Engineering Education in Russia and the Quality Training of Specialists in the Area of High Technologies

The article presents the history of the establishment and development of engineering education in Russia. Indeed, Russia has contributed significantly to engineering education internationally. Recent advances have led to the formation of a technical university in Russia, which is a centre of science, education and culture that realises mostly fundamental research and professional training, generally for scientific and technical activities in a wide spectrum of directions and specialties. Furthermore, specialist training in the field of high technologies is an education-capacious process that is being explored in cooperative programmes between Russian industry and Russian higher educational institutions. The main directions of this reform seek to form a new generation of engineers who can meet the demands of the post-industrial society, educational and scientific-technical potential of higher educational institutions in Russia. This next generation will be able to solve problems concerning the quality of education in the area of high technologies and use Russian and foreign educational experience. Important areas of humanisation, fundamentalisation and professionalism in forming the content of engineering education in high technologies are also discussed.

Vassiliy M. Zhurakovsky
Ministry of Education of the Russian Federation, Lusinovskaya str. 51, Moscow 113833, Russia

Yuri P. Pokholkov
Russian Association for Engineering Education, Spassky tupik, Moscow 129090, Russia

Boris L. Agranovich
Tomsk Polytechnic University, 30 Lenin Avenue, Tomsk 634034, Russia


Russia has benefited from 300 years of history in engineering education and the same period of industrial progress [1]. The beginning of engineering education in Russia was laid by the foundation of the School of Mathematical and Navigational Sciences in Moscow in accordance with Tsar Peter the Great's Decree dated 27 January 1701 (new calendar). The Decree put special emphasis on the fact that the school needed not only sea-sailing and engineering, but also artillery and civil use.

The total number of students at the School was defined as 500, but at times went up to 700 persons. The School taught mathematics, geodesy, sea sailing, cartography, astronomy and a number of other engineering and technical subjects. It was soon placed in the building of Sucharyovskaya Tower, which incorporated special laboratories equipped for practical studies and an observatory. The navigators practiced on sea ships and made geodesic maps. By the time of establishment, the School was the first and the biggest educational institution in Europe of its type [2].

Soon after the Navigational School, the Artillery-Engineering School was organised (1701). In 1703, the Moscow Engineering School was formed, then the St Petersburg Engineering School in 1713. The Mining College was founded in St. Petersburg in 1733, which was equal in status to academies.

The reason for establishing the Mining College, as stated in the report by the Senate, was from the request of factory owners in the Urals to provide them with educated managers. The College taught arithmetic, algebra, geometry, the art of marksheidering, mineralogy, metallurgy, painting, chemistry, physics, mechanics, and the French, German and Latin languages. The list of subjects was gradually growing and in the early part of the 19th Century, it included palaeontology, the art of mining, mining statistics, mining law, device study, drawing, geography, Russian history, zoology, botany, etc. The inclusion of these subjects supposed assurance of the wide profile of specialists. The Mining College searched for ways to make study and work processes closer. Thus, on its territory a study mine with mining output was created, which gave students the opportunity not only to acquaint themselves with their work, but also promoted specialist skills and abilities.

Since the beginning of the 19th Century, the process of establishing higher technical schools in Russia continued, although the process went on at an extremely slow pace. In 1828, The St Petersburg Practical Technological Institute was founded, which was followed in 1830 by the Moscow Handicraft Education Institution for preparation of skilled workmen with theoretical knowledge [1].

However, there was an obvious lack of highly educated engineers in Russia. Only 2,076 managers of factory and plant enterprises out of 27,132 (8%) had technical education. One quarter of these were foreigners.

The preparation of highly qualified technical specialists was carried out at professional higher educational institutions. The first to start such preparation of engineers were: the Mining Technological Institute; the Practical Technological Institute; and the Kharkov Technological Institute. In 1895, there were 11 higher technical educational institutions with 5,497 students. One characteristic of most of the higher technical educational institutions was their multi-profile nature. They mostly had four departments: mechanical, chemical, engineering-construction and economics.

