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Universities team up to teach Russian in Africa

The Copperbelt University in Zambia has entered into a partnership with the Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia, to begin offering Russian language courses and set up a regional centre for the teaching of the language. RUDN is a state university founded in 1961.

Zambia's most well known attraction is Victoria Falls, though it is hoped education will generate travel too. Photo: Flickr/ Benjamin Hollis

Russian is one of the least spoken foreign languages in Africa

“Zambia will become the regional cluster offering Russian language”

Under a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the CU and the Russian university in early November, the university will serve as a regional centre for learning of Russian language in the southern Africa region.

It will offer Russian lesson to students and adult learners, covering 7 countries in the region including Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Angola, Namibia, Tanzania, and Botswana.

It will train learners from the region in the Russian language in preparation for them enrolling for studies not just at RUDN but in other Russian universities as well according to media reports in Zambia.

“This deal when fully implemented will result in CBU attracting regional students from the above countries who want to pursue courses and university programs in Russia.

“Zambia will become the regional cluster offering Russian language and this initiative is expected to boost what is termed as infinity exports as well as bring in the much needed foreign exchange into the country,” the Zambia Business Times reported.

According to Lousa Atremova, RUDN Vice-director for International Affairs, the university will help the Zambian university with skilled experts to help it set the Russian language department as well as the regional centre learning.

Russian is one of the least spoken foreign languages in Africa with only an estimated 100,000 speakers with 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.

It was named the Patrice Lumumba University in honour of former Congolese socialist Prime Minister and Pan-African Patrice Lumumba until it changed names to Russia’s Peoples’ Friendship University in the early 1990s.

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