Fee for service analysis is innovative, both for the World Bank and for Tatarstan. This work and other development arrangements like it in the Russian Federation were among the first of their kind in Europe and Central Asia.
Starting in 2008, the World Bank brought in experts in their fields from around the world to Kazan, Tatarstan's capital city, to offer real time reviews of academic content and to figure out where improvements in education could be made. Together with World Bank experts, they talked to management, professors, teachers and students from twelve universities in Kazan, and took a public opinion poll to see how they ranked in the community.
President Rustam Minnikhanov of Tatarstan welcomed analysis of higher education from the World Bank and Moscow’s Higher School of Economics.
Bottlenecks to better service were diagnosed, and ways of building local capacity were suggested to regional authorities, local experts, policymakers, and university leaders.
Among the recommendations was the use of more modern education methods and offering specialized degrees. Better cooperation among universities, more language training, and more focused high school curricula with better-trained teachers to prepare students for university were also needed.
Out of that work in 2009, a strategy for higher education development was drawn up and presented to regional and local government officials. On the institutional level, the World Bank helped train universities managers to design strategic plans for their institutions, organized dialogues between universities as they made those plans, and facilitated discussion among universities and officials from Kazan City administration as well as from the Republic of Tatarstan.
This work contributed to the foundation of a federal university in Kazan. In 2010, Kazan (Volga Region) Federal University was established by the Russian government on the basis of the former Kazan State University.
"Experts from the World Bank suggested that Kazan should become an educational hub; this will allow us to attract the cream of the crop of youth to Kazan," said Kazan's Mayor Ilsur Metshin.
But reforms extended beyond institutions to the community. A bottom-up approach was suggested, one that focused on building strong local ownership of higher education and on forging links between students, families, and universities.