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Russian universities to offer more government-funded places for IT students

February 17, 2014, 19:19 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Up to 25,000 IT specialists graduate annually from Russian universities, and only 15-20% of engineering students can be immediately employed in the sphere of information technologies
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© ITAR-TASS/EPA/ABED AL HASHLAMOUN

MOSCOW, February 17. /ITAR-TASS/. As a way of developing the IT industry in Russia the Ministry of Communications and Mass Media has decided to increase the number of government-funded places for studying information technologies at Russian universities by 34 percent in 2015-2016 academic year, the ministry spokesman said on Monday, referring to the admission quotas approved by the Russian Education Ministry.

According to the ministry’s data, the number of government-funded places for master’s degree programs in Information and Computer Science will grow by 74%, in Information Systems and Technologies - by 208 percent, in Applied Information Science — by 191% and in Information and Communication Technologies and Communications Systems — by 202%.

“A shortage of IT industry specialists is one of the most serious limitations to the development of the IT sector in Russia,” the spokesman said. “The Ministry of Communications together with some other authorities have been charged with addressing the issue.”

According to the ministry’s estimates, the Russian economy will need no less than 350,000 highly skilled IT specialists in the next five years. Russian universities in their present condition are hardly able to meet the demand.

“Increasing the number of government-funded places for IT students is one of the possible measures to achieve this goal,” the spokesman said.

The ministry’s data show that up to 25,000 IT specialists graduate annually from Russian universities, and only 15-20% of engineering students can be immediately employed in the sphere of information technologies.

“The current system of education generally fails to prepare those specialists who can immediately start working at IT companies,” Russian Deputy Minister of Communications Mark Shmulevich said. “Companies have to invest largely into staff training, but the main thing is the time they spend on it. This time should not go beyond all reason.”

Shmulevich pointed to a great shortage of IT industry specialists in the national economy. While the expected number of highly skilled IT specialists would not exceed 150,000 by 2018, some estimates of companies’ demand for five years to come indicate there should be twice as many IT specialists, he noted.

In October 2013, the Russian government approved a strategy for the industry's development till 2025, designed to settle the problem of personnel shortage. Besides the enlargement of admission quota for IT students, Russia’s Communications Ministry also aims to develop public and private partnership, to cooperate with IT companies actively participating in staff retraining, to use the potential of the specialized secondary education and to provide targeted support for most talented students.

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