Gloomy by not so hungry

March 3, 1995

Russian students are better fed than a year ago despite the plight of the country's universities, according to a survey published by the youth newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda.

The survey was carried out by the Students' Defence Union to mark St Tatiana's Day, the newly reinstated patronal feast of all Russian students.

The survey found 72 per cent of the families of university employees living below the official poverty line, while study time was sacrificed to the need to earn a living.

Fewer than half of Russia's universities and higher education institutes have adequate laboratory facilities and only 30 per cent have the basic equipment they require. Instead of the 21 square metres of laboratory space per student specified in the regulations, today's students have only 10.4 square metres compared with 40-50 in the United States.

More than half of university buildings are more than 15 years old, and repairs and renovations are far behind schedule. But 81.6 per cent of students are now assured of a place to live. In 1993 11 per cent of students "often felt hungry" while now 92.2 per cent "receive adequate nutrition". However they are more depressed. In 1989, only 28 per cent of students thought life was "meaningless", in 1994, the figure was 58 per cent. Ten years ago, 41 per cent of school-leavers wanted to proceed to higher education, today 24 per cent think it worthwhile.

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