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    MOSCOW, April 5, 2004 - (RIA Novosti). Russian science and education are confronted with the task to preserve their uniqueness and, at the same time, work out new approaches. Andrei Fursenko, Russia's minister of education and science, voiced this opinion at the Russian-American conference "Research Universities" which has opened in Moscow.

    "We have not lost much in the sphere of education and science which has been developed over decades. We have preserved the foundation, the basis," Fursenko said. "Today, our task is to create new forms," he added.

    "However, it is necessary to determine first why we are doing this, what we wish to achieve, and what kind of specialists we want to have in some 10-15 years," Fursenko continued. He pointed out that the tasks of building a society based on knowledge and a country competitive in every possible respect called for the elaboration of new approaches.

    "The times and life itself have changed to a great extent. The challenges facing our country are not specific only for Russia, they are facing the whole of mankind today. Russia must preserve its unique features in order to become one of the key players, not only today, but in future, too," the minister stressed.

    In his opinion, Russia must primarily preserve its uniqueness in the sphere of culture and general human knowledge. At the same time, "our knowledge and culture must be fully accessible and open to the whole world," Fursenko said. He believes that this is the only way for Russia to be integrated into the world community.

    Andrei Fursenko also noted that the tasks set could not be achieved without close cooperation between education and science. "Russian education and science combined should give an impetus to the development of the Russian economy," he said in conclusion.

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