Russian President Vladimir Putin has recently signed a decree aimed at strengthening the human resource capacity of the country. To improve the situation with the lack of specialists in such important for any country professions as engineers, doctors, scientists, and so on, it was decided to stimulate Russian students by sending them to graduate schools abroad. Students who earned bachelor`s degrees in Russian universities may enter the leading universities included in the three world rankings (The Times Higher Education, Shanghai University and Quacquarelli Symonds), and be eligible for financial support from the government.
There is one very important condition, however – after graduation the students must return to Russia and find a job.If the students decide to stay overseas after graduation, they would have to pay back to Russia all the money spent on their education and a fine twice as large as this amount. This measure is meant to avoid unserious candidates or those who do not plan to return to Russia and ensure successful implementation of the decree.
The Russian Agency for Strategic Initiatives (ASI) and the Alumni Club of Harvard University have helped the Russian government to put the initiative together. According to the proposal, the government could provide as much as $5 billion (£3.1 billion) over the next 10 years for overseas study. This could fund places for more than 100,000 Russian students at leading foreign universities. There is also the possibilty that several Russian state-owned corporations and private businesses might participate in the project, as it would help to train up the specialists of the future that they will be looking to recruit.
It should be mentioned that Russian education is in no way considered inferior to education overseas (the Russian education in engineering, physics, and science, for instance, is considered to be one of the best in the world). Still the opportunities of doing research in the leading foreign universities are much more abundant and diverse, and therefore the Master and Postgraduate students will get invaluable experience which will be implemented in their future career in Russia.
According to Alexei Bobtsov, Professor, Doctor of Technical Science “…the situation with science leaves much to be desired. This is indicated by publication activity of Russian scientists. That is, very few Russian scientists are published in major journals or magazines, or cited in databases. That is, apparently, it is much more effective to practice science outside of Russia. The ASI program presents an excellent opportunity to exchange experiences between countries. This is a mandatory condition for the development of science.”
Most likely the returning graduates will be offered to returning graduates senior positions in the state or municipal service sector or state research corporations.
According to experts of the Russian labor market, the education obtained abroad would have a major positive impact on the employment of graduates in Russia. This is not only because foreign education is prestigious, but also because the education system there is much more modern than in Russia. Russian educational system is in need of modernization. It is necessary to establish career counseling centers at universities, introduce more applied disciplines (they exist now, but their customers are mainly large companies) and, of course, there is a need in updating the faculty and increasing salaries.
Clearly this is the time to act. Establishing solid partnerships and collaboration ties with Russian state universities has always been a topical issue but now the opportunities for cooperation are at their largest. All foreign institutions willing to attract a larger number of Russian Master and Postgradute students should take action and establish cooperation with Russian state universities in the fields of students’ exchange, dual and joint degrees, research grants etc.
Reaching out to a great number of Russian universities and HE specialists might seem far from being feasible. Thus, the 3rd Annual International Universities Networking Conference is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to meet up to 300 Russian and other universities under one roof and conduct up to 40 prescheduled one to one meetings. Participation in IUNC will dramatically increase your networking system and allow you to increase global awareness of your institution.
Grants for more than 100’000 Russian students
Eastern European University Association