Being a fundamental tool for the social, political and economic development of the country and for the preservation and reproduction of socio-cultural values, education promotes the formation of a civic society. The authors used a combination of research approaches (the system, axiological and culturological) and methods to consider the developmental priorities of higher education in Russia and Cyprus, as a socio-cultural tool for training professionals for various segments of social life. Specific features of socio-cultural modernisation in education in European countries were reviewed within the context of the Bologna process. Particular attention was given to the developmental strategy of educational districts in contemporary Russia as the basis for the vertical integration of public administration in education. The formation of educational districts serves as the basis for the development of a multicultural educational space in the Russian Federation and a tool for the building of a new hierarchy of administration at federal and regional levels and for the formation of a new vector in educational policy that is intended to retain and develop a consolidated, although internally differentiated, educational space in the country.