Tutorials offered by higher special educational institutions were carried out better than those at Universities. In the largest of them, the practical studies took place in laboratories, rooms and workshops. At the Moscow Higher Technical College there was also a small mechanical factory. This College was rewarded many times for its organisation of practical studies, including the golden medal in the worldwide workshop in Philadelphia, and golden medals in Paris and Vienna. The organisation of practical studies in the College was later replicated by higher educational institutions (HEI) of other countries, receiving the name Russian System [1].

The end of the 19th Century and the beginning of 20th Century were characterised by considerable positive changes in the sphere of staff preparation for the industrial development. A number of higher technical educational institutions were established: the Moscow Engineering College in 1896; the Kiev and Warsaw Polytechnic Institutes in 1898, the Yekaterinoslavl Higher Mining College in 1899, the Tomsk Institute of Technology (the first technical HEI in the East of the country) in 1900; and the Electro-technical Institute in St Petersburg in 1891. In 1902, the Petersburg Polytechnic Institute was established, which represented a new type of higher technical educational institution in terms of the wide spectrum of equipment and new departments (metallurgical, electric-mechanical, shipbuilding and economics) [1].
After the 1917 revolution, and during the industrialisation of the country, especially after the war, higher engineering education in Russia developed at a very fast rate. At the beginning of the 1960s, some of the best higher technical engineering schools of the world were established in Russia and their achievements are widely recognised. The quality of higher engineering education in Russia was, and still is, acknowledged all over the world. During the time of the Russian advance into space, American experts explained it by a better system of education in the Soviet Union.
Lately, despite the economic downfall in Russia, world experts positively evaluated the conditions and tendencies of Russian higher engineering education. For example, the World Bank's report into the reconstruction and development in the mid-1990s stated that when the political, economic and social situation in Russia is not simple, the system of engineering education turned out to be one of the strongest, despite many difficulties.


A systems analysis of causes that speak for the necessity of deep changes in Russian engineering education shows that the necessary objective of reform at the threshold of two centuries is caused by a number of important trends in world development, change in the social and economic basis of the country and realising the need to shift to anthropo-economy. Added to this is the establishment of new value-and-meaning characteristics of education [3].
The lead factors that have strongly influenced engineering education can be attributed to the imperative for human progress and the shift towards a model of stable development in civilisation. Other factors include the economic reconstruction of developed countries, the domination of science and education aimed at the economy and the formation of social and economic structures of post-industrial society [3].

The new paradigm of education as the main mechanism of ensuring the survival of humankind and the stable development of civilisation is in its content oriented towards the development of the qualities of people. It states necessary tasks of person-oriented professional education in which personal aspects of activity are consciously marked as important and essential for engineering activity. It demands the strengthening of links between education and culture, the radical increase in the creative potential of specialists and strengthening fundamental training. It also defines the priority development of higher technical education, which fully meets the new tasks for the development of civilisation and forming human qualities.

The basis for the reform of engineering education in Russia is made up of unique experiences, traditions and everlasting values of specialist training at Russian universities and higher engineering schools, as well as the achievements of foreign universities.

The traditions of higher technical schools in Russia have formed over three centuries. As early as at the end of the 18th Century and the beginning of the 19th Century, engineering preparation at technical educational institutions of Russia was built on a combination of high theoretical level of teaching and considerable practical training. At the same time, higher technical education in Germany and the USA was of a handicraft-practical character.

Engineering education in Russia developed in close connection with university natural science departments. This increased the theoretical level of education and allowed avoiding the narrow-practical approach to engineering education, and produced encyclopaedically educated specialists.

The most important tradition of Russian higher technical schools is the organic inclusion of the system of industrial practice into the educational process. This is based upon the development of study workshops, laboratory-experimental base, as well as upon original pedagogical ideas. Specialists in England, the USA and Germany admitted the pre-eminence of Russian engineering schools in these positions in the 19th Century. Russian-made principles, ideas and methods of engineers' preparation were one of the most important sources in the development of higher education in these countries.

