was established in 1965, is a classical university. In 2015, there are more than 25,000 students, about 1,500 teachers and researchers. The university has 12 main campuses. Because of its geographical location, UNS attracts foreign students of 131 nationalities, which is 18.5% of the total number of students (4,500 people).