The current situation and available resources including characteristics of integration and cooperation with other institutions. The main stakeholders in the market of educational services of higher education in the Astrakhan region are 5 higher education institutions, 9 branches of Russian universities that implement their unique areas of training for their professional and subject areas and meet there with ASU. This determines the following milestones of educational policy:
1) transition from a bachelor’s university to a master’s university,
2) updating educational programs (thereinafter EP) with respect to the emergence of new professions, transformation of the traditional training model into a project practice-oriented one, including flexible EP with an interdisciplinary nature of training,
3) transformation of regulated academic paths into individual ones (up to 50% of EPs with dynamic academic groups),
4) relying on the competencies of network partners, obtaining new educational practices, building digital competencies and skills for using digital technologies among teachers and students.
ASU has the internal restrictions. By ratings the university is the sixth institution of higher education in the Southern Federal District (table 1 of the Appendix to the section) and is on the first place in the 2d league (in accordance with 2021 data of National Aggregated Ranking). ASU has a significant groundwork in internationalization of education and it acts as a basic university in the field of IT technologies at the SCO University through its participation in three major international network projects under the TEMPUS program and its membership in the Global Access Asia Educational Platform where it organizes academic mobility and academic students exchange programs which let it be highly competitive with the leading federal universities (Figure 1 of the Appendix to the section) in the annual growth of foreign students (near-abroad States). That explains the cooperation with far-abroad countries as well as growing number of students from those States with which contacts have been established.
ASU has a leading position in terms of the range and number of additional EPs in comparison with other universities of the region (Figure 2 of the Appendix to the section). The task of providing the opportunity to have, along with the main professional education, the additional educational programs in digital competencies (thereinafter, DC) and professions of the future has not implemented.
The key priorities of the educational policy are defined (Schema 1 of the Appendix to the section) are: updating the model and pedagogical design of the main EPs, developing a network educational space and its internationalization, development of additional EPs.
The updating of the pedagogical design of educational programs will be carried out in the context of the standards of the CDIO Global Initiative, which are: the transition to interdisciplinary project-based education and the reorientation of educational paths to individual ones. The choice of individual educational paths (IEP) will be facilitated by the implemented training model”2+2+2″ (2+2 years of bachelor’s degree + 2 years of master’s degree) allowing to make a conscious choice of an IEP. The use of the IEP will be carried out as part of the phased distribution of the model “2+2+2” in bachelor’s and specialist’s programs. An example of an EP constructor is shown in the figure of the Appendix to the section. An increasing number of students enrolled in master’s degree programs in the total number of students will lead to a changing structure of the master’s degree educational model (Figure 4 of the Appendix to the section). Master’s programs will form DCs for undergraduates in order to ensure the continuity of bachelor’s (specialty) and master’s degree educational programs and taking into account the greater differentiation of initial training. The new model for implementing EPs involves the extension of the practice of student’s project activities involving employers and university departments in educational projects, the use of an adaptive learning method and adaptive leveling courses as well as a digital service based on the intellectual analysis of educational data “Achievement Profile”.
It will be created a system for evaluating the effectiveness and efficiency of the EPs by their participants (students, teachers, employers).
The development of network educational space. Modernization of the pedagogical design of EPs through network interaction: a) creation of the Caspian Network University carrying out interdisciplinary network EPs, including their online format, covering STEM-specialists training as well as specialists of non-IT area, but applying digital competencies in pedagogy, socio-cultural areas, linguistics (within the framework of a Consortium of universities and scientific institutions of Astrakhan region), b) development and implementation of network EPs for the branches of the regional economy (including additional EPs) (Transport & Logistics Consortium of Caspian Higher Educational Institutions, the world-class Research and educational center “Innovative solutions in the agro-industrial complex”, the Consortium “Shipbuilding & Marine Technology”), c) building inter-university student teams.
In order to expand the possibilities of the network form of implementing EPs, ASU will use different types of partner and network interaction which can be reduced to the program of “two diplomas”, “combined educational program”, “academic mobility”, “online mobility” programs depending on the EP structure.
