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New Exchange Set for U.S., Soviet Students

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Washington--Up to 1,500 American high-school students will live and study in the Soviet Union each year, and an equal number of Soviet students will come to the United States, under a new exchange program launched Sept. 14 by officials of the two countries.

President Reagan and General Secretary Mikhail S. Gorbachev had agreed to create the new exchange program at their summit meeting in Moscow last spring.

The National Association of Secondary School Principals, the American Council of Teachers of Russian, and Sister Cities International will run the program with a $175,000 grant from the United States Information Agency.

The first step in the plan will be for 25 high schools from each country to form partnerships this year with schools in the other country. Schools will send up to 15 students ages 15 to 18 to attend classes and live with host families for a month.

An additional 25 schools will par4ticipate in 1989-90, and 50 more are expected to join the next year.

The new exchange effort will be unlike current exchange programs, which tend to follow an "essentially one-way, tourism-based, random pattern of outbound visits by American school groups," according to Dan E. Davidson, the project's director.

Project officials this month sent applications to participate to 20,000 U.S. public and independent high schools. Only those schools that offer at least two years of Russian language instruction will be accepted.

Proficiency in Russian will be a prerequisite for students, Mr. Davidson stressed.

Schools also will have to develop a plan to provide scholarship support for students selected to travel to the Soviet Union and for families that will host Soviet students.

Further information can be obtained from U.S.-U.S.S.R. Partnerships, Room 530, 1619 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036; (202) 328-7309.--rr

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