“There is a shortage of 320 people at the university! Physicists are very worried - 13 places are not occupied. If someone did not get where you wanted, come to us! Our graduates work at the Russian Academy of Sciences, at space enterprises”, - Rossiyskaya Gazeta quotes a post from the social networks of one of the Russian universities.
This case is far from the only one. After the end of the admissions campaign on August 9, 2022, most universities, mainly regional ones, faced the fact that some of the budget places were not occupied in them. If you go to the websites of these universities, you can see messages about the recruitment of students for areas like Fundamental and Applied Physics, Metallurgy, and Mechanical Engineering. Somewhere there are dozens of empty seats, somewhere there are hundreds.
The peculiarity of the current admission campaign is that this year an additional significant number of state-funded places were allocated to universities. According to RBC, citing the Ministry of Education and Science, now there are 588 thousand of them, that is, 11.5 thousand more than before. The main part of these new budget places fell on engineering and technical specialties. “Every second graduate of the school will be provided with a full-time budget place,” assured the head of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation Valery Falkov. Some of these very budget places were not filled. And the rest received applicants with low USE scores. What is the reason?
“Universities have increased admission targets, but have not thought about how graduates can find jobs. Our economy, unfortunately, is a service economy, trade and logistics are developed to a greater extent. At one time there were orders in the military-industrial complex, but they needed not engineers, but rather technologists. In transport, too, mainly repair and maintenance. As a result, many families are guided not by a five-year specialist with an unclear job prospect, but by short training programs. That is why many choose colleges. Obviously, there is an inconsistency between real demand in the labor market and enrollment in universities”, - says Irina Abankina, director of the Institute for the Development of Education at the National Research University Higher School of Economics, Candidate of Economic Sciences, Professor.
In fact, statistics show that completely different specialties are popular this year among applicants. The most popular areas, according to the Ministry of Education and Science, this year were: Information Systems and Technologies, Informatics and Computer Engineering, Economics, Management, Jurisprudence, Pedagogical Education, General Medicine. The Ministry of Education and Science also determined the most popular universities in terms of the number of applications submitted by applicants. These are the Russian Technological University MIREA, the National Research University MPEI, the Financial University under the Government of Russia.
“Indeed, if we talk about basic universities, today applicants choose such specialties as economics and management. The leaders are also IT-specialties, medicine, and pedagogy. This entire segment is associated with the service or work with the population. But in Baumanka, MEPhI and Fiztekh, apparently, there is a shortage. It is interesting that there is a shortage even in the promising department of rocket engines. Why is this happening? Previously, there were design bureaus, experimental and research institutes. Now the segment of design bureaus and industry institutes is gone. A "dead zone" has formed between academic science and business. The fact is that what is needed now is not research, but applied development. And in business they use foreign technologies, there is no need to invent anything and pick with a screwdriver”, - Irina Abankina, director of the Institute for the Development of Education at the National Research University Higher School of Economics, explained to NI.
Social networks also reacted to the shortfall in the budget for engineering specialties in universities.
“The tragedy of an engineer in the Russian Federation is a sharp collapse of the industrial and scientific potential of the country in the 90s, when millions of engineers and technicians applied for limited jobs, and this affected not only the level of wages, but also the desire to modernize production, like over there behind the fence a queue of qualified personnel ready to work for food. The problem of an engineer in the Union is described in one simple word - stagnation, in our case, professional stagnation”, - says eric5347.
“In St. Petersburg, the salary of an engineer is 40–60 thousand rubles, and this is a large city with a bunch of factories, what can we say about other cities?”, - Nyarlothotep notes.
Experts also pay attention to the low salaries of modern engineers. “A novice engineer today earns 35-40 thousand rubles. A person studies for a long time and hard, and then receives a salary, like a janitor at Zhilischnik. How is this possible? Of course, we have Rosatom and Roscosmos. In Rosatom, the rate of the chief researcher is 140 thousand rubles. But it is really possible to get it by the age of 45. If a young specialist comes to work in a state institution, he will not be entrusted with promising interesting innovative programs, he will be put on paper and routine. And young people want everything at once. In some bank, there really is the prospect of faster career growth and higher salaries. So it turns out that our engineers are mostly those who were educated under the USSR. You come to a meeting at Roskosmos, and there are only old people sitting there. And there is no one to replace them. As a result, now we have problems with admission to the magistracy at the Faculty of Physics of Moscow State University”, - Andrey Larichev, Candidate of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Associate Professor of the Department of Medical Physics of the Faculty of Physics of Moscow State University, told NI.
The question arises: why do novice specialists have such low salaries, because there are ambitious state orders in state corporations at the level of Rosatom and Roskosmos.
“Government orders appear periodically. For example, Roskosmos takes an order to make a project for GLONASS. Salaries during the project are good, but as soon as the work ends, the employees are again transferred to 40 thousand per month. And they have mortgages, loans, children in private schools… Projects arise from time to time, but there is no national project. In general, when compared, in the West, qualified engineers earn about 150 thousand dollars a year. Until February, young people went to engineering specialties thinking about the prospect of leaving abroad, now they don’t have to think about it”, - explains Andrey Larichev, Associate Professor of the Department of Medical Physics at the Faculty of Physics of Moscow State University.
The problem is also that even large state orders of the state corporation cannot always work out in full. “For example, according to my information, about 88 billion rubles were allocated to Rosatom for the project to clean up Lake Baikal. Think about this number! They were supposed to provide several programs, but in fact they did practically nothing. One show. And those who really clean up the lake don't get anything. But you still need to get to work in Rosatom! They don’t go to engineering specialties also because there is nowhere to work. Our country is a builder. We build houses, roads. And no one needs science and technology”, - says blogger Maksim Novikovsky, a member of the Presidential Green Eurasia Public Center.
In fairness, it should be noted that the shortage of budget places in engineering and technical specialties could be provoked by several more factors. First, there was no "second wave" of admissions. That is, it was necessary to decide where exactly to carry the original certificate, it was necessary quickly. It was extremely difficult for non-medalists and non-medalists who wanted to enter a prestigious university to make a decision: what if you can’t go with your points to where you could enter in the general competition?
Many were also let down by the submission of documents through the “Go online” service. Much has been said that online registration did not work perfectly and even excellent students ended up without places in universities simply due to technical errors.
One way or another, today the admission campaign for engineering and technical specialties in a number of universities continues. And applicants who applied for another direction, but did not pass the competition, can bring them to the neighboring faculty. You can also take part in the new entrance exams. By order of the Ministry of Education and Science, they will last until September 5.