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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (April 14, 1972)
Soviet professor contrasts
U.S., USSR education
Ifai" -- NiN
Take me to your leader. . . This example of 1
mechanical wizardry can walk, talk and shake
by Carol Stressor
College is a very different experience for Russian
and American students, separated by half a world and
50 years of ideology.
For the Russian student, tuition is free and
housing is cheap, said Yuri Sarkisyan, an engineering
professor from Soviet Armenia on campus for UNL's
Because it's considered a favor to the state to go to
school, the state pays each student a stipend to cover
living expenses. .
A Russian student spends about 40 hours a week
in class but isn't likely to have much homework.
Extracurricular activities and problems with
professors are likely to be handled by the Youth
Communist League, a "very vital force" in the lives of
Russian youth between the ages of 14 and 28,
- Sarkisyan said.
And the job hunting anxiety common to most
American students doesn't exist in Russia. Students
"never hunt for a job" since the state takes care of
"In a communist country you do whatever they
need," Sarkisyan said. The state is "pretty fair" in its
placement of graduates, he added, although students
often aren't satisfied with salaries.
The state prepares specialists on a five-year plan
according to the demand in industry, he explained.
The number of people trained in each profession is
determined by the society's need.
Students must take tough entrance examinations
to attend college, and only about one out of three
applicants is accepted. The curriculum is split into
day, evening and correspondence courses, all of equal
importance in the college system, he said.
American students can enter graduate school
immediately after graduating from college but
Russian students must gain two years work
experience before continuing their studies. Graduate
students also receive a stipend, he said.
Most students live with their .families, and. there are
no demonstrations like those which hit American
The older a professor is, the more he's respected.
No professor is required to retire as long as he's in
The orientation toward education is different too,
he said. "Russian students know more about the U.S.
than U.S. students know about Russia," he said.
"Every Russian child can name all the American
states." They often know more about American
literature-about Hemingway and Steinbeck -than
U.S. students, he said.
The students aren't oriented to the profit system,
he said, but towards becoming "good members of
If a student is smart in many subjects, he would
probably choose to study mathematics in college
more than literature or history. "If a student is gifted,
why not use it in a direction more useful for
Music, art and literature are important in Russian
life. Books are cheap, and a good textbook costs
about one ruble (about one dollar). The state-owned
movie industry produces many educational films, and
television is completely educational.
The state also controls publishing. Sarkisyan, who
published his first book -at 22, said, "You can't
publish anything you want." However, he said the
remuneration is high if it is determined that the book
is necessary or useful to society.
The Soviet Union has no drug problem since it is
considered anti-society to use drugs. There are very
severe penalties for drug use, he said.
Alcoholism is a problem, he said, and students are
allowed to begin drinking in high school. The
religious prohibitions against alcohol are missing
because religion doesn't play a very important role in
Sarkisyan went to graduate school in Moscow and
teaches at the Polytechnic Institute in Yerevan, the
2,752 year-old capital of Armenia.
He was brought to the United States in August by
the International Research Exchange Board, which
exchanges Russian and American educators on a
one-to-one basis, he said. He's doing research on
kinematics at Stanford University in California.
This is his first trip outside the Soviet Union. He
has visited several American cities on his lecture tour
but considers California the "best corner in
He was "impressed by the level of technology and
automation" in the U.S., Sarkisyan said. "Everything
is done to save time-to make money." Everything is
used in the best manner possible to please the
Sarkisyan is scheduled to leave the United States
in June but said he has applied for an extension in
order to make a presentation at an October
conference in San Francisco.
Sarkisyan will speak at the Nebraska Unior
Centennial Room Friday at 1 1 :00.
Oops. . . Strike one in the egg throwing
contest, one of severe! events in the
E-Week ' Field Day, held Thursday at
Pioneers Park. Tha purpose of the annual
event, seconding to one participant, is
'To go out and get all hot and tired end
then go drink beer."
ti'4V J If J
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Jy 1 . 11
FRJDAY, APRI L 14. 1972
THE DAILY NEB RAS8CAN
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