Moscow College to Ask God for Good Reputation

MOSCOW, December 14 (RIA Novosti) – In a quirky mixture of the transcendental and the administrative, a prestigious college in Moscow commissioned a prayer service to protect it from reputational problems, including placement on Russia’s notorious “list of inefficient colleges.”

The prayer service was commissioned by Moscow Architectural Institute staffers, institute first deputy head Mikhail Shubenkov said on Friday.

It will take place in an Orthodox Christian cathedral in downtown Moscow next Wednesday, he said.

“We have a lot of various odd troubles, and we’re thinking about how to end the streak of bad luck. Maybe we’ll manage it with God’s help,” Shubenkov told RIA Novosti.

Requests to the Divine delivered through prayer service in Orthodox Christianity customarily include prayers for rain, health, safe journey or victory in battle. There is no prayer for reputational damages or problems with the powers that be.

The Moscow Architectural Institute landed on a list of 136 Russian higher education establishments ruled “inefficient” in a recent survey by the Education and Science Ministry, published in November.

The survey was vehemently criticized by the educational community for its vague and poorly thought-out evaluation criteria, which discriminated colleges focused on creative occupations such as architecture or literature.

Even Education and Science Minister Dmitry Livanov criticized the inclusion of the Moscow Architectural Institute on the list.

“All indicators confirm that we’re the best school in our field, but here we are on the inefficient college list,” Shubenkov said.

“Of course it could have been a mistake and misunderstanding on the part of the ministry, but our reputation was damaged,” he said.


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