By Tigran Keryan and Tamara Mitrofanenko
What characterized the Soviet academic system and what is its legacy in two post-Soviet countries, Armenia and Georgia? What would it take for transdisciplinarity to flourish in those countries?
The Soviet academic system
During the Soviet era, the natural and technical sciences were prioritized, while the social sciences and humanities were marginalized. In addition, research functions were removed from the responsibilities of academic institutions and placed under the authority of the Academies of Sciences, which are central state-governed research institutes. Thus, the role of the universities was reduced to teaching, undermining the research capacity of higher educational institutions up to this day. The curriculum was centralized, focusing on Soviet propaganda and leaving little space for innovation. On the upside, this system ensured the absence of tuition fees in all universities and guaranteed employment for all graduates.