Ivan Ivanov: education in Russia is for the best!
Higher education in Russian universities under the quota of the Government of Russia is a great opportunity to support talented applicants from other countries. Every year, the number of quotas allocated to foreign students for studying in Russian universities increases. The record number of vacant places for training on a budgetary basis was given to the Republic of Tajikistan.
We discussed the specifics of the quota campaign in this country with the Adviser of the Russian Embassy in Tajikistan, the Head of the Representative Office of Rossotrudnichestvo in Tajikistan, Ivan Ivanov. Ivan has been working in Tajikistan since 2017. For more than five years, he has been helping gifted graduates to continue their studies at Russian universities for free.

Mr Ivanov, how popular, in your opinion, is Russian education among Tajik applicants, and how does Rossotrudnichestvo help those who decide to receive education here?
We should keep in mind that Russia and Tajikistan are long-standing partners and friends, and have been in close contact for 30 years covering more and more fields every year. It is safe to say that the most significant progress in this cooperation has been achieved in the humanitarian sphere. At the beginning of the academic year, the presidents of our countries opened five modern schools with teaching in Russian in different regions of the Republic.
The figures show that Russian education is popular.
Today, about 28 thousand students from Tajikistan receive education in Russian universities Every year, as part of the quota campaign, Rossotrudnichestvo helps Tajik graduates build their academic career in Russia. The state funds their training and increases the number of allocated quotas. For reference, in 2022, 750 quotas were allocated for the entire Republic. This year, their number has already reached 902. This increase is obviously caused by the growing interest and motivation to get education in Russia among Tajik applicants.

▶ Does not such an increase affect the applicants' level of competence? The more quotas, the easier it is to get them, right?
Not at all. Only the most talented get the much sought-after quota.
All quota applicants undergo serious tests. Those who apply to undergraduate programs have to pass proctoring where they show their level of competence in major subjects online with the use of special software. Those who apply to graduate and postgraduate programs and residency have to pass motivation interviews in person. The selection boards that include experts in different fields assess every answer. For instance, professional designers, conservatory professors, choreographers assess the works of applicants who chose creative majors. The selection board that assesses the applicants for clinical residency includes practicing physicians that have many years of experience. By the way, we already see that the competition for applicants to medical training programs now amounts to more than 40 people for one place.

▶ What other areas of training are popular among applicants?
IT sphere is largely popular among Tajik students. We also see lots of applications from guys who want to study architecture, engineering, power industry. Many applied to humanitarian areas such as law, economics, pedagogics. The country is interested in obtaining highly qualified personnel in all areas that Russian universities can offer.

▶ What motivates Russian universities to accept Tajik applicants? What kind of assistance do universities provide during the quota campaign?
During my work in Tajikistan, I saw for myself that there are lots of gifted youth here. Any university worth its salt will always want to have the best students with high motivation in its ranks. That is why we actively work with colleagues from Russian universities all year round, help conduct career guidance work among candidates during educational exhibitions and fairs. By the way, in June last year, representatives of 34 top universities of Russia took part in the exhibition "Russian Education. Tajikistan-2022" in Dushanbe and Khujand, and visit coverage amounted to more than 4000 people. The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Russia to Tajikistan, Deputy Head of Rossotrudnichestvo and Deputy Minister of Education of Tajikistan took part in the opening ceremony. As you can see, how many people attended the event and who they were show that such events are important and popular.
In addition to participating in exhibitions, universities hold preparation courses for those who want to pass entrance tests, academic competitions, join selection boards during in-person interviews on our sites. This allows them to communicate directly with their target audience, assess their preparation level and give the audience detailed information about themselves. This is especially applicable for regional universities that may be less popular among applicants and their parents but no less professional in preparing specialists in different fields. We always give our applicants advice to pay attention to regional universities as well as to ones in the capital.
What is the structure of the process of communication with your audience? Obviously, applicants and their parents have a lot of questions about studying in Russia, the process of filling out the application, passing the selection tests...
We try our best to use all available communication channels to be as open to our audience as possible. We do support traditional ways of communication, such as speaking on TV and radio, using social media profiles and email correspondence. But we have also introduced some new ways to the process: now we do live broadcasts with Q&A sessions, actively use the Telegram channel of the Representative Office in Tajikistan. We always strive to keep up with the times and give feedback in a format most digestible to our subscribers.
By the way, almost all the processes related to this year's quota campaign are digitalized, one way or another. The application for participation in shortlisting, its editing, status tracking at all stages take place online, and selection tests for undergraduate programs are carried out with the use of distance technologies. Applicants for graduate, postgraduate and residency programs can pass the interview online as well if they cannot attent it in person. We made a tremendous amount of technical preparations for every stage of the campaign to work with maximum efficience. This year, all facilities that were located on Rossotrudnichestvo servers "migrated" to the platform of the Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media of Russia. We have high hopes for a positive result.
We, in turn, hope for everyone to have a successful and fruitful quota campaign, and for Tajik applicants — to make their cherished dreams come true!
You know, I often hear people ask how to increase their chances to fulfill their dream, and I always answer that this is very simple: you need to become the best! Good luck, you will succeed!
Dmitri Srybny
Got Bachelor's, Master's and Doctor's degree in Journalism at BelSU. Now Mr. Srybny works as the head of the Center for international communications of RUSS.