BEIJING, Oct. 10 -- The largest education delegation Russia has sent to China will be at the 2006 China Education Expo over the weekend in Beijing, to give a welcome message to Chinese students who want to study in Russia.
About 110 university presidents and representatives from 53 Russian higher education institutes will be at the Expo to talk to Chinese students.
There will be people from the prestigious People's Friendship University of Russia, Belgorod State University, Moscow National Normal University and Saint-Petersburg State University, where President Vladimir Putin once studied.
Sergey Lebedev, third secretary at the Russian Embassy in China, told China Daily it will be the largest education delegation Russia has ever sent to China.
He said China and Russia have a close bilateral relationship, and Russia welcomes more Chinese students.
"We hope they can have a better understanding of our country," he said, adding that the education showcase is part of the Russia Year in China.
Lebedev said it is quite easy for Chinese students to go to Russia because there are no language requirements and the visa application process is usually simple.
"Students don't have to be able to speak Russian. They can learn it on a college preparatory course in Russia," he said. "And more than 90 per cent of student visa applicants can get a visa easily."
Embassy figures show that about 13,000 Chinese students are currently studying in Russia. Last year, about 3,500 to 4,000 students went to Russia and that figure increased this year.
Figures from the Beijing JJL Overseas Education Consulting & Service Company, one of the biggest overseas education intermediary agencies in China, confirmed that Russia is becoming more popular among Chinese students.
So far this year, JJL has helped more than 500 students to go to study in Russia. That number was 300 last year and 200 in 2004.
Good bilateral relations, a good quality of education, a growing need for the Russian language and low tuition and living expenses are major reasons for the increase, according to Song Hui, a consultant from JJL.
She said the two countries are these days having more economic co-operation because of the good bilateral relationship. "There's a growing demand for business people who are able to speak Russian, but now, most Chinese who are able to speak Russian are elderly people."
She added that it costs only about 50,000 yuan (6,250 U.S. dollars) for a Chinese student to study and live in Russia for a year, about one-third or one-fifth of the cost in the United States or Britain.
"Above all, Russian schools also provide a very good education," she said.
An estimated 20,000 people will visit the Expo held by the China Education Association for International Exchange (CEAIE) on Saturday. More than 450 overseas colleges and universities will participate in the two-day event at the China Word Trade Centre in Beijing.
Wu Zaofeng, deputy secretary-general of CEAIE, said they hope the expo can serve as a hub where Chinese students can have the chance to conduct one-to-one consultations with target schools.
The annual expo, launched in 1999, is viewed as an opportunity for overseas schools to expand their presence in the world's potentially largest recruitment market.
It is sponsored by many foreign bodies including the Cultural and Education Section of the British Embassy, the German Academic Exchange Service and the Spanish Embassy.
This year's expo will also go to Harbin, Shanghai, Nanjing, Chengdu and Shenzhen, with an expected 60,000 visitors in total.
(Source: China Daily)