Galina Akhmerova: ‘The employer must be the main interested party’

A labour market expert about the problem of shortage of students in state-funded places in Russian technical universities

Galina Akhmerova: ‘The employer must be the main interested party’
Photo: Rinat Nazmetdinov/

Many Russia universities didn’t manage to fill state-funded places this summer. “The shortage of students at university is 320 people! Physicists really concern — 13 places are free. If somebody didn’t enter the university they wanted, come here. Our graduates work in the Russian Academy of Sciences, in space-related enterprises,” one of the universities of the country published a post on social media calling upon applicants. In an op-ed column for Realnoe Vremya, founder of Darwin Modern Education Accessibility Development Fund, former top manager of BARS Group and creator of Round career guidance app for teenagers Galina Akhmerova reflects on the reasons for the failure of admission and the unwillingness of the youth to study technical and engineering specialities.

Chain: “school — college/university — business — parents”

A shortfall in the number of students for state-funded places is an unexpected turn for the education system. It is mainly technical and engineering specialities. The younger generation doesn’t want to become an engineer though the country needs it so much. I think the main reason is that they are not well informed about the opportunities of these sectors.

I want to cite words of Director of HSE NRU’s Institute of Education Development, Candidate for Economic Sciences, Professor Irina Abankina:

“Universities raised admission numbers but didn’t think about how graduates will find a job. Obviously, there is a discrepancy between the real demand in the labour market and admission to universities.”

I always talk about the long chain “school — college/university — business — parents.”

To organise practice not to tick the box

If we want there is no disproportion between job seekers and the professions a business really needs like it happens now, it is important to do a work with the school’/clubs/online platforms since grades six or seven. This is the goal of our app Round.

The absence of interaction leads to a staff shortage in some sectors and a surplus of candidates in others. This system can strike a balance if each of the members of the process realises they are a link of one chain and see the full picture. Not only what is taught at universities is important but also what experience a student got before university and what expects after graduation.

The employer must be the main interested party. While universities, in turn, should establish partnerships between every faculty and a number of partner employers and organise students’ internships not to tick the box in the educational report but so that students fulfil themselves in the workplace.

We work on raising teenagers’ interest

We closely work with such big companies as Nornickel, Rusal, KAMAZ, Tatneft, and according to feedback in our app and at events, we understand that the specialities in these sectors don’t attract the youth as much as we would like, therefore together with the companies we work on raising teenagers’ interest.

Round fest: TECH will be the next big event, it will be dedicated to technologies and their development in different areas, primarily in the industry.

We scheduled this festival for the start of the academic year so that would-be students have the time to try, know better and understand what these technical specialists are.

Galina Akhmerova

The author’s opinion does not necessarily coincide with the position of Realnoe Vremya’s editorial board.