Postgraduates lured to Eastern Europe
POTENTIAL postgraduates are being offered opportunities to study in former Eastern European communist countries.
An education fair has attracted more than 45 local and overseas tertiary institutions, including representatives from Russia and Hungary.
The publisher of Nexus, the international education company organising the fair, Tony Martin, said this was the result of the collapse of communism.
'The Russian universities during the Cold War period could not have overseas students for political reasons. But since the Cold War finished, diplomatic communication and visas are freely available.' Students might be attracted by the comparatively cheap tuition fees, he said, as low as US$2,500 (HK$19,323) compared to US$9,000 in the United States.
Russia, with 535 universities represented, was strong in aerospace engineering and language studies, Dr Sergei Kulik said.
The Budapest University of Economic Sciences was the largest specialist business institute in Hungary, said programme co-ordinator Hanna Varjas, attracting students from 56 countries.
Cindy Chou Tsz-hing, 21, a second-year radiography student at the Polytechnic University, said she would not mind studying in Eastern Europe.
'At least their cost of living is much lower and so my parents would have a smaller financial burden.
'Besides, I prefer studying where there are fewer Chinese people are around as we may play all the time instead of studying hard,' she said.
Australia, Ireland and the US are represented at the fair, with the largest contingent from Britain. Last year 4,555 local students were issued visas to study in the US. Britain came second with 3,222, followed by Australia with 3,109 and Canada with 2,787.
However, the total number has been on the decline over the past five years.
'This is mainly due to an rapid expansion in the places of local tertiary institutes. Now 25 per cent of the schooling population will be given a chance to take either a degree course or diploma locally out of the 33 per cent now taking matriculation courses,' said legislator Cheung Man-kwong, the chairman of the Hong Kong Professional Teachers' Union.
The fair at the Convention and Exhibition Centre lasts until tomorrow.