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Russia courts Africa with science scholarships

The government of Russia is increasing its efforts to recruit African students to the country’s universities, the latest being an offer of 60 scholarships to study nuclear sciences by the country’s state nuclear energy corporation, Rosatom.

Russia, MEPhI, AfricaScholarships will support students to study nuclear sciences at a number of institutions including the National Research Nuclear University (MEPhI). Photo: Lamen.

60 scholarships are available for African students to study for a bachelor’s degree in nuclear-related subjects

The students will get the opportunity to study in some of the top universities in the country at undergraduate levels beginning later this year.

“There is currently an opportunity for 60 African students, to study for a bachelor’s degree in nuclear-related subjects at one of our cutting edge learning institutions”, Viktor Polikarpov, Rosatom’s regional vice-president for Sub-Saharan Africa, said at a student career event in Johannesburg, South Africa, last week.

“This is a great opportunity for foreign students who want to become part of a unique learning experience”

“We offer a broad range of educational opportunities for foreign students and young specialists to gain relevant knowledge in different scientific fields, and this is a great opportunity for foreign students who want to become part of a unique learning experience which has been gained over decades”, he later told Business Ghana.

Scholarship recipients will be given free tuition during the entire period of study, a monthly allowance of 1,300 roubles, and hostel accommodation where space is available.

The funding does not cover travel, health insurance or living costs, however.

Universities where recipients can learn skills in nuclear sciences include the National Research Nuclear University (MEPhI), one of Russia’s oldest universities specialising in nuclear sciences established in 1942.

Already a number of South African students are enrolled at MEPhl for various programmes at both graduate and undergraduate levels, as a result of Russia’s established engagement with South Africa’s nuclear energy sector, supplying uranium and offering technical support to the country’s nuclear plants.

Ten of the 60 scholarships are reserved for students from South Africa with the other tranche open to students from other African nations.

The move is seen as part of a wider strategic plan by Russia to get hold of future opportunities on the continent in nuclear energy development programmes, already under development in several African countries.

According to UNESCO statistics, in 2014 Africa’s top student source countries for Russian higher education institutions were Morocco (833), Nigeria (777) and Angola (401).

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