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"Soft power" and the attraction of Asia

How to leave youth in the Far East, says the pro-rector of the FEFU

The Far East over the past decades has been a territory of a stable outflow of talents, and only the last few years - it becomes a place of timid investment inflow. Vice-rector for the development of the Far Eastern Federal University Dmitry Zemtsov reflects on what the role of higher education institutions should be in providing talented personnel in projects in the Far East.

"Soft power" and the attraction of Asia
Photo: FEFU Website

Dmitry Zemtsov

Pro-Rector for the Development of the Far Eastern Federal University
There are talented schoolchildren in the Far East. But, unfortunately, they leave the region immediately after leaving school. Thus, those who could potentially stay here, including with their families, and continue their professional growth are washed out of the region already at school age. To cope with the task of leaving these children is possible only through the joining of efforts of many parties. But the federal university can play a coordinating role here. 

The prospect is such that the Far East is an all-Russian project. And in order for the education to be of high quality, it is necessary to involve the resources of not only the educational system of the region, but also the entire country. This can be done by attracting well-proven educational practices in our country and abroad. 

Of course, the university may not interact with the school at all, simply "consuming" the best students. But in general, the school teacher is a creative person, and he is interested in interacting with other creative people. By entering a school, becoming an intellectual center, improving qualifications, offering good practices, a university through the “soft power” regime can have a very significant impact on the teaching community. 

We have already started moving in this direction. In April, we took part in a competition announced by the Ministry of Education and Science for the creation of scientific and educational centers for mathematical education. There is a version that FEFU will be able to create a center for continuous mathematical education. We have all the opportunities and resources to create a structure that would involve students in the vertical of mathematics education up to graduate school. 

When we conducted an analysis of what is around us, it turned out that the University of Singapore, Peking University and others who are strong in their mathematics education ratings are very close to us. And here, in the Russian Far East, there is no such center. Although it is very necessary - to accumulate around oneself both strong schoolchildren and strong teachers. Similar projects exist at Moscow State University - the university gymnasium, and at the Novosibirsk State University. 

We are actively preparing for the opening of the School for Gifted Children at FEFU. The Far Eastern Lyceum will open its doors to 300 schoolchildren from grades 8 to 11 on September 1, 2018. Children living in Vladivostok who are interested in mathematics, physics, biology, mathematics and computer science will study there. The school building has a historical value, initially it was built as a commercial school, where children from grades 1 to 10 studied. This is an old mansion in Vladivostok on Sukhanova, 8, similar to Hogwarts. In the same place, by agreement with FEFU and ASI, the Administration of the Primorsky Territory, after passing the competitive procedures, plans to open a children's technopark "Quantorium", where Primorsky schoolchildren and teachers will study under additional education programs. The second school will open a little later, and it will be a boarding school on the campus, where we can collect children from all over Russia. It has yet to be built. 

We have no fears that the gifted children whom we will take to the Lyceum will not fall into the orbit of the FEFU. The task is to bring a student from the 7th grade along an individual educational trajectory - and to contact with a future employer. There are enough fastening forms. For example, project schools, when guys for a long time work together with the university on a specific practical project, and then they inevitably remain our companions. 

Children by nature do not want to break away from home. But if they study well, then the parents themselves set them up, knowing the economic situation in the region, for a career in the west. We realized that we need to work with parents. 

Show that the child will get more bonuses if he is here. And to show it to the parents of the 300-ballnik not only from the Far East, but also from the center of the country. 

Argument one: a trajectory through the master's programs will be built with technology companies from the Asia-Pacific region. We will be able to offer talented children an individual educational and professional career path. This, of course, is still point and piece work, we are not talking about the thousands involved. Now many companies are entering the Far East region. There is a real hunt for talent all over the world and the Far East is no exception. Companies in the region of presence understand that you cannot bring all the personnel from the west, they need to grow in the region. 

On the other hand, talented guys are ready to go into self-employment. And we, as a university, tell them: look, on the one hand, there are our partners in educational programs. But in parallel - we create and structure 
technological entrepreneurship, for which a significant portion of the campus is allocated. There you can try yourself in the market, while still within the walls of the university, including integrating into the National Technological Initiative, and at the exit to receive not only a diploma, but also an operating LLC.

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