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Russian education to become more attractive to foreigners

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Russian education to become more attractive to foreigners


Kira Kamneva

Photo: Far East Federal University

According to experts, Russia is currently ranked fifth and sixth in the world market of educational services. By 2025, the number of foreign full-time students who study in Russian universities should increase to 710 thousand people - this numbers are stipulated by the state priority program Development of the Export Capacity of the Russian Education System. Revenues from educating foreign students should reach almost 400 billion rubles.

The priority program was developed in May of 2017 and aims at increasing the attractiveness and competitiveness of Russian education in the international market, as well as at making the stay of foreign students in Russia more comfortable. The concept of export of education also includes the number of participants in online courses created by Russian educational organizations. Their number should increase from 1.1 million people last year to 3.5 million by 2025.

"The export of education is not only a possible revenue for universities, first of all it is one of the strongest factors of interpersonal communications, expansion of cultural contacts, and attraction of the most talented people to the national economy" Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said at the meeting of the Executive Committee of the Council for Strategic Development and Priority Projects. The export of Russian education should become a national task as the competition for foreign students around the world will increase in coming years, the head of the government added. 

In order to make their educational programs more attractive to foreigners, Russian universities will introduce a target model for the export of education. One part of this model is international support services for foreign students. The model will be first introduced in 20 universities and later, starting from 2021, will appear in all universities of the country.

It is also planned to develop joint educational programs and programs in English, online education for foreigners, educational tour itineraries and summer programs for foreigners as well as a united online guide of Russian educational system. 

All these projects will be put into practice by a group of top-ranked Russian universities – Far East Federal University, Moscow State Institute of International Relations, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow State Technical University, National Research Tomsk Polytechnic University, Saratov State Agrarian University, Siberian State Medical University, South Federal University and others. 

According to UNESCO forecasts, by 2025 there will be more than 7 million foreign students worldwide, the market volume for educational services will reach several billion dollars. According to Dmitry Medvedev, the United States already earn on foreign students 15 times more than the country spends on them.

The data from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) for 2016 suggests that the US have taken up about 12% of the global market for higher education, followed by the United Kingdom (9%). Russia has 4,5% of the market, but in terms of income from educational services, the US account for more than a third of the market, while Russia only has 0,7%.

The global competitiveness of Russian education and adding the country to the list of top ten states in the world in terms of the quality of education is a priority goal of the national Education project, the Minister of Education Olga Vasileva reminded at a meeting with the Director for Education and Skills of the OECD, Andreas Schleicher. Schleicher, in his turn, noted that Russia had achieved notable success in education over the past decade.

"I am very impressed with the educational achievements in your country. This goal - to enter the top ten - is very ambitious, but, if we estimate the growth rates and progress that Russia has achieved over the past 10 years, it becomes quite realistic. You have created good material background: the working conditions of the teachers have improved, their salaries have increased, so now is a very good moment for development," Schleicher said.

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