Alexander Novak: ''We would be happy to introduce such scholarship, but where to get funding?''

About how the students of Kazan Power Engineering University asked the energy minister of Russia money for a new residence hall worth 400 million rubles

Minister of Energy of Russia Alexander Novak visited the Kazan Power Engineering University during his visit to Kazan. The students were not timid and immediately turned to the main topic — they asked to support with money. The minister compared his scholarship when he was a student with the current scholarship, promised to put in a good word for the Kazan university with Minister of Education Olga Vasilyeva, and at the end of the meeting he complained that there were too many questions to the ministry of energy.

Money does bring happiness: how students received the minister

A tour around the Kazan Power Engineering University for Minister of Energy of Russia Alexander Novak started with the training centre Electroskills — there are trained future participants of WorldSkills competition in the competence of power engineering and electricians. Director of the training centre, Shamil Khasanov, said that three years ago students could get a profession only for money (''we have the system of higher education, but it doesn't include working professions''), but now courses are compulsory part of the program and they are free.

Next year it will open a similar center but on power energy — Thermoskills. The cost of the project is 16,8 million rubles, 11 million of them — equipment.

Alexander Novak advised to concentrate on energy of the future — renewable sources of energy — sun, wind, and thermal sources, robotics, artificial intelligence and wireless power transmission.

In the next room, student activists had been waiting for Novak. ''Questions straight off?'' surprised the minister at assertiveness of the youth. Future energy specialists started with the main topic— money, and almost all the questions were dedicated to them.

A tour around the Kazan Power Engineering University for Minister of Energy of Russia Alexander Novak started with training center Electroskills

''When I was a student, the scholarship was 70 rubles a month''

''You should devote much time to do science and achieve something. It is impossible to do without financial support,'' started one of the students and asked Novak to introduce a special full scholarship from the ministry of energy in the university. The minister was even at a loss.

''We would be happy to introduce such scholarship, the question is where to take the source of funding? It should be financed from the federal budget or you have any suggestions on the source of funding?'' he asked the student.

The student did not get embarrassed, ''We have scholarships of the companies, President of Russia, Tatarstan, about 200 students receive various scholarships.''

''I get the idea. Let's think, maybe there is such possibility. Financial incentive is also important, I know. Do you have a system that if you study well, then the scholarship is higher? We had such. How different is the usual scholarship from the increased one?'' asked Alexander Novak and the answer satisfied him. Academic scholarship at the university is 1,700 rubles, and the increased one is 6,500-8,000 rubles, pro-rector for academic work Alexander Leontyev answered to the question.

''When I was a student, the scholarship was 70 rubles, and for honoured students — 105 rubles. Your motivation is higher 1,5 times,'' said Novak. Someone from the university staff whispered ''but the competition (full scholarship – editor's note) is great,'' but the speaker did not hear because he was asked another question and again about money.

Novak was also asked to put in a word for the Kazan University to increase the stae-funded places for admission

Putting in a good word with the education minister of Russia

The next question, or rather request, was to help the university to obtain the status of flagship university. This decision is taken by the education minister of Russia, and Novak was asked to put in a good word with Olga Vasilyeva. ''Can we count on the support of the ministry in the upcoming contest?'' asked another student. The status of the flagship university gives the increased rate of funding, budget places, said pro-rector Leontyev.

''I am ready to support, and all energy universities need support, I am interested in having good specialists,'' said Novak.

The requests did not end there, Novak was also asked to increase the state-funded places for admission.

''The trend of the recent years: the ministry of education decreases the target admission level for energy — it's not just in our university but also in Ivanovo and Moscow,'' this question was asked already by pro-rector for academic work Alexander Leontyev. Novak answered that he had met with Vasilyeva, though they discussed another university, they solved all the questions, ''If you have the same problem, we will support.''

The project of the new residence hall

The students decided to finish the meeting on a positive note — they showed the minister a sketch of the future — the fourth — university residence hall for 600 beds. Novak probably thought that they again would begin to tell about money and, if so, his instincts did not disappoint. ''Mr. Minnikhanov has supported this project, and I'm sure that you will also support us,'' shamelessly suggested one of the students.

''Too many questions to the ministry of energy,'' Alexander Novak sighed wearily.

The project of the new student residence hall on the territory of Kazan Power Engineering University, by and large, is similar to the draft of the third residence hall, which was commissioned 2 years ago. The previous construction cost was over 400 million rubles. Before that, the university attracted funds for the construction from the republican budget and from own sources. The lion's share of funds for the construction of new residence halls for new energy personnel were allocated by regional energy companies with the approval of the president of Tatarstan.

Alexander Novak did not have time to respond to the offer to help with the fourth residence hall, Leontyev delicately supplemented the words of the activist and told the minister, ''This issue has been resolved.''

By Darya Turtseva. Photo: