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Iran admits US, Canada is goal of top students.

A senior Science Ministry official says Iran's top students are choosing to go to Canadian and American universities for their advanced degrees.

A key question is how many of those students will return home and how many will feed the brain drain that is pulling many of Iran's smartest youths abroad.

The Mehr news agency quoted Hassan Moslemi-Naini, the man who runs the bureau dealing with students who go abroad, as identifying North American universities as the most desirable to Iranian students.

He said half the graduate students in Canada and the United States receive scholarships from their universities, indicating the level of their quality. Five years ago, the Islamic Republic cut off all scholarships for students going to schools in Britain, the United States and Canada.

According to an annual survey of American colleges and universities, there were 4,731 Iranian nationals studying at US institutions of higher education in the 2009-10 school year. That was a very dramatic 34 percent increase over the 3,533 Iranian nationals studying in the United States the previous year. Those numbers include both graduates and undergraduates.

But the number of Iranian students in the United States is far below the 55,000 reached just before the 1979 revolution and amounts to less than 1 percent of the 690,923 foreign students in US colleges and universities last year.

Saeed Peyvandi, an Iranian academic based in Paris, told Radio Farda that top quality Iranian students choose to go abroad for their graduate work because of the oppressive political atmosphere on campuses in Iran and the lack of broad opportunities. He said less than 3 percent of Iranian students abroad receive scholarships from the Iranian government, showing how intense the drive is to leave Iran for advanced education.
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Title Annotation:Culture: From then to now
Publication:Iran Times International (Washington, DC)
Geographic Code:7IRAN
Date:Dec 31, 2010
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