"It is time to study in Russia." That is the message for students and others visiting the Russian Educational Fair which just ended in the Indian capital.
Twelve universities participated in the "It is Time to Study in Russia-2015" exhibition. These included the People's Friendship University of Russia, Tver State Medical Academy, Volgograd State Medical University, Kazan State Medical University, Kazan Federal University, Russian International Olympic University, Ural Federal University, Far Eastern Federal University, South Ural State University, Bashkir State Medical University and Orenburg State Medical University.
At present, close to 5,000 Indian students study in Russia. The number of students travelling to Russia for the first time comprises almost 2,000, showing a growth of about 20%.
"This rate of growth is continuing and we are extremely satisfied," said Sayed Kamruzzaman, Head of Rus Education (India), a leading organiSation that sends Indian students to study in Russia.
Traditionally, up to 90% of Indian students go to Russia to study at medical institutions. This year, analysts have, for the first time, reported a growth in the popularity of other specialities. "These include IT, management, aircraft engineering, and oil and gas-related fields", he said.
The most popular Russian university for Indian students has been the Tver State Medical Academy. Around 800 Indians study there, they have their own community and vegetarian café in the dormitory, and hold the largest festival of Indian culture in Russia.
Kamruzzaman is convinced that Russian universities "are global leaders in terms of price and quality of education". At the same time, Europe, in his opinion, "as before, remains more popular from the point of view of students travelling there, expecting to find work and remaining there for life".
"Less than 1% of graduates remain to live in Russia," he adds. "In addition to salaries being lower than in Europe, Indians traditionally look for the presence of an Indian community in the area. There is no full-fledged Indian community in Russia, if you do not take into consideration the student community in Tver."
Viktor Katochkov, the pro-rector for international activities at South Ural State University, where 2,000 out of the 50,000 students are foreigners, said he has given himself the task of increasing the number of foreign students gradually from 5% to 10%. "I believe that the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) countries are very promising in terms of attracting students, and also, generally, the idea of establishing a Network University for this group, which will provide assistance from leading educational centres from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa," Katochkov said.
A decision has already been made to establish a BRICS Universities League, which the top five universities of each country can join.
Arriving in India for the first time, having come from Sochi where the 2014 Winter Olympics were held, the Russian International Olympic University (RIOU) is offering its new programme, master of sports administration, which was launched in 2013. The educational institute already has one graduate and one student from India.
"The programme is designed for 10 months," said Iya Makharadze, a senior specialist at the RIOU. "Our first graduate from India already works in New Delhi, and our student has already received a job offer from the United Kingdom".
The main objective of this programme is to produce a new generation of effective sports managers with both strategic and operational skills. The programme runs for 39 weeks (three semesters), with each week having five study days.
Besides Delhi, representatives from these universities travelled to Chennai, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Kolkata and Imphal. The last city was the capital of Manipur state, and is a new destination. Earlier, the India's northeast has not received the attention of Russian universities.
Participation in a summer exhibition has already been confirmed by 10 more universities, bringing the number of participants in both phases close to 30.
(In arrangement with Moscow-based Russia & India Report.)