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Russia continues investing in higher education



Russian universities are rapidly developing in terms of internationalization and global competitiveness while the so-called “5/100 initiative” is gradually being implemented. Launched by the Russian government in May 2012, this project aims to enhance the quality and competitiveness of Russian universities allowingat least five Russian universities to be ranked among the top 100 institutions in the world by 2020.


Universities located in the capital – Moscow – are said to benefit from the reform the most as they will be given the highest funding from the state.


As the recent article in The Moscow Times says, Moscow will distribute 10.15 billion rubles (nearly US$300 million) among 14 key universities as part of its “Development of Education” programme. This latest round of funding is in addition to the US$253 million that was divided among 15 universities following an open competition last year.


“The city’s Institute of Physics and Technology, the Higher School of Economics and the National Research Nuclear University MEPhI, will each get 950 million rubles (US$26.25 million)…Novosibirsk State University, the St. Petersburg National Research University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics, the Moscow Institute for Steel and Alloys, and the Ural Federal University in Yekaterinburg will be handed 775 million rubles (US$21.4 million). The remaining seven universities will get 600 million rubles (US$16.5 million) each.”


Overall positive changes such as the creation of new federal universities, the designation of certain institutions as national research universities, the awarding of academic mobility grants and a greater focus on deeper internationalisation and research and development – are already taking place.


International departments of the universities that are participating in the program now have enough funding for participation in various international education events in order to boost their international cooperation network and establish new ties with overseas peers.


At the same time, Russia also aims to produce its own international ranking of higher education institutions by June 2015. The Russian government has said the new ranking tables will include universities in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), BRIC, and Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) countries.


The call for the rankings was based on instructions given by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev during a State Council meeting earlier this month: “I would like to remind you that the objective to bring Russian schools into the top 100 universities in the world remains relevant,” said the Prime Minister. “Frankly, this is not a simple objective. Nevertheless, we will attempt to fulfill it.”


Russia is definitely going through a series of positive “milestone” changesin its higher education and offers numerous opportunities for establishing fruitful long-term cooperation.



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