Thus, engineering education in Russia should not be viewed as an empty space that can be filled in by elements of American, German, Japanese and other educational systems. It is first of all a developing combination of the best Russian traditions of engineering education enriched by the experience of their development in other countries. Any foreign innovations in engineering education demand a certain level of rethinking, and an adequate check for the Russian reality and present mentality.

Technical University

The concentrated expression of the main directions of reforming engineering education in Russia in connection with the above requirements can be shown in the example of the establishment and development of a new organisational form of engineering education -a technical university [3][4]. A study of Russian and foreign experience in forming technical universities, as well as an analysis of their organisation, staff, financial and technical support, traditions, forms, methods and content of specialist training allow for the extraction of those general specifics that define these educational institutions as technical universities and give the following definitions.

A technical university is a centre of science, education and culture that realises mostly fundamental research and professional training of the increased creativity potential, generally for scientific and technical activities in a wide variety of directions and specialties. Unlike the traditional understanding, a technical university is oriented towards the preparation of professionals, and carries out a whole systematic professional activity. It is able to receive ideas for the stable development of civilisation and realises them in their professional sphere. It also increases the creativity potential, which provides for their successful professional activity under conditions of the dominating extensive science, intellect and education technologies.

Science research is the advanced sphere of activity of a technical university, the source of new knowledge, the creation of models and standards of engineering and technological knowledge. It forms particular programmes of specialist training for future industries, also creating advanced machinery and technologies, forming federal and regional ecologically, economically and socially balanced science-technical policies and technologies of innovational education.

The priority at a technical university is the fundamental research in advancing directions of science, machinery and technology, interbranch research, investigation of problems of higher education, methodology of professional, cognitive, communicative and axiological activities.

A technical university conducts research in humanitarian, social-economical, natural-scientific and machinery-technological directions, as well as elaboration in areas of the practical application of results of fundamental research for the creation of advanced machinery and technologies. Scientific research in a technical university is characterised by a high degree of integration into Russian and worldwide scientific structures.

Education in a technical university is built upon the combination of the preparation of specialists in the fields of engineering and technology, natural sciences, socio-economics and humanities as well as offering a vast array of educational services that provide the development of individual qualities of a personality. The content of education at a technical university is built upon the principles of non-stop education, concordant foundation, humanisation and flexible variation. It is aimed at the integration of knowledge and methods of cognition and activity, the spiritual self-development of personality and is oriented towards high intellectual educational technologies [5].

Education at a technical university is characterised by a high degree of diversification and individualisation of the structure of training and educational services; complex training (ability) of a personality to changing conditions of professional activity; and an integration of educational and scientific processes into the united scientific and educational processes.
The prevalence of higher stages and levels of education; high academic mobility and wide participation in Russian and world educational structures; as well as the combination of specialists' training in engineering-technical, natural-scientific, socio-economic and humanitarian directions, are characteristic features of the educational system at a technical university.

The cultural environment of a technical university provides for the formation of a united methodology of cognition and practice on the basis of a synthesis of cultures; the inheritance of values, ideals and traditions; the reproduction of an engineering-technical mentality; full spiritual and physical development; a high level of the life quality of the staff; and the participation of personnel in the socio-cultural process of the global civilisation. The high level of culture characterises all sides of activity of a technical university and is realised through a culture of education and training, of scientific research, the quality of facilitation of scientific and educational processes, the level of social infrastructure development and the life quality of the staff and a culture of communication.

From this purpose and criteria of a technical university, educational institutions of Russia define up-to-date innovations in the field of the content of engineering education. They choose technologies of educational activities, improve international cooperation and oriented towards creating the open educational area. They form new relationships between the university and people, the economy, science, culture and authorities under market conditions.

A characteristic feature of the modern stage of the development of higher schools in Russia are the processes of rapprochement and mutual enrichment of the educational process in technical and humanities universities: in the content structure of education, education technologies, the democratisation of life activities and other spheres. A meaning-and-value attribute of such rapprochement provides a harmonic union of the active and cognitive culture of the natural sciences and humanities: the unity based upon mutual understanding and dialogue.


