Russia, Zambia To Boost Education Cooperation Despite COVID-19 Crisis - Rossotrudnichestvo

WASHINGTON (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 26th November, 2020) Russia wants to expand cooperation with Zambia in the field of education despite the fact that now all students are studying online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Head of the Rossotrudnichestvo in Zambia Republic Aleksander Anisimov told Sputnik.

"We see areas for increasing cooperation with Zambia, and particularly expanding collaboration with educational institutions, and also on creative practices such as skills building in areas like business and management," Anisimov said. "Russia is not good only because it is possible to get a good quality education for free there but also because it has creative innovation potential."

Anisimov underscored that the agency's main activity is education of the Zambians in Russia - the selection of the best Zambian school graduates for their further studying in Russia, as well as popularization of Russian education, and language.

"We come with that to the schools, universities, for example, offering special courses," he said.

Anisimov noted that there are a lot of graduates from the Russian universities every year.

"We have quite a big quota - 150 students per year - for free education for very prestigious majors in Russia," he stated. "On this basis we are now developing a new system of cooperation on Russian language with schools and universities."

He noted that this year there were 2,000 candidates, about 20 people per seat, who applied for grants to study in Russia.

"The students have been selected, however, because of the COVID-19 pandemic they are now studying online," Anisimov shared. "We hope that they will eventually come to Russia, as they say themselves to play snowballs."

Anisimov said that overall some 6,000 Zambians graduated from the Russian universities. He also underscored that these people are immersed in the Russian culture, love it and have serious life moments connected with Russia.

"A lot of Zambian guys return with Russian wives, who represent the base of our compatriots in the country - some 300 people in Zambia," Anisimov said.

Anisimov shared that amid the pandemic and before the end of the year they will continue to work in all directions of the public diplomacy.

"For example, we have a social media club where we are trying to help the youth, companies and communities to develop their digital skills," he said. "We constantly teach Russian. Besides, in December the schools graduates take their exams. And as in March they will be applying for grants to study in Russia, in January we expect at least some hundred new students to study Russian language."

Anisimov went on to say that aside from doing the regular work at the Russian cultural center, they also do the charity work.

"These projects are more personal. For example, my wife supports women who make baskets," he explained. "For these women it's the only source of living. And my wife helps them find partners and buyers across the world. Moreover, my children are actively engaged in another project. Every weekend they go the poor neighborhood to teach writing, reading, geography and math to a group of 30 girls."

Anisimov also noted that they have recently held the very first Russian film festival, staged Pushkin's "The Blizzard (Metel)" with Zambian students acting in Russian language and now they are staging "Carnival Night," also in Russian, to mark New Year's celebrations along with songs and dances.

Anisimov concluded by saying that the cooperation between Russia and Zambia has always been positive.

"Zambian Humanism, a special philosophical social system, significantly impacted by socialist ideas was developed here during the times of President Kenneth Kaunda, which is the postcolonial time. And so, socialist ideas and the history of the Soviet Union are close to the Zambians," he said.