Putin pledges to pump cash into overseas study scheme

June 30, 2006

Russia is planning to demonstrate President Vladimir Putin's G8 commitment to education by pumping public funding into a scheme to send students, teachers and researchers to overseas universities for training.

Andrei Volkov, the Deputy Education Minister, said that Russian universities would be able to bid for funding for overseas training from as early as next year.

Funding will be allocated during a three-year period beginning in 2007.

It is part of Russia's commitment to improving educational opportunities as the country increases the pace of its integration into the world economy.

Education is one of Russia's priorities during its presidency of the Group of Eight industrial nations.

Improving mobility and access to international experience were among key issues identified this month at a Moscow meeting of the organisation's education ministers.

In a Moscow Declaration made after the meeting, education ministers issued an 18-point plan confirming their "commitment to co-operation in education at all levels in the 21st century".

At the Russia-European Union summit held in Sochi, Britain, France, Germany and Italy agreed to ease visa restrictions for categories of Russian visitors including scientists and students.

President Putin is expected to announce further initiatives during the next G8 meeting in St Petersburg on July 15-16.

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