Preparing Multilingual Professionals: Deficiencies and Prospects of Foreign Language Education at Russian Universities


The trend of global mobility and super-diversity is reflected in the growing number of multilingual people. Research demonstrates that foreign language skills lead to a wage increase, and this is another important motivational factor in learning a foreign language. National and supranational language policies aim at developing citizens’ multi-lingual skills, one of the most prominent examples being the European Union Multilingualism Policy. Although English as a means of international communication remains the main language to be studied in non-English speaking countries, some states have announced the development of languages other than English. In Russia, foreign language competence remains a mandatory part of higher education standards for all areas of training, and the quality of language education is important. This article presents the results of an online survey that show students’ satisfaction with their foreign language skills acquired at Russian universities. The survey was conducted at four universities among students of non-linguistic curricula. As it turned out, more than a half of the respondents are only partially satisfied with their foreign language proficiency. As the main deficiencies, students mention an insufficient number of class hours, a lack of speaking practice, as well as obsolete programs and teaching styles. It follows then that students require more practical skills, including communication in everyday life situations, preferably with native speakers, as well as the modernization of programs and teaching methods. Many voiced a need to introduce edutainment activities into teaching.

Keywords: foreign language education, students’ satisfaction with foreign language learning, modernization of foreign language education at universities

[1] Aref’ev, A. L. (2017) National and Foreign Languages in the Russian Education System. Moscow: Institute for Social and Political Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, p. 328.

[2] Chursina, O. O., Galstyan, A. A. and Yakovleva, I. P. (2016). Assessment of Student Satisfaction with the Study of the Discipline ”Business English” in KubSTU. Scientific works of the Kuban State Technological University, vol. 6, pp. 308–320.

[3] English Proficiency Index. Retrieved February 23, 2020 from europe/russia/.

[4] The Conversation. (2019, February). Retrieved February 20, 2020 from english-is-not-enough-british-children-face-major-disadvantage-when-it-comes-to-language-skills110386.

[5] Federal State Educational Standard for Bachelor Studies in Chemistry. (2017) Retrieved February 22, 2020 from URL:{%}20VO{%}203++/Bak/040301_B_3_09082017.pdf.

[6] Gao, X. and Zheng, Y. (2019). Multilingualism and Higher Education in Greater China. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, vol. 40, issue 7, pp. 555–561.

[7] Letter of the Ministry of Education of Russia from 28.11.2000 N 3131/11-13 «On teaching foreign languages in schools». Retrieved February 24, 2020 from

[8] Obrazcov, I. V. and Polovnyov, A. V. (2017). Students’ Satisfaction with Quality of Higher Education on the Example of MSLU. Proceedings of Moscow State Linguistic University. Social Sciences, vol. 2, issue 786. Retrieved February 20, 2020 from mglu.

[9] Rozhkova, K. V. and Roshchin, S. Y. (2019) Is knowledge of a foreign language in the Russian labor market rewarded? Higher School of Economics. National Research University. Preprints. Retrieved from November 20, 2019 from

[10] Stepanova, M. M. (2015). Development of Tools for Assessing the Quality of Teaching a Foreign Language in a Master’s Program at a Multidisciplinary University. Questions of University Didactics, vol. 4, issue 18, pp. 45-53.

[11] Tam, M. (2001). Measuring Quality and Performance in Higher Education. Quality in Higher Education, vol. 7, issue 1, pp. 47-54, DOI: 10.1080/13538320120045076.

[12] UK Quality Code for Higher Education. Retrieved February 20, 2020 from quality-code.