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Foreign students in Russia: Russian education reforming epoch (2001-2011)

The last decade shows that the Russian higher education prestige among foreign citizens is increasing. The period of economic complications is in the past for Russia, and its higher education managed to preserve its high level and fundamental approach towards education, being at that considerably cheaper than the education in the countries of the Western Europe and USA.
Speaking in figures according to the data of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation, today in Russian institutes of higher education there study in total more than 100 thousand foreign students, the greater part of which studies on the commercial basis and the minor part – at the account of quota from federal budget. The possibility of such free of charge education (along with the existence of commercial contracts) was provided by the range of intergovernmental and other agreements. The countries, from which these student have come, mainly include the CIS countries, followed by the countries of Asia, Africa, Latin America, Middle East, Europe, as well as there are the student from the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
The Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation forecasts that the number of foreign student (and specific weight of the Western Europe and USA citizens among them) will increase according to the increase of the Russian education quality, its orientation on labour market, extension of scientific and research base, creation of more comfortable conditions for foreigners accommodation and education. With this purpose the Russian Government and the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation made a lot in the last decade.
• The Russian Federation joined three European conventions, connected with education:
? “About university education terms equivalence”;
? “About secondary education diplomas equivalence”;
? “About university qualification academic recognition”.
• The Russian government additionally signed a lot of bilateral international agreements about mutual recognition of diplomas with the whole range of countries of the CIS, Europe, Asia, Africa, Middle East and Latin America.
• In 2003 Russia joined Bologna process that joins at present 46 European countries and that has the objective to create single educational space in Europe, maximum harmonization of national educational systems and preparation of specialists according to the European labour market demands. It gives the students and Russian institutes of higher education the possibility to participate in European scientific and research projects, as well as to continue their education in the institutes of higher education of the European countries – members of Bologna process.
• During the last 8 years the Russian system of education was cardinally reformed in order to maximally comply with the requirements of Bologna convention and to effectively join in Europe wide educational space:
? there was carried out the transfer to Europe-wide two-level system of education – Bachelor’s and Master’s programs;
? there were adopted federal state educational standards for institutions of higher education, stimulating the non-complying institutes of higher education either to work effectively or cease their work according to the laws of market;
? annually the institutes of higher education participate in innovative training program contests that also supports the healthy competition among them;
? there was introduced the point system and credit system (which give the possibility to take into account the student’s passed hours in all the disciplines in case of institute of higher education change);
? the entrance into the institutes of higher education is carried out on the base of Uniform state examination;
? there was increased the financing of the universities’ scientific and research base that gave the potent impulse for further development of science of the institutes of higher education;
? there was defined the range of federal institutes of higher education with budget assets support. They introduce leading educational programs, have effective infrastructure of education, modern equipment and possibility to engage the best teachers (inclusive of teacher of global scale).
• At present the Russian universities actively participate in fulfillment of more than 70 projects and programs, the most important of which are the Program of technical support and the Program of interuniversity cooperation (within the measures of Europe), the Work Program of cooperation with Council of Europe and others.