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  • ‘Internationalising Education Is an Essential Condition for Improving Standards’

‘Internationalising Education Is an Essential Condition for Improving Standards’

The Master’s programmes in Mathematics and Mathematical Physics at the Faculty of Mathematics were started two years ago. We put our questions to the Dean of the Faculty, Professor Sergei Lando, to get a progress report.

— What are the first results of the Math Master’s programmes? Do you plan to make any changes in the programme this year?

— We have two Master’s programmes at the Math Faculty. Over the past two years our main task was to organise teaching on these programmes. It’s quite a serious problem for all Russian universities because while we can lean on decades of experience of devising Bachelor’s degrees and doctorates, Master’s programmes are a new thing for us. This intermediate stage, however, is important to create flexibility in higher education. The role of the Master’s is to provide essential training for those who want to be researchers but didn’t get experience while studying for their Bachelor’s degree, because it wasn’t part of the course or they were in another discipline. Over these two years we’ve learnt more about the levels of preparation Master’s students have had in other universities and now we know what they need us to teach them. Besides we needed to show graduates from other universities and colleges that our Master’s programmes were accessible to them and could be interesting. In general, we’ve solved the problems successfully.    

— What tasks have you set for 2013?

— Starting this year, the Master’s programme in Mathematics is translated into English and a number of students from abroad are taking it. In 2013 we wanted to increase the number of foreign students significantly but it’s not easy because immigration laws put high barriers in the way of attracting foreigners. At the same time, everybody knows that internationalising education is an essential condition for improving standards. It’s very important for Master’s students to be able to spend a few months in other Russian or foreign universities which offer high levels of training. At the moment, these trips are sporadic but we plan to make them a regular thing, open for everyone. 

— Are you expecting lectures from visiting Math “celebrities”?

— Lectures with remarkable mathematicians – both in the faculty and from outside, are happening all the time. They are attended by undergraduates, Master’s students, post-grad students and teachers alike. In fact on 17th and 18th February we will be holding lectures by members of the International Expert Council of the Mathematics Faculty  –  Heinemann Laureate 2012, Professor Tetsuji Miwa (University of Kyoto) and Sergey Fomin (Robert M. Thrall Collegiate Professor, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor). They are coming for a meeting of the Expert Council. Three council members are Fields Medalists (International Medal for Outstanding Discoveries in Mathematics), two of whom, Pierre Deligne and Stanislav Smirnov have already given lectures to our students.


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