Education Minister Dmitry Livanov implored the country's schools Tuesday to work on attracting more international students after China soundly beat Russia in an international ranking of universities.
Two Chinese universities — Tsinghua and Peking — took the top slots over Russia's third-placed Moscow State University in a QS University Rankings category for BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).
Livanov said the country is in ninth place globally in terms of the number of its own students studying abroad. He said about 100,000 foreign students are currently studying in Russia.
"We set before our leading universities the task of substantially increasing [their] attractiveness to students from other countries," Livanov said at a press conference.
This year was the first time that the annual QS World University Rankings, one of the most widely observed international higher-education ratings, included a separate ranking for the BRICS countries.
China, already a well-established education powerhouse, whipped every other country in the BRICS category, with its universities occupying seven of the top 10 slots and 40 of the top 100.
Nineteen Russian universities made the BRICS ranking's top 100 list, though Moscow State University was the only one to finish in the top 10.
Only 16 universities in India, China's economic rival, made the top 100, along with 17 schools in Brazil and eight universities in South Africa.