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Russia in fresh bid to revive HE ties with Africa

The Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia is working on a collaboration program with African universities, with the backing of the Moscow government, that will see Russian culture and language taught in universities on the continent.

The existing RUDN student body is diverse and international. Photo: RUDN

RUDN claims to be the biggest destination for African students in Russia

It will also provide scholarships to study maths and sciences at the RUDN, in a deal to be implemented in universities in nine African countries.

In a deal that is likely to commence this year, the Russian institution will identify partner universities in Angola, Zambia, Namibia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Gambia, Nigeria and Ghana.

“We are currently developing a programme of collaboration with several leading universities,” said Masamba Kah, adviser to Lousa Atremova, RUDN vice-director for International Affairs.

“Part of these programs includes Russian language classes and specialised profile classes including maths, physics, chemistry… so the Russian language is a foundation for wider collaboration in education in general,” he told The PIE News.

He acknowledged that there had been a drop in the number of African students interested in the Russian language from the 1990’s and early 2000’s, but he said the trend was changing with enrolee numbers growing.

The RUDN remains the biggest destination for African students in Russia, according to Kah.

“RUDN University is the largest recruiter of African students, in fact, it was built with the purpose of providing high-quality education for countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia,” he observed.

“The plans are not only to increase the numbers of African students, but also the quality of enrolling students through mechanism of RUDN  University Olympiads and strategic recruitment within national development plans of our partner countries” he added.

Russian is one of the least spoken foreign languages in Africa with only an estimated 100,000 speakers, Latin America being another place where it is spoken by few people with 200,000 speakers according to the Russian government.

It is however taught in a few universities in South Africa, and some few private colleges across the continent targeting students and diplomats destined for Russia.

The RUDN University is a state university founded in 1961 by the USSR.

Last December Zambia’s Copperbelt University inked a deal with RUDN that will see it become a regional centre for teaching Russian for the Southern Africa region, beginning next month according to Kah.

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