Today, the Russian Ministry of Education unites 199 universities, 56 academies, 58 institutes and 42 research organisations. Higher education institutions (HEIs) and research organisations are mainly situated in Moscow, followed by the Urals, West Siberian, Povolzhskiy, and North Caucasus regions, and then the northwestern, including St. Petersburg. Almost half of all HEIs and organisations of the Ministry are engineering with about a quarter to natural science and humanities.

There are 21,000 scientific and industrial subdivisions of HEIs and research organisations, amongst which there are 933 basic research laboratories, 72 technical exhibitions, 229 research institutes, 294 scientific centres, 167 scientific-methodological centres, 92 pilot production centres plus others concentrated in the Educational Department. There are 18,513 Doctors of Science and 91,000 Doctoral Candidates employed in HEIs and research organisations of the Ministry of Education. Most of the highly qualified personnel are concentrated in the branch of technical and physical-mathematical sciences [6]. The breakdown is shown in Figure 1.

One characteristic, and a special object of pride for Russia, are the scientific schools. Considerable influence on the development of science, technical and technological progress and formation of industry in the world comes from engineering schools of Russia. Well-known engineering schools in different spheres were established in technical HEIs and are successfully developing. Engineering HEIs of Russia provide specialist training in a diversity of directions and disciplines for scientific-technical fields of industry.
Research financed by the Ministry of Education is provided through the state budget and on the basis of business contracts with enterprises, organisations and industries. Figure 2 illustrates the distribution of business contract research.

It is interesting to compare the correlation of research financed from the federal budget compared to business contracts. It is typical that universities, academies and institutes receive more than half of their financing from business contracts, and only 20-25% is financed from the federal budget, the highest percentage of financing from business contracts is in engineering-technical HEIs and budget financing of natural science and humanities. HEIs and research organisations of the Ministry take an active part in federal specific-purpose programmes on high technologies, as well as in the Ministry's scientific-technical programmes on high technologies.

HEIs and research organisations of the Ministry of Education took part in 621 international projects and contracts: European countries - 360 projects, America - 184 projects, Asia - 81 projects and Africa - five projects. The proportion of research volumes financed by the federal budget and on business contracts is shown in Figure 3.

The largest number of international projects and contracts were carried out by HEIs and research organisations of Moscow, St. Petersburg, West Siberia and Ural regions. The distribution of international projects over European countries shows that Germany, France, Slovenia, the United Kingdom, Finland, Sweden, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Norway collaborate with Russia more intensively in the field of research (see Figure 4).

The distribution of the number of international projects in America shows that the intensive process of collaboration goes mainly with the USA. International collaboration in Asia is oriented towards China, Japan, Korea, Israel, Africa (Egypt) and SAR (see Figure 5).

Foreign countries and organisations provide financing of a considerable number of international projects and contracts: up to 99.4%. International projects and contracts are realised mainly in the sphere of technical and applied sciences; also many international projects are carried out in the field of social science and also in the sciences.

Over the last year, HEIs and research organisations of the Ministry of Education patented eight discoveries, received 2,656 patents in Russia and 35 foreign patents. There were 49 licenses purchased by enterprises and organisations of Russia, 14 licenses were purchased by foreign enterprises, 395 programs, databases and topologies of integral microchips for PCs were registered and 2,339 applications for objects of industrial property were submitted. HEIs and scientific organisations of an engineering-technical profile registered the largest number of inventions and patents of Russia and foreign countries.

Almost a half of all licenses purchased by enterprises and organisations of Russia were made in the central region and in Moscow. Half of all licenses purchased by international organisations were produced by HEIs of West Siberia.


At present, engineering education is the largest scale subsystem of higher professional education in Russia. In 1999, the student body in HEIs in engineering disciplines went up to 843,300 people, which is 30.6% of the total student body seeking a specialist degree. The production of specialists seeking engineering qualifications this same year went up to 194,000 people, or 29.2% of the whole number of the output. In 1999, admittance to engineering disciplines was almost 130,000 people, or 30.2% of the whole number of students admitted to universities [7].

During the last few years, the young people's demand for engineering specialties has increased. Thus, in the year 1999, the competition to the undergraduate department of HEIs of industrial groups was:

o Industry: 1.83;
o Construction: 2.06;
o Transport: 1.90;
o Communications: 2.77;
o Average competition in Russia is 1.99.

All leading countries plan an active demand for engineering staff in the intellectual labour market at the beginning of the new millennium. They are ringing the alarm bells because national systems of professional education will not be able to fully meet this demand, neither in quantity nor in quality.
For the last decade, the general number of workplaces in the USA increased by 15% and the rate of occupation of specialists in high technologies almost doubled. Today in the USA, about half of the workplaces in industry need different levels of higher education. The deficiency of specialists in the field of high technologies in the USA is more than 200,000 people. American experts forecast that this will grow by the beginning of the Century and become more than one million people, provided that the present level of engineering staff preparation by the national system of education remains the same.
The needs of Japan in specialists in the field of high technologies will increase by the beginning of the Century more than twice and will be about two million people. South Korea, in order to cover the demand for engineers in the field of high technologies during the last years, increased its preparation by almost 10 times. Typically, high technologies engineers' wages are increasing at a high rate in developed countries. For example, in the USA the wages of this category of engineers has risen to US$70-80,000 per year.

Specialist training in the field of high technologies is a process of extensive education. Success in this may be achieved from the joint efforts of HEIs, Science Research Institutes and industry. The mutual opening of borders between universities, research and industrial enterprises is necessary in forms like cooperative education, education on the basis of experience, sandwich programmes and integrated education. For example, industrial corporations like Rockefeller, Ford, DuPont and Carnegie have long-term contracts with leading universities in the USA for the quality training of high tech specialists, placing their scientific and technological base at HEIs' disposal and providing HEIs with financial support and financial help for students.

In Russia, the quality of education is also maintained by many HEIs and industrial enterprises in the form of integrated or specific purpose education. Relations between the Company Ukos and Tomsk Polytechnic University, OSS GAZ and Nizhegorodskiy University and many others can serve as an example. In training elite specialists in the field of high technologies, the Nizhni-Novgorod State Technical University (NSTU) and OSS GAZ have found the solution for the problem when the training of a specialist is carried out in educational-training institutions of different levels starting from preschool children up to university students. This idea serves as a basis of a company system of education OSS GAZ. For this, the following institutions were created: Pro-Grammar school Ulybka (Smile) for preschool upbringing and primary school; Lyceums - secondary (complete) general education; Autoplant Higher School of Management and Technologies (AHS), and the NSTU - higher education.

Naturally there is competition-based selection of pupils and students who experience excellent conditions for education by the best professors, associate professors and university teachers as well as school-teachers in each of those educational institutions. OSS GAZ took an obligation to provide conditions for education; the NSTU provides a high quality education of specialists. The attractiveness of AHS amongst the applicants can be explained not only by the fact that they can receive proper education here, but also by conditions of studying. OSS GAZ gave AHS a study building covering more than 6,000m2 providing all necessary equipment and repairs, a cybernetic centre with modern PCs and a well-equipped gymnasium.

Thus, almost all developed and many of developing countries are solving the strategic task of transition to a technological way of development and to anthropo-economy. Under these conditions, the forming of a new generation of professionals in the field of engineering is crucially important. They must be able to realise the stable and dynamic development of the economy and breakthrough developments of different fields of practice on the basis of science-capacious technologies. Specialists must aim at self-development, professionalism, and an individual style of activity, which are priorities of their life.

A triple contract was concluded with students of AHS Student - NSTU - OSS GAZ according to which they are to pay a considerable addition to their stipend, and after graduation from AHS a job according to the guaranteed specialty and qualification. In 1995, along with the creation of AHS, NSTU and OSS GAZ, the Tomsk Polytechnic University (TPU) concluded a contract on technical elite training for the next generation of company specialists. This is company quality training, so specialists of the company are actively involved in fulfilling this programme. Such training for the students starts in the first year of study, when students are acquainted with the history of GAZ development and its structure and make excursions over the main industrial subdivisions.
After finishing the first and the second years, students are given the opportunity to work at departments of OSS GAZ, not only to earn money, but also to help them dive into the production relationships and see production from the inside out. Then, after the third year, students become better acquainted with practice, which is headed by specialists of OSS GAZ along with university professors. During this time, students become familiar with the principles of engineering activity and the constructions of automobiles and technologies of production. The fourth year is completed with a state examination, conferment of a Bachelor's degree, distribution to future job places and construction-technological practice.

