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Lesser number of govt-funded students necessary for tighter admission requirements- minister

May 22, 2012, 22:12 UTC+3

He said the number of such students should be halved while the financing of remaining students would be increased

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MOSCOW, May 22 (Itar-Tass) —— It is necessary to cut the number of government-funded students in Russian higher educational establishments for tightening admission requirements to prospective students, new Russian Education and Science Minister Dmitry Livanov said, referring to the public response to his interview with the newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

He said the number of such students should be halved while the financing of remaining students would be increased. “Obviously, we should have less of government-funded students but the allocations per student should be much larger: 200,000 to 250,000 instead of current 60,000. As soon as we quit universal free education, we will have mechanisms of hiring valuable personnel. There may be education loan for instance. If education costs much, loans will be available and prospective employers will repay them,” he said.

“This is not the question of higher education provided for money. We need tighter requirements to prospective government-funded students,” he posted on the Twitter.

The proposal gained support of higher educational establishment rectors and criticism of students.

“The quality of training of specialists is a key problem of education,” Voronezh State University Rector Dmitry Yendovitsky said. “The new minister puts the emphasis on engineers, selection of prospective students and student motivation. He has worked at a higher educational establishment. Inefficient expenditures must be cut. Sometimes graduates are unable to do the job they have been trained for,” he said. “Government-funded students should be cut in the first turn in non-core departments – such as departments of journalism, law and economics at engineering schools.”

The reduced number of government-funded students will deteriorate the quality of education, Russian Students Union head Artyom Khromov said. “Higher educational establishments will start to admit students with money instead of knowledge,” he said. The idea to increase scholarships is good, but that may be done without cutting the number of government-funded students, Khromov said.

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