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Russia to set up universities, schools in Africa

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni is attending the summit

Russia and Africa have agreed to strengthen cooperation in higher education.

The memorandum of understanding signed at the second Russia–Africa summit at St. Petersburg will see leading Russian universities and schools opened in Africa.

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Africa is also set to benefit from long-term partnerships that would facilitate the exchange of knowledge through trainings and shared experience.

“We will continue to help our African friends develop not only the system of higher education but also general and vocational schools, train teachers, mentors and technical personnel for schools and colleges, as well as establish joint schools for which adapted teaching aids based on a combination of Russian and African national education programmes are being prepared,” said President Vladimir Putin.

The deal inked at St Petersburg Mining University will be undertaken within the framework of the Russian-African Network University.

The Russian leader who met with African Union chiefs Thursday morning before giving his keynote address at the plenary session of the key summit said a Russian-African consortium of technical universities would be set up to offer joint training of professionals for the mineral resources sector.

“ I regard this as an extremely important and interesting area for cooperation. We will continue to give priority attention to the development of cultural, scientific, educational, sports and youth exchanges between Russia and African states. There is a great deal our country has to offer in these spheres” he added.

”Of course, training of skilled personnel has always been and remains a traditional area of Russia-Africa cooperation. We discussed this issue just now at a meeting with the African Union leaders”.

Nearly 35,000 African students are studying at Russian universities, with the enrolment poised to grow following increased funding by the Russian government and new pacts signed with African governments.

“Nearly 35,000 African students are studying at Russian universities, and this number is growing every year. The quota for African students financed from the federal budget has increased by 150 per cent over the past three years and will exceed 4,700 people in the next academic year” said the President.

Already, Russia has launched a project to create open education centres to train teachers and educators of children’s preschool institutions, as well as primary and secondary schools in 28 African countries.

Russia is also considering the possibility of opening schools in Africa with a series of subjects taught in Russian.

“I am confident that the implementation of projects such as the study of Russian and the introduction of Russia’s high educational standards will create the best foundation for our continued mutually beneficial and equal cooperation” Putin told the over 8,000 participants attending the conference.

Investment in education was a key area of focus during the two-day summit that ends today (Friday).

A panel discussion on ‘Cooperation in Higher Education in Modern Geopolitical Conditions’ was held within the track entitled ‘Humanitarian and Social Sphere: Working Together for a New Quality of Life’.

The session was moderated by Andrey Fursenko, Assistant to the President of the Russian Federation.

Those who attended the session include Mohamed Ayman Ashour, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research of Egypt; Valery Falkov, Minister of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation; Dmitry Kobylkin, Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Ecology, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection; Vladislav Panchenko, Vice-President, Russian Academy of Sciences, Vice-President, National Research Centre “Kurchatov Institute”, among others.

The formation of new sustainable ties between Russian and African universities was among the most important issues at the Forum.

Expansion of personnel training for priority sectors of the African economy and humanitarian sphere, ensuring sustainable development of Russia and Africa requires the formation of joint research and educational centres in areas of mutual interest in scientific and technological development and the creation of new tools for cooperation in the humanitarian field was explored.

More than 10,000 Africans currently studying in Russia are being trained in medical specialities.

Reporting by Margaret Kalekye

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