MOSCOW, August 20 (RIA Novosti) – A program to send Russian students to study abroad – one of former President Dmitry Medvedev’s policy priorities – has been put on hold by the current Kremlin administration, Kommersant daily reported Tuesday.
Under the plan, the state was to foot the bill for 3,000 students to spend up to three years studying at the world’s top colleges and universities before returning to Russia to work in their chosen field for another three years, the report said.
But the presidential administration criticized the program for choosing to invest in managers rather than researchers or engineers, the newspaper said, citing an internal memo from the Kremlin.
Numerous technical flaws in the program were also identified, Kommersant reported, including the failure to ensure that students return to Russia after getting a diploma from Harvard or the Sorbonne.
The program’s developer, the government-affiliated Agency of Strategic Initiatives, has dismissed this criticism, the report said, though it conceded that delays will mean that students are likely to miss this September’s deadlines and will have to enroll the following academic year.
The Kremlin has not commented on these reports.
Medvedev first floated the idea in 2010 as part of his modernization agenda, much of which faded into the background after Vladimir Putin replaced him as president. Putin approved the program with a budget of 1.5 billion rubles ($45 million) in 2011, when he was prime minister, but it has yet to make the transition from stated priority to reality.