The peculiarity of the acquaintance practice and construction-technological practice is that the students are not limited by just one subdivision but have the opportunity to get acquainted with the work of five to six services and production subdivisions. With this purpose, workgroups of four or five people are created. They change places of practice five to six times according to a confirmed schedule.

Such an organisation allows for enlarging the students' outlook, meeting with the lead specialists of OSS GAZ and getting familiar with the tasks set for the subdivisions and methods of their solution. An individual study plan of AHS provides during the fifth year for a long-term (11 weeks) production and pre-diploma (10 weeks) practices, which students receive at their job places defined during the assignment of students. That is where the completion of company training for a specialist takes place: a student works amongst the staff where he/she will commence after graduating, receives wages, has the rights of an OSS GAZ employee and completes all obligations of his/ her position. He/she can evaluate the suitability of the workplace choice and his/her plant manager can define the correspondence of the graduate with the position, his/her communicability and point out any gaps in his/her knowledge.
During this time, the student collects material for the course and diploma projects, and after finishing the practice under the leadership of a university professor or plant specialist he/she starts the projects, usually in plant themes.


The content of the quality of education in the area of high technologies is defined by the radical reformation changes that have happened in scientific-technical and socio-economic spheres on the edge of the 21st Century. Here belong the imperative of the survival of humankind, anthropoeconomy, technological development, the formation of the educational community, development of practice-oriented polysubject human and social sciences, computerisation and media filling of life activities.

As a result of a systems analysis of these factors, the content of education in the area of high technologies can be defined as a fractal organised totality comprising:

o Education, which provides learning of a system of humanities and socio-economic sciences, natural science and mathematics, general and specific professional knowledge on a set level.

o Training, which provides the forming of methodological culture of a graduate, mastering a set level of ways and methods of cognitive and professional, communicative and axiological activities along with education.
o Ability, which provides the complex preparation of a person for professional activity as well as his/her professional self-realisation along with education and training [3].

In order for the student to become a professional engineer in the area of high technologies, he/she needs to go out of the area of knowledge into the area of practice. A characteristic feature of the system of engineering knowledge in the area of high technologies is a solid natural scientific, mathematical and worldview foundation of knowledge. The width of intersubject knowledge, system-integration knowledge of nature, society, thinking and high level of general professional and specific professional knowledge provides activity in problematic conditions.

For engineers in the area of high technologies, it is widely known that the traditional understanding of professional education as acquiring a certain knowledge based upon teaching fixed subjects is inadequate and is actually an obstacle in forming a new style of mentality. The foundation of the education should be composed of not even those subjects but more ways of thinking and activity, ie procedures of reflective character. Knowledge and methods of cognition as well as activity should be united into one entirety. All this puts forth a task of a necessity to include into the requirements for the content and level of engineering education questions of forming a methodological culture, which provides learning methods of cognitive, professional, communicative and axiological activities.

In projecting a system of methods as one of the components of the educational content, it is also important to formulate the level of method acquisition. It is reasonable to classify the level of method acquisition into two classes of activity that provide reproductive (obtaining known result by known means) and productive (development of new objectives and relevant means or achievement of known objectives with the help of new means).

A high level of methodological culture, and perfect and creative mastery of methods of cognition and activity should be a characteristic of engineering education in the area of high technologies. This should be done not only by methods of classical natural knowledge oriented towards searching for the only right solution. There should also be a wide incorporation into educational culture of multi-criterion formulating and solution of innovational problems, searching for many variants of task solution, and methods of a systematic approach to choosing the most suitable solutions of meeting the needs of customers.

