Headed by Ural Federal University, the plan is to create a network of education agents to recruit students, as well as recruiting directly in some key markets in South East Asia, the BRICS, the Middle East and Africa.
“The centre will help Russian universities not only to get their targets in terms of reputation and visibility, but also to enhance their performance in global educational rankings”
The primary aim will be to help the universities, each taking part in the country’s flagship 5-100 initiative to enhance Russia’s global competitiveness, to meet their government-mandated annual international student ‘budget quotas’.
Each of Russia’s top universities are expected to recruit at least 1,000 international students annually to help it meet a country-wide quota of foreign students given scholarships by the Ministry of Education and Science, which was increased to 20,000 in 2015, up from 15,000 the previous year.
However, the “recruitment centre”, as it is being termed, will also recruit fee-paying students across all levels of education provided by the participating universities, including preparatory and executive courses as well as undergraduate and postgraduate.
“The centre will certainly help Russian universities not only to get their targets in terms of reputation and visibility or to diversify the sources of funding, but also to enhance their performance in global educational rankings,” the centre’s Director and Vice-President of UrFU, Maxim Khomyakov, told The PIE News.
One of the key goals of the 5-100 project is to see five of the country’s universities enter the world’s top 100 globally ranked higher education institutions by 2020.
As well as benefiting individual universities, the centre will help to boost Russia’s global reputation and visibility, Khomyakov said.
“Arguably, for the moment Russia is almost unknown as an educational centre in many places,” he commented.
“Arguably, for the moment Russia is almost unknown as an educational centre in many places”
“We think that the active work of the best Russian universities in the global educational market would contribute to the creation of a better image of Russia as an educational destination as well as enable individual universities to develop their own strong international reputation.”
Currently in negotiation stages, the centre is expected to be fully operational by May or June this year.
Once the centre has gathered crucial information from participating universities regarding the programmes they offer and identified where resources most need to be focused, it will map out coordinated marketing strategy including a joint website and social media profiles.
Once fully up and running it will participate in “all major international educational exhibitions” as well as organising its own tours and roadshows, Khomyakov said.
It will also benefit from the “extensive resources” of the Rossotrudnichestvo (Federal Agency for the Commonwealth of Independent States, Compatriots Living Abroad and International Humanitarian Cooperation), which works under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to further Russia’s political and economic interests in foreign states.
However, Khomyakov added that its impact on student numbers for the academic upcoming year is likely to be “minimal”, with a larger impact being seen on the September 2016 intake.
The centre will be funded by the participating universities, though the level of funding is currently under negotiation.