THE EAST LOOKS WEST
June 11, 2008
All across the former Soviet Union, thousands of students are making the choice to turn away from the Russian language and embrace English, as well as the education standards of Western Europe and America, says Owen Matthews of Newsweek.
- In one of Ukraine's leading universities, Kiev's Mohyla Academy, courses are taught in Ukrainian and English only.
- Azerbaijan's leading private university, the Khazar University in Baku, teaches primarily in English and offers U.S.-style M.B.A. courses.
- The Georgian American University in Tbilisi, the Black Sea University in Tbilisi, and the American University of Central Asia in Kyrgyzstan also teach primarily in English.
- Georgia is funding scholarships for 1,000 local students to attend top Western universities, and has recruited 300 U.S. and European professors to teach part time at major Georgian universities.
Despite the upsurge in English, Moscow has sought to re-establish the importance of the Russian language:
- Last year the Kremlin founded Russki Mir, a grant-dispensing body that gives away $22 million a year to champion the Russian language.
- By the end of this year, the group plans to open as many as 15 Russian-language centers in ex-Soviet and Western countries.
Source: Owen Matthews, "The East Looks West," Newsweek, June 9, 2008.
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