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Regular version of the site

Education and Human Development in the Changing World

Education and Human Development in the Changing World

Research Adviser
Martin Carnoy

PhD, Academic Supervisor at the HSE International Laboratory for Education Policy Analysis, Professor at Stanford University
H-index: 12

Isak Froumin

Doctor of Sciences in General Pedagogy, History of Pedagogy and Education, Academic Supervisor at the HSE Institute of Education
H-index: 1

Stategic Academic Unit Structure and System

Stategic Academic Unit 'Education and human development' belongs to the second type of Stategic Academic Unit of HSE.

Management Committee (Heads of key Subdivisions):


Martin Carnoy

Academic Supervisor of the International Laboratory for Education Policy Analysis, HSE National Research University, Professor of Stanford University

Isak Froumin

Academic advisor of the Institute of Education, HSE National Research University

Dmitry Kurakin

Director of the Center for Cultural Sociology and Anthropology of Education, HSE National Research University

Igor Chirikov

Academic Supervisor of the Center of Internal monitoring, HSE National Research University

Elena Kardanova

Director of the Center of Education Quality Monitoring, HSE National Research University

Katerina Polivanova

Deputy Director, Center of Leadership Development in Education, HSE National Research University

Alexander Sidorkin

Director of the Department of Educational Programs, HSE National Research University

Viktor Bolotov

Academic Supervisor of the Center of Education Quality Monitoring of the Institute of Education, HSE National Research University

Maria Yudkevich

HSE Vice Rector, Director of the Center for Institutional Studies, HSE

Daniil Alexandrov

Dean of the St. Petersburg School of Social Sciences and Humanities, HSE

Vladimir Gimpelson

Director of the Center for Labour Market Studies, HSE

International Advisory Committee:


To build first in Russia and globally competitive academic Center of Excellence in the area of education and human development focused on interdisciplinary research.

Main Objectives:

  • To implement the interdisciplinary research and development program focused on major global and national challenges in the area of education and human development within and beyond the frameworks of social institutes, including joint comparative international projects with universities and research centers of USA, European and BRIC countries;
  • To create a “think tank” designing and analyzing state policy and reforms in the sphere of education;
  • To become one of the leading graduate schools of education in Europe due to the development of the global postgraduate educational programs in English, integrated with the R&D activities of Stategic Academic Unit, as well as to the modular master and professional development programs.

Main Anticipated Deliverables:

  • Stategic Academic Unit is the national leader in international comparative studies, who acts as a “access point” for Russia into the global education research agenda, especially when considering education systems and institutes transformation, longitudinal studies on education and work trajectories, factors, influencing educational achievements and human development within and beyond educational institutions;
  • Stategic Academic Unit secures a degree of financial resource stability and dependable data collection through consulting international and national clients and creation of mirror laboratories in partner institutions;
  • Stategic Academic Unit enrolls best Russian and international students in graduate educational programs, such as Comparative Education, Education and Human Development, Evidence-based Education Policy, Measurement in Psychology, and Education, and Higher Education Management
  • Recognition of HSE in the international academic community, based on the university’s position in top global rankings: HSE should rank in the Top 100 of the QS World University Rankings by Subject in Social Sciences & Management and in Development Studies, Education, and Sociology.

Key Subdivisions and Associated Units:

Key Internal Partners

The Stategic Academic Unit is the driver in the area of Education. Stategic Academic Unit and its partner units jointly conduct research and education projects:

  • Center of Institutional Studies
  • Faculty of Social Sciences and its structural subdivisions
  • St. Petersburg School of Social Sciences and Humanities
  • Institute for Historical and Theoretical Studies in the Humanities


 Grant proposal (PDF, 710 Kb)

 Roadmap (DOCX, 97 Kb)

Key Educational Programs and Their Development

Stategic Academic Unit has 7 Master’s programs (522 students), as well as a doctoral program in Pedagogics and Educational Sciences (25 postgraduate students).

The Stategic Academic Unit's strategy with respect to education programs encompasses two aims::

1. To place the existing programs at the center of Stategic Academic Unit’s four-fold mission

  • Two full-time programs (in Educational Policy and Measurements prepare students for our PhD program or for positions of analytics. Both were created with the help of strategic partners: the World Bank, the Ministry of Education and Science, Stanford University, Boston College. These programs serve as a pipeline to the PhD program, and prepare a key pool of education analytics for the government. We envisage deep integration of research and education within these programs through project-based approach. Open access journal for students’ publications will be created in 2017, and a business incubator will be established in 2018 to support students’ ideas for innovations in education;
  • Two part-time programs train administrators for general (https://www.hse.ru/en/ma/eduman/) and higher education (https://www.hse.ru/en/ma/mannedu/). Both attract a number of accomplished education management professionals. The objective for 2017-2018 is to turn the already significant alumni network into a real agent of reform throughout Russia and into an ‘ambassador’ of the research and consultancy developed in Stategic Academic Unit;
  • Three more programs are aimed at advanced training of in-service teachers in History, Social Sciences, and Language Arts. In 2017, they will be connected to the newly created research center for teaching and learning in social sciences and humanities. Another program for in-service teachers of math will be created in 2018

