Education technology is a growth market in India, with Google and KPMG estimating that the nation’s online education sector alone could be worth as much as US$1.96 billion by 2021.
Sobolev said the growth in India, and its intentions to use technology as an economic tool, means Moscow sees technological cooperation with New Delhi as one of its “priorities”.
“I see Russia as a significant partner in India’s economic transformation”
“I think modern technologies are one of the visible areas where we may envisage further development of higher education cooperation,” Sobolev added.
The director added that institutions in Russia are prepared to begin partnerships with Indian institutions, such as Moscow State University and the National Research University Higher School of Economics, both located in the Russian Federation’s capital.
It would not be the first time Russian and Indian HEIs have combined on technological progress. In 2016, ITMO University (St. Petersburg) worked with the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, on the Kumbh-Mela experiment on crowd behaviour modelling to improve crowd safety.
It is also not the first time the Indian and Russian governments have discussed further cooperation in education. Higher education was one of several topics discussed by PM Modi and president Putin during the former’s visit to Moscow in late 2016. Along with security and defence, increased student mobility and mutual degree recognition were high on the leaders’ list of discussion topics.
At the time, PM Modi said Russia is “India’s unwavering friend”.
“As I look to the future, I see Russia as a significant partner in India’s economic transformation and in shaping a balanced, stable, inclusive and a multi-polar world,” he added.
Russia is not the first country to see an flourishing market in Indian EdTech, and hope to take advantage through cooperation. Australian business By Degrees recently launched a mobile learning product, with a very definite idea that India was where the product could take off. It was work with Indian education agents that led to the targeted launch in 2017.
Along with EdTech cooperation, Sobolev highlighted the government-sponsored HE places available in the Russian education system for international students.
While Sobolev did not directly allude to expanding the provision for Indian students (102 spaces were reserved for Indian students across India this academic year. There are 15,000 spaces in total.), the inclusion of the project in conversation with Indian media suggests expansion is not off the table.