Headhunting: how Russia can increase education exports

The federal project “Export of Education” aims to double the number of foreign students studying in Russia by 2024, bringing this figure to 435,000 people. In addition, export of education should become a significant part of non-resource exports and facilitate the development of territories. Participants in the expert session of the 11th Gaidar Forum discussed the main tools for the intended goal fulfilling.

The speakers agreed that today, foreign students coming to Russia primarily need to have favorable conditions for a comfortable life and socialization. Another necessary step is the creation of regulatory mechanisms for the efficient employment of graduating foreigners.

“Education is not only the process of getting a pin on a lapel. The community is involved in it too. If there are no good cafes, stores, clean streets, students will not come to us. This must be understood. We need not only competitive curricula and a strong teaching staff, but also conditions for life and employment,” said the Governor of Tomsk Region Sergey Zhvachkin.

VEB.RF Senior Vice President Mikhail Alashkevich said that their corporation is developing a project for the construction of modern campuses in Tomsk and Perm. He emphasized that the quality of dormitories is one of the main criteria for foreign students when choosing a university, “Love may make a cottage a castle, but people choose places to study where they can live in comfort”.

According to statistics, there are more than 220 million students in the world. Of these, only 6-8 million belong to the "mobile" group, ready to move to other countries for the sake of education. Such a small amount leads to increased competition in the market, said Tamara Klyachko, director of the Center of Continuous Education Economics at the RANEPA, “When we talk about export of education, it is important to understand who will be our main supplier of students. In the coming years, the number of student will grow in Asia and Africa.”

The Deputy Minister of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation Marina Borovskaya urged not to forget about quality in the pursuit of quantity, “It is important for us today to develop new forms and new methods for foreign students’ enrollment. We are not ready to bring every willing person; we want to select the best. And our country can afford it.”

The rector of Tomsk State University Eduard Galazhinsky supported this thesis, noting that all the leading universities in the world today compete among themselves for top 5 % of the most talented applicants. “Talented students, for whom everyone competes, come to study, as a rule, for free – with scholarships. I see that there is a willingness to increase these quotas in Russia. The main question is whether we will be able to bring those talents that we are looking for, and not second-raters,” said the rector of TSU.

The President of Prosveshcheniye Group of Companies Mikhail Kozhevnikov proposed a possible solution to the sounded problem. In his opinion, it is worth developing cooperation with foreign schools, translating the Russian model of secondary education in other countries.


The Gaidar Forum is held at the RANEPA under the auspices of the Government of the Russian Federation and in 11 years it has become one of the most respected expert venues, which traditionally sets the vector for public and scientific discussion at the beginning of the year. The organizers of the 11th Gaidar Forum are the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, the Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy, and the Association of Innovative Regions of Russia.

The title partners of the Gaidar Forum are PJSC Gazprom and JSC Gazprombank. The strategic partners are Coca-Cola, Mastercard, Russian Railways, Pharmstandard group of companies, Johnson & Johnson, Sanofi, Novartis group of companies, MSD, AKIG group of companies, EF Education First. Partners are Prosveshchenie group of companies, EY, Huawei, RVC JSC, Russian Agricultural Bank JSC.

The title information partners of the Gaidar Forum are the Russia-24 TV channel, TASS, RBC, Business FM. The strategic information partners are Kommersant Publishing House, Interfax, Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Invest Foresight magazine, Federal Press Agency. The main information partners are Anews.com, Gazeta.Ru, Lenta.Ru, News.ru, Profile. International partners are RT, ThomsonReuters, Sputnik, EFE, Cision, Pan Pacific Agency. Information partners are Snob media project, AEI PRIME, RNS, Expert magazine, Parlamentskaya Gazeta, Polit.ru, Ekho Moskvy radio station, PRO Business TV channel, FINAM.RU information and analytical agency, Davydov.Index, Strategiya magazine, Ekonomika i Zhizn newspaper, Econs portal, Gosudarstvennaya Sluzhba magazine, TV BRICS.