2. To attract a significant number of international students and top Russian students through offering new educational products

  • Offer the existing full-time programs in English (starting in 2017);
  • Develop a new program in comparative education (taught fully in English) in partnership with three other universities in 2018; tentatively Beijing University, University of Wisconsin, UCL Institute of Education,  National University of Educational Planning and Administration (India) and University of San Paulo. International students will make up 75% of the student body;
  • In 2019, we will change the language of instruction to English in our PhD program and recruit up to 1/3 of international students.

Key Research Projects and Their Development

The Institute of Education and International Laboratory for Education Policy Analysis of HSE (the Stategic Academic Unit key contributing units), both founded less than 5 years ago, have developed significant expertise in considering links between student achievement and cultural and social factors. Participation in major comparative studies has allowed us to identify major trends in the dynamics of educational systems, especially those of post-socialist countries (at national and regional levels).

Stategic Academic Unit‘s main assumptions:

  • the nature of educational systems and their relation to the external context are reflected in several transitions: from emerging to developed economies, from autocratic to democratic societies, from industrial to postindustrial age, from elite to mass education. Russia and CIS, as well as BRIC countries are considered to be “natural laboratories” of such transitions;
  • education and human development happens not only within educational institutes, but also in other arenas beyond traditional institutions. The interdisciplinary approach and up-to-date information technologies allow us to examine the learning and human development in complex ecosystems. Concentration of specialists in closely related research areas at HSE makes a multi-discipline approach possible;
  • education transcends national borders; it is vital to study the education system as a network of global sub-systems impacting human and social development. Stategic Academic Unit has developed unique networks with the leading global centers of studies of education; they collectively serve as a bridge between Russian and international research communities.
  • The mentioned issues are fundamental, but also have a practical impact. Consequently, each project presented below, includes elements of fundamental and applied research, as well as policy proposals.
Stategic Academic Unit is engaged in the following types of projects:

Major international comparative studies:

1. Comparative analysis of the quality of higher education in the global economy of knowledge (BRIC countries)

Project heads: Isak Froumin (Academic advisor of the HSE’s Institute of Education HSE) and Martin Carnoy (Academic Supervisor of the International Laboratory for Education Policy Analysis, HSE and Professor of Stanford University).

The project is being done in partnership with the leading foreign universities, such as Stanford University School of Education; China Institute for Education Finance Research (CIEFR), Beijing University; National University of Educational Planning and Administration, India, Institute for Labour and Social Studies, Brazil.

At the initial phase, the first international comparative study of higher education has been conducted in Russia, India and China. The book with the project results was published in USA (Stanford University Press), Russia, Brazil, and is being prepared for publication in China.

The next step will involve a more advance analysis of education systems characteristics, related to the consequences of the increased mass access to higher education and to the expansion of extra-institutional ways of obtaining higher education, as well as the problem of a growing educational inequality in BRIC countries.

2. International Study on Student Experience in the Research University

Project heads: Igor Chirikov (Leading Research Fellow of the Institute of Education of HSE; Executive Director of the International Consortium “Student Experience in the Research University”); and John Aubrey Douglass (Senior Research Fellow of the Center for Studies in Higher Education (CSHE) at the University of California – Berkeley)).

The project has been active since 2014 in partnership with University of California – Berkeley; University of Minnesota; International Graduate Insight Group Ltd (i-graduate).

This is the only project in the world where the educational environment of research universities is analyzed through large-scale collection of comparative data on student experience (more than 500.000 student questionnaires have been collected since 2011 in the leading research universities of USA, China, Japan, South Africa, and Europe). In 2016-2018, it will focus on the issues of students’ involvement in research and on their educational tracks. The Consortium plans to expand the project to dozens of universities of China, USA and Russia. The project uses Internet-based survey technologies for the purposes of project cost reduction, which allows for creation of a unique massive data-base.

3. Higher Education System Dynamics and Institutional Diversity in Post-Soviet Countries

Project heads: Jeroen Huisman (Professor of Ghent University); Anna Smolentseva (Vice-Chair of the Council for International Higher Education (CIHE)), Isak Froumin (Academic advisor of the Institute of Education).

The project started in 2013 with the support of the World Bank and in partnership with Ghent University, University College London, and other international partners.

