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Three new Russian language courses for Zimbabwean citizens

1) Turning south: Russia launches Russian language courses for Africans

2) Russia and Africa in 2022 — a revival of old new friendly ties in education

3) Russian for Pushkin's homeland: three new language programs launched for Africans

4) Responding to the growing interest: three new Russian language programs launched for Zimbabweans

5) 150 Zimbabweans will take part in new online Russian language courses at St. Petersburg University

Russia and the countries of the African continent have a rich joint history in the field of education — in the 60-90s of the 20th century, the USSR trained more than 60 thousand certified specialists from Africa.[1] Today, this continent shows a revival of interest in Russian education — it is considered prestigious, and more and more Africans strive to receive it. Zimbabwean citizens are especially enthusiastic about that — in the last academic year, almost 500 Zimbabweans studied in Russia.[2] Russian universities do their best to satisfy the growing interest: this year, quotas for Zimbabwe have been increased by 80 places and new language courses have been launched for the country's residents.

At the beginning of the academic year, three new Russian language training programs designed by St. Petersburg University (SPBU) are launched for Zimbabwean citizens. They will help Zimbabweans to learn the language, prepare for admission to a Russian university, and adapt to Russia. The courses will mark the next stage of cooperation between the two countries. They will be held at the Center of Open Education in the Republic of Zimbabwe, founded by the SPBU in 2021.

The project is aimed at popularizing the Russian language in Zimbabwe, preparing foreign citizens who plan to study or work in Russia for learning the language, facilitating the communication of Zimbabwean and Russian organizations interested in joint activities, as well as promoting the Test of Russian as a Foreign Language (TORFL) as part of the final academic assessment.

In fall 2022, the list of the center’s educational courses has been expanded with three new online Russian language programs for foreigners: the elementary level from scratch, the basic level for those who already speak the language, and the elementary level with an emphasis on further education in Russia (for applicants to Russian universities). Also, three modern learning and teaching support kits have been created to teach the center’s courses. It is planned to admit at least 150 Zimbabweans to the courses. As their end-of-course assessment, they will take the international TORFL exam.

“Last year, the number of Zimbabwean citizens who showed interest in learning Russian exceeded the expected number by 2.5 times and reached 245 students. Within the program, 100 TORFL certificates were issued to participants who passed the exam after completing the language course, and 15 Zimbabweans applied to study at the SPBU. The Africans' interest in Russian education and the excellent outcomes shown at previous stages of the project, which has been continuously implemented since 2021, has inspired us to expand the target audience and scope of the program,” Dmitry Ptyushkin, Director of the Language Testing Center of the SPBU.

This is the first such project of a Russian university in Zimbabwe in 30 years since the collapse of the USSR. The SPBU is implementing it in partnership with the Diplomatic Academy in Zimbabwe (Harare). The project has been approved by the Russian Embassy in the Republic of Zimbabwe. At the request of African countries, the project's geography can be expanded.


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