Isak Frumin

Head of the Observatory of Higher Education Innovations at Jacobs University, Bremen


Bio and Research Interests

Professor Frumin’s career is a combination of education development projects and research.   As a leader of large scale innovative education development projects he has worked on:

- establishing the first university laboratory school in post-Soviet Russia. He was the principal of this school from 1987 till 1999;

- designing and providing support to innovative projects for the World Bank including the first WB project on e-Learning in Russia and Quality assurance project in Kazakhstan. He was a lead education specialist of the World Bank from 2000 to 2011;

- designing and co-leading initial stage of the development of Skolkovo Institute of Technology in partnership with MIT (the first private technology graduate school in Russia) from 2009 to 2012;

- establishing and leading the Institute of Education (the first Russian Graduate School of Education).  Under his leadership innovative graduate programs (measurement, evidence-based policy) and modern education research agenda were launched. Today the Institute of Education is the largest and most productive education research center in post-Soviet countries and Central and Eastern Europe (since 2011);

- establishing and leading the Observatory of Higher Education Innovations at Jacobs University Bremen (since 2022).

Selected Honors and Positions

Professor Frumin has provided strategic advice on education to the Russian government as the leader of the Government Expert Committee for Strategy for the Russian education modernization through 2020.  He also served as the Advisor to the Minister of Education and Science of Russian Federation from 2012 through 2016.

Research and Publications

Professor Frumin has edited and authored more than 300 publications including articles and books on educational reform and theory of education both in Russian and English. A broad range of his research interests include the development of higher education systems, patterns of education development in countries with transitional economies, educational policies, educational and life trajectories.

Under the supervision of Vasily Davydov – one of the great followers of Vygotsky tradition – and together with B. Elkonin, he developed a model of educational environment that emulates “age specific social development activities” (English translation - Froumin I. Education Practices and Maturation // Russian Education and Society. 2018. Vol. 60. No. 2. P. 182-186). This work became a basis for numerous studies and practical innovations that have been implemented in hundreds of schools in Russia.

In 2011, together with Martin Carnoy, he initiated the first ever PISA study on the TIMSS sample which was the first of numerous studies. He co-led the design of the longitudinal study based on this sample. This is the first ever Russian longitudinal study which continues to produce data.

In 2017 he initiated a large scale international comparative research project involving leading universities from 7 countries to develop a coherent framework for key competencies and new literacy. The results of this project will be published in 2021. 

Professor Frumin became one of the first researchers of post-socialist transformation of schooling focusing on school governance and management. He edited the first book on this topic “Creating and Managing the Democratic School” published by the Falmer Press in 1995. Since then he has been studying post-socialist education systems covering a significant part of the world. Currently, he is leading a few new comparative studies of post-socialist education development (in such fields as higher education and research, continuing education, extracurricular education, higher education access) that involve researchers from many countries. 

He was among the first post-socialist education researchers who focused on a topic of inequality in education. He initiated and led several studies that influenced government policy.

Finally, he initiated and co-led a number of innovative projects related to higher education systems development – among them “HE in Federal Countries’, “Accelerated Universities”, “Post-Soviet Higher Education Development”, “Higher education Expansion in BRICs”. 

Contact Information

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Phone: +49 151 235 252 78

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