The project goal is to identify education development patterns in post-soviet countries over 25 years of transitions. The experience of continuous transformation of 15 initially identical systems can be viewed as a natural quasi-experiment, allowing researchers to examine connections between education and social-economic changes. Initially the project was focused on higher education in the context of institutional diversity. 15 national research groups were created. At present time the final monograph is being prepared in the Palgrave publishing house.

At the second stage (2016) the project will focus on the patterns of higher education comprehensive development and its social function. Additionally, primary and secondary education will be studied as well, and for this purpose 15 research teams have been already organized in all former USSR countries.

At the third stage (2018) the project will expand to include teams from at least 25 countries of the Central and Eastern Europe, former USSR, and Southeast Asia.

4. Comparative research of the academic profession

Project heads: Maria Yudkevich (Director of the Center for Institutional Studies of HSE) and Philip G. Altbach (Founding Director of the Center for International Higher Education in the Lynch School of Education, Boston College)

The project is realized in partnership with the Boston College. In 2012, during the first and second phases, the project focused on general issues of academic profession in comparative perspective, as well as the inbreeding phenomenon.  Several books have been published in the reputable international publishing houses. A network of academic profession researchers was formed, uniting colleagues from 20 countries. The third phase focuses on the career tracks of young scientists and lecturers. In the future, international comparative analysis will be conducted on specified categories of academic profession.

5. International comparative studies

Stategic Academic Unit is considered to be the chief Russian operator of major international comparative studies, conducted by OECD. TALIS (international study of teacher’s profession), PIAAC (International study on adults’ competence), ESP (educational and social progress), Creative and Critical Thinking study, as well as partner of the Center of Education Quality assessment of the Russian Academy of Education in conduction of PISA and TIMSS studies.
 Participation of Stategic Academic Unit specialists in international networks for realization of these projects allows to achieve deep analysis of the studies’ results, which is now conducted in partnership with USA, Brazil, Finland. Conduction of the following rounds of TALIS, PIAAC and ESP in 2017, 2018 and 2019 will help to reinforce the international positioning of Stategic Academic Unit

Longitudinal studies, based on big datasets:

1. The longitudinal study of education and occupational trajectories

Project headsDmitry Kurakin (Director of the Center for Cultural Sociology and Anthropology of Education of HSE) and Hans-Peter Blossfeld (Prof. of Sociology European University Institute (project consultant)).

The project is realized in partnership with Yale University (USA), Leibniz Institute for Educational Trajectories (Germany); European University Institute in Florence (Italy); Linnaeus University (Sweden); Department of Social Sciences, Masaryk University (Czech Republic); Mount Holyoke College (USA). 

The project incorporates several cohort panels, including about 25 thousand respondents, formed on the basis of international studies of TIMSS and PISA, which defines its unique character. The instruments and longitude database are tailored for a wide range of research questions, including disclosure of mechanisms and models of education and profession selection; analysis of typical education-career tracks, factors and cultural institutions which influence these tracks; study of status quo and dynamics of education disparity.

In the future panel studies will be conducted biannually, a wider range of questions will be incorporated into the project, related to disclosure and analysis of economic, social, cultural and other factors influencing the education tracks of students on different levels of education, identifying the level of students’ engagement in educational process, education outcomes, as well as the students’ further life and labor trajectories.

2. Quality assessment of technical education in BRIC countries / ISHEL - International Study of Higher Education Learning in BRIC countries

Project headsElena Kardanova (Director of the Center of Education Quality Monitoring of the Institute of Education, HSE National Research University); Prashant Loyalka - Leading Research Fellow in the International Laboratory for Education Policy Analysis, HSE National Research University, Professor of Stanford University).

The project is being realized in partnership with the Stanford University; Educational Testing Service, USA; Tsinghua University, China. 

The project aims to conduct an international comparative longitudinal study of educational achievement of engineering students in BRIC countries and USA, as well as to study individual and institutional factors influencing quality of engineering qualification in those countries. The project has started in 2014 with the development of unique international instruments and a pilot research on dozens of higher educational institutions in three countries. For the first time in the world practice, the project analyzed educational achievements of students who are receiving engineering education in higher educational institutions in core disciplines (mathematics, physics, informatics), as well as the students’ critical thinking and mathematical literacy. The project analyses factors which influence the educational achievements of students getting engineering education in different countries (institutional characteristics of higher educational institutions, social-economic characteristics of students and lecturers characteristics).

Research projects on globally relevant education issues, conducted on the basis of data collected in Russia:

1. Genesis and trends of inequality in general education in countries with transition economies

Project headsSergey Kosaretsky (Director of the Center of Socioeconomic Development of School of the Institute of Education of the HSE), Viktor Bolotov (Academic Supervisor of the Center of Education Quality Monitoring of the Institute of Education, HSE National Research University), Martin Carnoy (Academic Supervisor of the International Laboratory for Education Policy Analysis, HSE National Research University, Professor of Stanford University) and Andrey Zakharov (Deputy Head of the HSE Institute of Education’s International Laboratory for Education Policy Analysis of HSE).

