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Russia universities can really get to world's top 100-MGIMO rector

May 23, 2012, 16:52 UTC+3
"One-fifth of students at our universities are foreigners, this is a good indicator," Anatoly Torkunov said
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MOSCOW, May 23 (Itar-Tass) — Russian universities have a real chance to get to the world’s top 100 rankings, Rector of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) Anatoly Torkunov said at a press conference on Wednesday.

“I mean, at least five Russian universities can get in the top 100 – these are the Times and QS, as I understand – Europe’s two leading world university rankings. This task is quite feasible,” said the rector.

“They have been much criticised in our country because we do not look very positive in many of them, hence the calls – ‘let's create our own ratings.’ Let’s invent the bicycle. It will possibly be not a two-wheeled, but an eight-wheeled bicycle. In my view, the national rankings - this is also good, but in principle, the international rankings are certainly objective enough, we just need to work with the ranking agencies,” Torkunov said.

“In addition to the quality of national education proper, it is very important for us to participate in international academic life. What does this mean? This is our scientists’ citation rating in the two databases – Scopus and Web of Science. It is very low today,” the MGIMO rector said. “There are specialists in natural science – their materials are published in physics journals. These journals look for them to publish their materials. As for the experts in the field of the economy, humanities, their rating is very low. It’s a shame, but it must be admitted that even our well-known scientists with good international standing have not many published papers. We somehow have not been paying much attention to it, did not think it is particularly needed and important,” he explained.

“Second – this is, certainly, the presence of foreign professors on the permanent staff. Both the Times and QS rankings count as foreign professors only those who stay in a university for at least three months,” continued Torkunov, noting that foreign professors, even if they come to MGIMO, then only for a very short term. “Three months suggest that the person should be paid wages commensurate with the pay he receives in Europe or the United States or in Japan. In addition, it is necessary to provide an escort to such specialists, because it is not easy at once to get accustomed to life in Moscow. This, certainly, takes much effort,” said the rector.

“And one of the most important indicators - the presence of foreign students. One-fifth of students at our universities are foreigners, this is a good indicator. But it is also important to have a broad representation of countries there. The attraction of children of compatriots – this is also a strategy of internationalisation, because, returning to the countries of their current citizenship they will contribute to the development of relations with Russia,” Torkunov said. 

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