As the experience of specialist training shows, the success of the activity of engineers is defined to a high degree not just by the high level of knowledge, productive mastery of methods of cognition and activity, but also by complex training of professionals. This complex training involves preparation for professional activities under conditions of normal life and smooth production process as well as trials, changes in lifestyles, multiple changes of understanding, world-view and world perception. Thus, the successful professional activity requires not only a high level of training and education, but also spiritual-moral, social-psychological and physical culture of humankind. A higher educational institution in this respect should become a centre of science and education, and also a centre of ability of a person, the professional establishment and self-realisation.

In projecting the content of education and demand for the level of engineering education, it is necessary to find a place for a system of knowledge and methods that are directed to the solution of tasks of self-cognition and self-realisation.

Three Areas of Content Formation

The appearance of the content of engineering education in the area of high technologies may be systematically represented as an educational cube. This reflects the main idea of this paper about the content of engineering education as a fractal organised system. Of great importance in forming the content of engineering education in the field of high technologies are the areas of humanisation, fundamentalisation and professionalism.

Humanisation of education is built on several principles [3]. These are as follows:

o Orientation of university activity towards the creation of conditions for spiritual, moral and cultural self-development of a personality.

o Deep fundamental and methodological training of specialists in the area of humanities, spiritual life of a person and society.

o Acquiring methodology of cognition and creativity, practical activity, social behaviour and self-development of a personality by students as defining conditions of success achievement in life.

o Creating grounds for the organic introduction of graduates of a technical university into economic, social and cultural processes of development of the world civilisation.

o Acquiring by students of future professional activity as a unity of physic, economic, social, socio-psychological and spherical conformities to the laws of nature and the evaluation of benefits of artificially created environments from positions of history, the priority of human values, humanism, and a general civilised approach.

o Organic connection of the study process with non-study work, leisure and the free time of students, the wide attraction of people of science and culture, art and religion, politics, law and other fields of society life towards teaching in the university.

o Democratisation of the whole system of education, political and ideological pluralism at a technical university, the combination of basic and variable components of study processes, individuali-sation of education according to student needs.

o Development of links with HEIs of other countries, including the exchange of professors and students.

Humanisation at a technical university ensures the harmonic unity of the natural sciences and humanities in areas of cognition and activity, generating unity based on mutual understanding and dialogue. The goal of a technical university in this respect is the creation of conditions for the revival of a united sphere of the natural sciences and humanities.

An important factor of engineering education is language training, which is regarded as a means of intercultural communication. The main purpose statements of the content of engineering education in the area of high technologies should include fluency in a foreign language. This provides:

o Continuation of education and professional activity in a foreign language environment.

o Communicative and linguistic-country competence in general situations of everyday communication involving direct contact with native speakers.

o Abilities of fast-reading and non-translational understanding of newspaper and magazine articles, television and radio programmes, skills of business correspondence, ability to negotiate and make contracts.

o Professional competence in translating original technical literature in the field of specialty, reading lectures and reports, and writing scientific articles in a foreign language.

Fundamentalisation of engineering preparation in the area of high technologies requires:

o Increase in the volume and role of disciplines in general science, strengthening connections between disciplines taught (which should facilitate the training of systems thinking), realise the need in development and introduction of new machinery, technologies, equipment, etc, and consider economic, social, political and other factors.

o Restructuring of the cycle of professional disciplines, which increases attention towards these courses in methodological, world view and social problems, the study of concrete factors of certain natural laws and conceptions, theoretical notions on the basis of generalised (fundamental) ideas and principles characteristic of the science in question, and the transition from the analysis to synthesis of project solutions, their optimisation and mathematical modelling in special courses.

o Providing for the formation in the process of education of a methodological culture of a specialist, including methods of cognitive, professional, communicative and axiological activity.

o The study of special subjects/disciplines aimed at skills to possess the means and technologies of formation of information culture and disciplines aimed at students acquiring rational methods of possessing the content of education.

