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Russia to open language centres across Africa

As it seeks to deepen educational ties with Africa and make the Russian language a more widely spoken international language, Russia is set to open its first ever Russian language open learning centre in Africa this September.

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The hub will be one of the 28 similar ones proposed by the country across Africa

The Russian Centre for Open Education will open in the capital of Kenya, Nairobi offering Russian language courses free of tuition fees to local students, in a bid to attract as many students as possible to enrol.

According to the country’s envoy to Kenya Dmitry Maksimychev, the centre will open with some 300 local students interested in the language which will also place them at an advantage in seeking study in Russia scholarships, local media reports.

The hub will be one of the 28 similar ones proposed by the country across Africa as it follows in the footsteps of China and Turkey, who in recent years have taken deliberate measures to create a mass of their language speakers on the continent.

The announcement is coming only a month after the country’s leader Vladimir Putin disclosed that his country planned to open campuses of ‘leading’ Russian universities in African countries. This he revealed during the 2023 Russia-Africa Summit in St. Petersburg.

This is besides teaching of Russian language, and a proposal to establish proposed consortiums for academic and research cooperation between it and African countries under the framework of the Russian-African Network University.

In 2018 Zambia’s Copperbelt University entered into a partnership with the Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (RUDN) to begin offering Russian language courses and set up a regional centre for the teaching of the language.

In the latest disclosure it is not clear if any universities will be involved in the venture or the country will go about setting the 29 centres along the same lines as France’s Institut Français and Germany’s Goethe Institute which teach their languages and culture as stand-alone entities.

It is also not clear yet if or not the country will use a universities and colleges partnership approach to pioneer the classes.

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