Russian academies scouting for Indian students

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New Delhi, May 25 (UNI) It's India tour with a difference. Heads of top ten Russian academies are touring different parts of the country to sell the idea of cheaper yet quality education at their institutes.

They are holding education fairs in the metros to enable students to get admission into medical and technical universities in Russia.

As Russia grapples with the reality of dwindling number of Indian students in their technical institutes post Soviet Union break-up, the need for such fairs is felt all the more.

''Though the number of Indian students in our medical institutes has increased phenomenally over the years, we are not getting many students in the technical field,'' says Prof Sayed Kamruzzaman, Head of the Russian Centre of International Studies.

One reason could be the reduced stipends for students after Russia came out of the Communist mould.

The other could be aggressive marketing by the universities of the United Kingdom, France and Australia in recent years.

''But education in our country is cheaper. It cost between 2,500-10,000 dollars per annum to study in Russia.... And the standard of our higher education is also considered one of the most advanced in the world,'' asserts Prof Dmitry Bazhenov, Vice-Chairman for Foreign Students, Tver State Medical Academy.

The expanding Indian economy-- aviation sector in particular-- is also prompting Russian academies to hold education fairs in India.

The demand for aviation engineers in India is rising fast and Russia wants to encash on it.

It has sent Prof Sergey Lutin of the Moscow Institute of Aero-space Technologies to lure Indian students to his institute.

''We have real samples of airplanes,'' he says and adds: ''The five-year course at our institute cost only 25,000 dollars.'' ''We hope to produce good aviation engineers for India,'' he says.

The academics will be in Bangalore tomorrow, in Hyderabad on the next day and in Mumbai on May 28 and 29. They have already held fairs at Delhi and Kolkata.

With bilateral economic and commercial ties requiring well-trained personnel in space research, technology, medicine and other fields, Russia believes these students could act as a prop in reviving friendship with India which ebbed after the Soviet Union split into independent states.

UNI YJ SW KN0959

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