MASTER PROGRAMS FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS IN RUSSIA: BARRIERS AND CHALLENGES TO OVERCOME
The system of higher education in Russia is developing rapidly in accordance with global trends and processes occurring in the world. On the one hand, we feel a significant influence of the Bologna process, when students of different specialties get the opportunity to enroll in any master's program: in Russia, the master's program is not always seen as a deepening and specialization in the field of knowledge already received in the undergraduate program, but also as an opportunity to get a completely new specialty (for example, a student with a bachelor's degree in biotechnology may attempt to get a master's degree in Innovation management). On the other hand, Russian universities are interested in attracting foreign students, the number of whom has recently increased significantly. In connection with these trends, educational institutions face plenty of challenges that complicate the educational process and also affect its effectiveness. This is especially evident in the master's training, where in a relatively short period (one/two years) a student must master the specialty at a sufficiently high professional level. To implement this, students should have satisfactory knowledge when entering a master's program. However, the system of entrance examinations in the Russian Federation is highly regulated: tests in the entrance examination work lead to the problem of "guessing" the correct answers and do not always provide a correct assessment of students' knowledge. This gives rise to another important problem: students with good command of the specialization (who have studied the necessary subjects at the undergraduate level for 4 years) and students who are not always familiar with the material are in the same class. This greatly complicates the educational process. In this regard, the Faculty of Economics in Lomonosov Moscow State University attempted to resolve these challenges not in the learning process, but at the stage of preparation for entering the master's program. In the proposed article we describe the experience of developing a distance system for training foreign students for one of the master programs at a Russian university, which reduces the gap between the knowledge of enrolling students, improves professional vocabulary in Russian, and also provides an opportunity to get acquainted with the cultural features of education in Russian universities. All these are to lead to an increase in the efficiency of the master courses educational process.