How are Russian students trained in mathematics

Russian scientists are still among the best, according to a report

According to a report by Businessweek magazine, the science education system in Russia is going through a period of revival, producing over 200,000 graduates annually. However, the report warns that "Russian science may live on borrowed time" as Russian academics age and young graduates are hired by the private sector or foreign universities. "This is one of Russia's surprising survival stories - the resurrection of what was once an excellent scientific education system," the report says, adding, "Government funding for scientific research and education perished with the collapse of the Soviet Union [... ]. But Russia's universities and scientific institutes are slowly adapting to the harsh realities of a market economy, tapping into private funds and research contracts, and forming partnerships with international heavyweights such as Intel, IBM and Cisco Systems. Meanwhile, more students are enrolling for a science degree . " Thanks to the economic revival in Russia that began in the late 1990s, the country's government has increased spending on science by 90 percent since 1998. However, this is only a fraction of what was paid before the fall of communism. Today Russia spends only 1.24 percent of its gross domestic product on research and development (R&D), around half of what France and Germany spend in this area. More increased government funding will be needed to encourage graduates to enter teaching as the ranks of academics gray and thin, the report said. Irina Dezhina of the Institute for the Economy in Transition (IET) told Businesweek: "Russian basic science is still at a very high level, but when the current generation of teachers retires, experience can be lost." A study carried out by Moscow State University on behalf of the Russian government found that almost two thirds of Russian scientists are over 40 years old. Therefore, the study report recommended measures such as funding for research areas with the most prospects or the greatest potential, or the possibility of innovative scientists receiving higher financial recognition for participating in government-funded projects. As in some other countries, Russian scientists often receive very modest salaries. A Russian lecturer only has a prospect of 83 euros a month, in Japan, for example, it would be 3,000 euros. That is why many young university graduates work or study abroad or work in banks or companies. Despite these impairments, "Russians young and old continue to amaze the world with their science and math skills," Businessweek said. "Students [are] so well educated in computer science, physics, math, and engineering that more and more are being snatched away by the world's largest tech companies." In addition, the pool of Russian university graduates in scientific subjects is growing. In 2004, 225,831 students graduated as computer scientists, engineers, mathematicians or physicists, an increase of 11 percent over 2003. "Despite the new wave of marketing management, Russian youth are rediscovering their traditional interest in old-fashioned science," reports Businessweek. The greatest demand is for places in science or mathematics.

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