An accreditation certificates awards ceremony has been held at St Petersburg University. Following the evaluations, four academic programmes in psychology and international relations have been recognised as meeting international educational quality standards.

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For the first time in Russia, psychology degree programmes at St Petersburg University have received international accreditation. The bachelor’s programme ‘Psychology’ and the master’s programmes ‘Developmental Psychology’ and ‘Educational Psychology’ have been highly commended by the Russian Agency for Quality Assurance in Higher Education and Career Development (AKKORK) and the Spanish Directorate of Evaluation and Accreditation (DEVA). The two master’s programmes are accredited until 2023, and the bachelor’s programme until 2025. Additionally, the University has been granted the institutional accreditation of its educational pathway ‘Psychology’, confirming the high standards of the educational process and the education quality monitoring system. The accreditation certificate is valid until 2024. From this year, all psychology graduates will have a record of international accreditation in their degree certificates.

Marina Lavrikova is Senior Vice-Rector for Academic Activities and Teaching Methods of St Petersburg University. She noted that gaining accreditation certificates was preceded by a difficult job that required a lot of efforts from the University psychologists and staff of the Educational Programmes Department. She emphasised that the main reason why St Petersburg University is undergoing international accreditation is our strong belief that accreditation creates a set of quality standards for all educational institutions and programmes; we aspire to improve the quality of educational programmes offered by the University.

These days, we often hear complaints about the quality of education. You must have heard the opinion that there is no comparison between modern education and education that we used to have in the USSR or before the October Revolution.

Marina Lavrikova, Senior Vice-Rector for Academic Activities and Teaching Methods of St Petersburg University

‘Whenever something is changing over time, people tend to say that the best is left in the past,’ said Marina Lavrikova. ‘In my opinion, St Petersburg University should share its experience of international accreditation with colleagues from other Russian universities. International accreditation affects the understanding of the modern trends in education and how they can be utilised to improve the quality of psychological education. Psychology is not just one of the most popular subjects to study at university. Psychologists are among the most in-demand jobs. Therefore, ensuring quality education in psychology should be a priority.’

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Erika Soboleva, Director-General of the Russian Agency AKKORK, presented accreditation certificates and congratulated the University on its success. ‘As far as I know, none of the other Russian universities has shown interest in institutional accreditation so far. Indeed, this is a complex and energy-consuming process. Therefore, most of the higher education institutions decide against it. They choose to evaluate individual educational programmes, where experts’ decision can be made based on the learning outcomes,’ said Erika Soboleva.

The experience of St Petersburg University should be disseminated so that other universities realise that individual educational programmes accreditation is insufficient for the development of internal systems of education quality assessment. If such internal system is built in compliance with international requirements, educational programmes will follow its logic, which will facilitate the accreditation process.

Erika Soboleva, Director-General of the Agency for Quality Assurance in Higher Education and Career Development (AKKORK)

Alla Shaboltas, Dean of the Faculty of Psychology at St Petersburg University, stressed that obtaining accreditation is a victory not only for psychologists, but also for the University. ‘I am particularly pleased to note that St Petersburg University has become the first in Russia to receive international accreditation in this area of studies,’ Alla Shaboltas said. ‘Besides, we are pleased that accreditation has been gained by the master’s programmes in developmental and educational psychology. These are areas from which research and education in psychology at St Petersburg University began.’ She added that obtaining international accreditation reflects the high standards of St Petersburg University teachers’ work and education in general. Undergoing the accreditation process enabled us to get the opinion and recommendations of independent experts in the field of education quality. This was a useful experience for the entire University.

Another master’s programme – BRICS Studies – has also gained international accreditation. The programme is unique for Russia and is implemented only at St Petersburg University. The Council of this academic programme is chaired by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey Ryabkov. The programme accreditation certificate will be valid until 2025. To date, all St Petersburg University programmes in international relations have been accredited by the German agency ZEvA.

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