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Tomsk Authorities Intend to Facilitate Increase of Number of Foreign Students in Tomsk Universities


Deputy Governor for Academic Organizations, Lyudmila Ogorodova, shared the information at the roundtable discussion “Global Export of Higher Professional Education: What Strategies Work”. The event took place in the International News Agency “Russia Today” in Moscow.   

Deputy Governor of the Tomsk region participated in it together with Nunzio Quacquarelli, the founder and managing director of QS Quacquarelli Symonds, Nadezhda Polikhina, acting director of the Federal State Autonomous Scientific Institution Center for Sociological Research (“Sociocenter”), Vladimir Filippov, rector of the RUDN University, Dmitry Guzhelya, advisor of the head of Rossotrudnichestvo, John Green, life member of Cambridge University and Rachel Hall, editor of the Guardian News & Media educational app.

Discussing effective strategies of the higher education export as one of the key challenges that all universities around the world are addressing, participants of the roundtable conference have noted that the Tomsk region is justly called Russian Cambridge, as science here is an essential strategic element.

“Indeed, the Governor set a task – our region should get the status of scientific and educational world-class center. It should be an agglomeration densely filled with science, technology and business. That’s why accumulation of human potential became Tomsk’s key objective. Needless to say that to achieve it the region should primarily address education quality issues. And it goes hand in hand with development of international universities”, - commented Lyudmila Ogorodova.

She pointed that Tomsk universities had old schools of thoughts and that’s why two of them – TSU and TPU – were included into the association of universities that implement the program of universal competitive abilities. Over the last years both universities are placed high in international ratings. In particular, they lately got into THE rating as universities with the biggest number of foreign students. In terms of this indicator, TPU took the third place among Russian universities and TSU came fourth. Furthermore, only five universities of the Russian Federation were included into the top-200 of the rating.

“Number of foreign students in our universities increased by 2,5 times over the last 10 years. What did the region do for it? First of all, the Governor approved INO Tomsk program. In this program universities and institutes of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Science are functionally put together in one consortium and they have combined their efforts and activities in various branches of science. Secondly, there have been some decisions made within INO Tomsk that are related to the urban environment comfort improvement. Today Tomsk has Living Laboratory of the project Smart City, which primarily includes campuses of universities. Moreover, we already came close to creation of the united campus of the consortium of Tomsk universities”, - added the Deputy Head of the region.

In an effort to improve the quality of enrollees and graduates, Tomsk universities annually increase amount of students from far abroad. One of the conditions required to carry out these plans is availability of educational programs in foreign languages. At academic year-end 2017 TSU had 11 of such programs, TPU – 6, TUSUR University – 4 and TSPU – 2. Another important criterion that is considered during compilations of ratings – amount of programs of dual degrees. In this regard, the leader among Tomsk universities is TPU (25 programs). TSU has 10 of them, TUSUR University – 6,  TSPU – 2 and one more dual degree program is carried out for the students of TSUAB.

“Today we have been included into THE top-200, into QS top as one of the best students cities in the world, so the tasks set by the Governor are being executed. Nevertheless, we ask ourselves a question, where is the level having achieved which we can say that we’ve created an international environment? For example, we see that Peoples' Friendship University of Russia is currently number one by amount of foreign students – it’s 30%. Hence, we can pretty much grow from 28% to 30-35%. With that, it’s important for the regulatory environment, that is being developed in Russia, to meet the needs of the education export. We’re glad that there now exists such higher-priority national project as the Russian Education Export. Its objective is to create the conditions for us to timely enroll the students as per quota, who are willing to come to us. To make it possible for us to ensure visa support for professors from foreign countries. So far we have to create sort of an office in every university that helps the students to overcome this red tape” – summed it up Lyudmila Ogorodova.