The internationalization of education will be possible due to: the introduction of new educational programs (EP) focused on the best international educational practices and the global market; the development of new joint EP and programs in the English language, development of online education, academic mobility, summer educational programs for foreigners. To achieve that, the conditions for the education of foreign students will be provided; new double-degree programs will be opened, academic mobility will be organized, the presence of ASU resources on the global online platforms will be increased; there will be implemented a multilevel model of the continuous foreign-language training which will let increase the number of Russian students involved into EP in the English language as well as the number of educational and scientific projects accomplished in foreign languages; EP implemented online (both in the English (foreign) and Russian languages) will be created; the practice of admission of foreign students to the interdisciplinary EP will be expanded; the representative offices of ASU in CIS countries on education, science and technologies will be opened.
Development of additional education and vocational training.
ASU is planning to provide the students with a continuous, “seamless” transition into work or scientific activity, other qualifications. Additional education and vocational training will be implemented through the potential of digital technologies which are regarded both as a learning tool, and as a tool to be taught. The range of programs for businessmen will be expanded in accordance with all the demands of the business environment to the business competencies. The implementation of the programs will be based on competence-based, practice oriented and project-based approaches, on the usage of the cases-oriented education.
Special attention will be paid to the citizens of the third age. There will be developed and implemented adapted EP which will enable socialization and active longevity of people of the third age. The university will increase the number of learners involved into the programs of additional vocational education from 6 thousand people in 2021 to 15 thousand people by 2030. This will be achieved by increasing the focus on the programs, developing the additional education based on business partners’ franchises, increasing the range of modern tools for the work with the consumers of additional education services. This new approach to the organization of additional education and vocational training will let more than 30% of students get the professions of working men/women and office workers or take advanced training courses.
All the activities named above will be accompanied by the structural changes in the university which will be merged with Astrakhan state university of architecture and civil engineering (ASUACE) which will enable ASU to strengthen its scientific and educational potential, as well as training and laboratory base, to obtain new Russian and foreign partners, to diversify a range of EP (to fill a niche in the field of construction, heat power engineering, fire safety), to open interdisciplinary training programs. There will be the transition to the system the main structural unit of which will be an EP headed by a leader who has vast powers not only in the organization and implementation of the educational process, but in the recruitment of employees, interaction with employers. New structural units will appear: institutions/academies/schools, training offices, the department of the development of educational programs and projects. There will be organized professional internships for the teaching staff, academic mobility, engagement into scientific and practical activities, active learning during the classes.
The following results of the educational policy are expected:
- a) the strengthening of post-bachelor education and inclusion of the university into global scientific and educational network;
- b) the change of the traditional form of education into a project-based one will increase the demand for qualified personnel and will lead to the implementation of the appropriate educational programs;
- c) changes in the educational programs contents which are aimed at meeting the needs of a dynamically changing economy and the formation of a critical mass of young talents at the university;
- d) international expansion of master’s and postgraduate programs.
 The model will provide an opportunity for a two-stage choice: after the 2nd year of study and after the end of the bachelor’s degree – changing the direction of training after 1 or 2 years of mastering the EP bachelor’s degree (specialty) without increasing the period of its development. Flexible individualization of educational paths of students will also occur through the inclusion of elective disciplines (modules), academic mobility and network forms of EP implementation.
 2021-2023-economic and IT specialties, 2024-2026-pedagogics, 2027-2029 – biological, chemical, agricultural, earth sciences specialties, 2030 – social and humanitarian specialties.
 analysis of the current academic performance, the psychological state of the student forecasting his further professional and individual path
 The collection of data and the use of these assessments for the management of pedagogical design through evaluating the success of an individual course, receiving advice from teaching staff, carrying out interrogations before and after the program, analyzing reports of external auditors as well as carrying interrogations among graduates and employers.
 interaction between higher education and intermediate vocational education institutions; between educational organizations of higher education; between educational organizations of higher education, organizations of additional education and scientific organizations; between educational organizations and industrial partners, etc.
 It is planned to develop foreign-language training offices, double-language environment of the university, and to improve the Russian students’ knowledge of foreign languages
2 The majority of the programs of the additional education offered to the real sector of economy, will be based on the philosophy, values and principles of lean production, the application of “Six sigma” methodology.