RUSSIAN UNIVERSITIES SHOWING DECREASE IN ACADEMIC STANDARDS

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MOSCOW, October 26 (RIA Novosti) - Russia has seen an increase in the number of universities with low academic standards, Valery Kozlov, Vice President of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said Tuesday as he spoke at a session of the Presidential Council for Science, Technology and Education. "In recent years, the number of universities with insufficient educational potential has become excessive," he noted, adding that this was especially true of postgraduate programs.

"In the past decade, the number of postgraduate students has increased by a factor of 3.3, to total 120,000 people," while the Russia's research institutes' staff have grown by as little as 25 percent, Kozlov said. Doesn't this go to show a decrease in academic standards, he wondered.

The gathering also discussed options for bringing together science and education. That integration is not about a name change, but about promoting sustainable interaction between researchers and academics, the man explained. The principal objectives include training personnel for research and high-tech development, as well as encouraging scientific studies at the nation's leading universities.

Speaking of the problem of staffing research institutes, Kozlov said that a mechanism for finding talented young fellows had been developed by now, but that low salaries, the lack of housing, and other socio-economic factors continue to discourage many from embarking on a scientific career.

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