Professional education is aimed at the preparation of a new type of a specialist who is a carrier of united research activity, different in thinking, encyclopaedic knowledge, aristocratic spirit, ready for creative work on all levels of the lifecycle of a system from research to development of technology and production activity. Professionalism is achieved in the reality of engineering education in the area of high technologies through the acquisition of engineering, an engineering culture and practice-oriented preparation (system methodology, conceptual projecting, and programming of development) [4].
Forming a high level of information culture in the system of engineering is a necessary requirement for providing productivity in engineering activity at the brink of the third Millennium.

Information intellectual technologies, collected informational resources like databases and knowledge, information-logical models, vast calculation powers and means of global telecommunication contacts create a basis for denying the functional division of labour in research activities. For the first time in the history of humankind, this provides the possibilities for creating complex systems in the creative behaviour of a person.


The decisive meaning for the next generation of engineers is the search for, and the creation of, non-traditional technological, social, and pedagogical solutions, and the use of high technologies. This gives several times the increase in the effectiveness of pedagogical and study labour. This generates technologies for the mass production of talents, and the use of continuing education on the basis of distance learning.
Currently in the world in engineering education, a radical transition is carried out from the school of memory towards the institute, where they make students work using their own thinking. Turning the system of engineering education into the sphere of acquiring methods of cognitive engineering activity, communicative and engineering culture change the understanding of HEI with its study-training process at its root. The most important direction of development is the special organisation of student work during the time of study at the university in complex multi-subject practice-oriented staff, organic involvement of students into active creative activities, providing their participation in research and engineering work and creating purpose-oriented forms of education.
It is necessary to create the grounds for the evolution and transition in engineering education from educational training to research. Research may be represented as a system of creative authoritative scientists, senior staff with the permanently renewed student body, associate workers for Bachelors' and Masters' degrees and engineering knowledge. Post-graduates and doctorate-programme students make creative staff, a proper scientific school where success in methodology of cognitive activity is realised and also the establishment of understanding of the world and the place of human beings in it. Also, ideals, values and purposes of research and engineering; traditions of research and engineering activity are strengthened and passed on with the help of research.


Approaches of specialist training in the area of high technologies discussed in this paper have found their realisation in the Russian doctrine of engineering education, which was created and used during the educational process at the Tomsk Polytechnic University. Educational standards of the second generation and also the project of organising specialist training in the area of high technologies at the International Centre for High Technologies have been created by the decision of the Russian Association of Engineering Education (RAEE).
The authors express their confidence that everything listed above will create the grounds for the formation of the next generation of professionals in the area of engineering.


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Prof. Vassiliy M. Zhurakovsky is the First Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Education of the Russian Federation. During the 1990s, he was the leader of one of the prime higher schools of Russia: Don State University. He now successfully acts in the field of engineering education investigation and management. He has published five monographs and more than 150 articles. Prof. Zhurakovsky is the Special President of the Russian Federation Prize Laureate in the Field of Education for the development and implementation of scientific and methodical provision for perfection of engineering education and the creation of the system for the retraining of the teachers of higher schools.

Prof. Yuri P. Pokholkov is the Rector of the Tomsk Polytechnic University in Tomsk, Russia. He is also President of the Russian Association of Engineering Education. Prof. Pokholkov is a scientist and expert in the field of electro-isolation and cable technique, materials authority and the management of higher technical education. He has founded the famous scientific school of manufacturing technology, quality control and provision of reliability index for electro-technical devices. Prof. Pokholkov has published seven monographs and about 200 articles. He is the Special President of the Russian Federation Prize Laureate in the Field of Education for the development of the scientific basis of university education and its realisation at the leading higher schools of Russia.

Dr Boris L. Agranovich is the Director of the Western-Siberian Regional Centre of Social and Informational Technologies at the Tomsk Polytechnic University in Tomsk, Russia. He is a well-known expert in the field of systems analysis and the informatisation of education. He has published 11 monographs and more than 200 articles in this field. Dr Argranovich is the Special President of the Russian Federation Prize Laureate in the Field of Education for the development of the scientific basis of university education and its realisation at the leading higher schools of Russia.

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