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Russia and Iran plan student exchange increase

Student exchanges between Russian and Iranian universities may be set to increase, according to recent reports from Iranian state media

Some Iranian agents said that the quality of education in Russia does not compare to that of the UK and US. Photo: Unsplash

4,700 Iranians are currently studying in Russia

The Iranian education ministry told press that it would welcome Russian students to Iran’s universities and that there may be further student exchanges between Moscow and Tehran following talks with Russia’s representatives in Iran on August 13.

The media also reported that both parties expressed interest in two-way language exchange, which may result in increased teaching of Persian in Russia and Russian in Iran.

Mohammad Mohammadi Masoudi, the director general of scholarship of the Student Affairs Organisation, also called for the creation of a joint scholarship between Russian and Iranian universities.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February, Russian students have faced logistical barriers to studying abroad, including sanctions and travel restrictions. 

While most Western universities are still openly accepting Russian students, The PIE reported earlier this month that some have cut ties with Russian agents.

These factors have led some students to consider less traditional destinations. 

“Exchange programs may develop between Russian and Iran universities rather quickly”

“I trust that, with the government support, exchange programs may develop between Russian and Iran universities rather quickly, especially due to cancellation of numerous cooperation projects that had been created with European universities through the past 10-15 years,” said Elena Solomonova, director at Russian agency Insight-Lingua, in response to the news.

But Solomonova noted that most of the Russian students she works with are not interested in study programs in Iran.

Universities in Iran have been increasingly focused on internationalisation in recent years.

Approximately 58,000 foreign students were reportedly attending Iranian universities in May, a quarter of whom are from Afghanistan.

Iranian education agents are also sceptical about the arrangement.

Shokooh Safavipour, agent at Tehran-based Andisheh Novin, said that the quality of education in Russia did not compare to that of the UK and US.

According to the Russian government, approximately 4,700 Iranians are currently studying in Russia, up from 2,600 in 2019.

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