Russian Education Ministry to Protect Provincial Universities

The Russian education ministry will "protect" provincial higher educational establishments while modernizing the Higher School, Russia's deputy Education Minister Vladimir Nevolin said in a live interview with Veliky Novgorod's state-owned TV and radio company Slavia.

According to his words, reform of the Higher School does not mean that universities in members of the Russian Federation will be closed down.

Modern provincial universities are centers of scientific and cultural life in the regions and would be missed if closed down, said the deputy education minister. "Too many rumors" have risen from the proposal to introduce state orders for specialist training in Russia's main higher educational establishments and finance provincial universities from regional budgets, he said.

He assured the audience that the education ministry would take special care of those of the universities of the Russian Federation that were created not by blending previously isolated educational structures but in the "classical way," with the help of the whole experience of the Russian Higher School, including the experience of universities in pre-revolutionary Russia, remarked Nevolin.

He also stressed that the proposed changes of the Russian Higher School do not mean any radical reform, and urged the audience to drop the word "reform," which he thinks should be substituted for "gradual modernization" of the specialist training system.