Nick Holdsworth's article on private colleges in Russia (THES, October 20) is in some respects misleading. The private sector of higher education in that sad land does not comprise about a third of the total, as he implies, but far less.
According to 1994 figures (the last I have been able to find) the sector had garnered about 10 per cent of the student intake: many institutions are known to be operating precariously, with small intakes and rented teaching accommodation. Furthermore, the average cost of such courses in Moscow appears to be in the region of $1,000 to $2,000 per year. Even this is a massive personal investment, and one would expect a high drop-out before graduation. To my knowledge no proper statistics have so far been provided.
Mervyn Matthews Reader in Russian studies University of Surrey, Guildford