The project is realized in partnership with the University of Malaya. 

The project is the first of its kind to aim at disclosing the patterns in genesis and reproduction of inequality in general education in different geographical, demographical and social-cultural situations in countries with transition economies which dismantled the socialistic institutions and tools aimed at overcoming inequality. During the first phase of the project the data on the scale and character of educational inequality in Russia was collected for the first time.

In 2016-2019 the project will focus on studying the patterns which define the trajectories of individual students within the educational system depending on their personal and family circumstances, structural mechanisms of inequality reproduction. It will also study the mechanisms which enable the schools to contribute to the reduction of social disparity by compensating the low cultural capital of the family and increasing the chances of children for upwards social mobility. The project is unique in scale of data collection and the research issues it covers.

2. Contemporary childhood, environments of education and development (Environments of Human Development)

Project heads: Katerina Polivanova (Deputy Director, Center of Leadership Development in Education, HSE National Research University) and Jarkko Hautamäki (Emeritus Professor University of Helsinki, Center for Educational Assessment).

The project is to start in 2016 in partnership with the University of Tampere with the support of the Government of Moscow. 

The research will focus on how human education and general development takes place in contemporary conditions, as well as on the role of different official and unofficial educational systems in that development. For the first time in Russia, data on unofficial education will be collected and analyzed in the research.

In future, the project will allow to study and describe the contemporary childhood and mechanisms of growing-up in current conditions; to disclose the connection between education and development, as well as family and environment contribution to the success of educational and professional trajectories. As of 2017 it is planned to broaden the scope of the project into an international comparative analysis of child development in the education eco-system.

3. Formation and Evaluation of the Skills of the XXI century

Project headsPatrick Griffin (Chair of Education (Assessment) at the University of Melbourne), Elena Kardanova (Director of the Center of Education Quality Monitoring, HSE National Research University) and Ekaterina Orel (Research Fellow of the Center of Education Quality Monitoring, HSE National Research University).

The project will be started in 2016 in partnership with the World Bank and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). 

Formation of “The Skills of XXI Century” (leadership, cooperation and team work, self-management of time and priorities) is considered to be the predominant task of the education system. Employers prioritize these skills and value them more other than specific subject knowledge or skills. However, there are no unified instruments on the market for the evaluation of these highly demanded skills.

In the future the project will allow to develop XXI century skills evaluation instruments and offer these tools to higher educational institutions, so that they can be used for individual assessment of students and graduates of higher educational institutions, as well as education quality evaluation.

4. Application of the social networks analysis and “learning analytics” for the development of new generation education technologies

Project headsAlexander Sidorkin (Director of the Department of Educational Programs, HSE National Research University), Ryan S. Baker (Associate Professor of Cognitive Studies in Education in the Department of Human Development at Teachers College Columbia University).

The project is to be realized in partnership with the Columbia University. 

The project is aimed at development of social networks analysis methods and tools, which will allow to revolutionize field studies in education by reducing the costs of data collection and analysis. This will allow to create predictive models of the possible risk zones in the education trajectories of the children and to provide teachers with recommendations in real-time. Similarly, application of learning analytics will allow to identify flexible education trajectories in real-time.

Links between research studies and educational programs

Stategic Academic Unit's educational programs are closely integrated with the research activities owing to participation of all lecturers in the study projects of Stategic Academic Unit, engagement of research fellows in lecturing activities, and students - in the process of collection, analysis and interpretation on real empirical data. Not fewer than 50% of students participate in realization of projects of Stategic Academic Unit.

Promotion of the research results into the practice and global academic community

Promotion of the reforms and new ideas in the sphere of education is an important activity of Stategic Academic Unit. Stategic Academic Unit holds the system of workshops and webinars which attract more than 20 thousand people yearly. It publishes the journal “Educational Studies” which has become the second Russian education journal by the impact-factor for the last five years. Currently “Educational Studies” is being considered to be indexed by the Scopus. Stategic Academic Unit is a parent organization for publishing the journal “Russian Education and Society” indexed by Scopus. The creation of the journal “Education in Transforming World” is planned in cooperation with a number of the leading universities.

Stategic Academic Unit is a host of the well-known international conference in higher education research, which every year brings together world leading experts. In addition, with the support from the Agency for Strategic Initiatives, Stategic Academic Unit is the organizer of the “Innovations in Education Challenge”, representatives of the 16 countries participated in the challenge in 2015.

The HSE became the only research center from Russia included in the Global Inventory of Higher Education Research Centers in 2015 due to the activities of the Stategic Academic Unit and its partner units.


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