At the first TPU International Week, specialists of international offices of Asian and European universities discussed issues related to internationalization of education, main academic trends and challenges. Mirko Varano, Senior Advisor of International Projects at KTH Royal Institute of Technology (Stockholm, Sweden) shared his opinion with TPU Press Office about the integration of Russian and Tomsk universities particularly in the European educational system and what Russian universities should do to become more visible in the European educational map.
December 9-11, Tomsk Polytechnic University hosted the TPU International Week 2019. Representatives of 23 international organizations from 11 countries came to Tomsk. They discussed issues of international cooperation in the field of education, especially between the countries of Europe and Asia.
“Formally, Russia is not fully integrated into the European educational process. However, it is an associated member in many educational cooperation support programs.
Europe is interested in Russian universities due to their high level of research. Although the cooperation in the field of education, student and teacher mobility is growing a little slower partly due to the language barrier, the integration of Russia into international processes is increasing.
Especially in comparison with the situation 10 years ago. Additionally, international students need to learn more about Russia. Since, for instance, Swedish students are quite conservative and prefer studying in the countries they know well and where they can freely speak English,”
- Mirko Varano says.
According to Mr. Varano, in the years coming, Russian universities will have more opportunities to participate in joint educational programs thanks to the new generation of Horizon and Erasmus + programs, which will be launched in 2021.
He also emphasized that Tomsk and in particular Tomsk Polytechnic University have already done a lot for the internationalization of the educational system. “Tomsk is clearly visible on the European educational map. TPU has already done more for the internationalization of education than many other Russian universities including due to its active participation in European programs and grants. However, to improve this result you need to develop your educational programs, make them more accessible to international students. The English language plays a considerable role as a language of instruction and thereby the language proficiency should be high enough”, the expert underlines.
Speaking of the main trends and challenges in internationalization of education, Mirko Varano identified three main trends:
“Currently, the main trend is sustainability. When we talk about sustainability in international activities, this applies to both the environment and the issues of economics and resource distribution. We should clearly understand which cooperation is worth proceeding and which one is not, and why. It is where the second trend follows, specifically – the focus on better partners.
The core idea is to make fruitful and effective contacts and not to make them as many as possible.
The third important trend is to focus on the quality of education. The quality of provided education services to international students matters more than the quantity of recruited international students,” – the expert says.