Bologna is the most important reform process in higher education in Europe of which Russia has become a member since September 2003 having singed the Berlin Communique of the Conference of Ministers responsible for Higher education alongside with seven more signatories thus making explicit its commitment to the aims of integration into the European higher education area.
The existing structure of the tertiary education system legislation is defined by the Laws of the Russian Federation “On Education” (1992) and “On the Higher and Post-graduate professional education” (1996). The legislation is constantly up-dated to respond to domestic and international changes. Specific steps in reform of this system are expounded in the “Federal Target Education Development Programme for 2000-2005” (approved by order of the RF government on December 23, 2005, No. 803) and the “Conception for modernization of the Russian education system until 2010” (approved by order of the RF Government on December 29, 2001, No. 1756-r). The strategic priorities and goals in the development of the educational system of the Russian Federation are laid out in the document, “On Priority Directions for Development of the Education System of Russian Federation” (2005), approved by the RF Government. These documents stipulate that internationalization is one of the main goals of the higher education modernization.
In 2007 the government adopted amendments to the Law on Education stipulating the introduction of 2-cycles degree system (Bachelor/ study for at least 4 years and Master/study for at least 6 years) as obligatory for all TEIs and education programmes, except for a limited list of programmes for which the traditional degree of Specialist (study for at least 5 years) is maintained (Law “On Amendments to Certain Legal Acts of the Russian Federation within the part concerning the establishment of degrees in education” N232-FZ of 24 October 2007).
These and other latest amendments to legislation lay out legal foundations for transition to two cycle (Bachelor and Master) system, the curricula reform, creation of a transparent quality assessment system compatible with the common reference points defined by the European Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance adopted by European Education Ministers in 2005.
The objectives of building the European Higher Education area require that Russian universities and educational institutions re-engage with the overall purposes of the reform in order to ensure a stronger student focus, employability, mobility, attractiveness and social inclusion, engagement with the social partners for developing lifelong learning.
The major challenge now facing the higher education system and HEIs is designing, implementing and delivering curricula of the new (third) generation of federal state educational standards complying to the labor market demands and international trends in higher education. The new standard adopts learning outcomes and competences based approach, flexibility based on implementation of ECTS, student centeredness and engagement with employers as the main principles as stated in the decision of the Ministry of Education and Science Collegium of February, 1st, 2007 (¹ ÏÊ-1). It is understood that reforming of the curricula should be a gradual process based on a shared platform for networking and methodology which allows flexibility and autonomy in the construction of curricula, at the same time, providing a common language for describing what the curricula are aiming at.
The Russian Federation National reports on Bologna reforms: 2005, 2007, 2009.