The Consul of the People's Republic of China in the city on the Neva, Wang Wenli, paid a working visit to St. Petersburg Mining University. During her meeting with Rector Vladimir Litvinenko she discussed the prospects for further integration of Russia and China in the academic sphere. The parties noted, in particular, that after Beijing lifted coronavirus restrictions the partnership between the higher schools of the two countries must reach a new level of quality.
Wang Wenli's visit started with a guided tour of the historical building of Russia's oldest technical university. She toured the museum, as well as advanced laboratories created in collaboration with flagship companies such as Novatek, BelAZ, Schneider Electric, CAT and several others. As the consul said, the university's infrastructure made "a lasting impression on her."
The topics of her dialogue with Vladimir Litvinenko were the development of academic mobility, cooperation in the extraction and processing of rare earth metals, and ultra-deep drilling. As the rector noted, opening the meeting, today the Russian society has finally realized the perniciousness of our country joining the Bologna process. In fact the level of Bachelor's and Master's competences does not meet the demands of labor market which basically needs young engineers, who not only received general education, but who passed specialized professional training as well. The two-tier system, unfortunately, is not aimed at it at all.
"We are not planning any revolutionary changes, but it is obvious that the percentage of applicants to state-funded specialty programs in Russia must and will grow. This is necessary to preserve the technological sovereignty of our state, as well as the sustainable development of domestic oil and gas and mining companies. However, this can be said for any country with a rich resource base. This includes China. The introduction of specialization in China would make our partnership in the development of academic mobility much more promising. For example, we will be able to unify our curricula in more areas of training and intensify work on double degree programs," stressed Vladimir Litvinenko.
He also reminded that there are currently 46 students from China at the Mining University, but the infrastructure of the university allows to significantly increase this level and accept at least 100 people from China every year. Of course, academic mobility is not limited to student exchanges. This academic year, for example, five Chinese graduate students came to Gorny to participate in the Philosophy of Science international program. But in order to build a "sustainable bridge between countries," this number should also be increased.
"Of course, we are interested in a joint study of the genesis and the most effective ways to extract rare-earth metals. Another promising area is the study of ultra-deep oil deposits. Today, almost no one is doing this, and our cooperation in this area would significantly increase the resource base of both countries. We are planning to drill two ultra-deep wells in Komi, Chinese universities could enter this project as partners, attract investment and then commercialize the results of our research," the rector suggested.
Wang Wenli expressed regret that ties between Russia and China were interrupted due to the coronavirus pandemic. At the same time, they are now gradually beginning to recover. Every day about 100 people apply to the Chinese consulate in St. Petersburg for business visas that can be obtained at the invitation of the host country. There is a high probability that very soon their number will increase significantly.
"There are quite a few universities in China whose curricula correspond to the University's areas of study, from oil and gas to scientific research in Antarctica. And they are also interested in developing cooperation with Russian higher education. On my part I am ready to help as much as I can to turn these initiatives into reality," Wang Wenli assured Vladimir Litvinenko.
The sides called the language barrier the biggest problem hindering the development of the cooperation between the states. They said it could be eliminated by opening the centers for learning Russian language in the PRC and Chinese language in Russia.