SPbU has held the first meeting of the Council of the additional educational programme “Russian language as a foreign language”. The Council was the first one in the history of the additional educational programmes at SPbU.

The councils of the educational programmes are a platform to additionally evaluate the quality of education and identify priority areas, said Marina Lavrikova, SPbU’s Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs and Methodological Support in her opening speech. “We can discuss our work with the outer experts who have gained deep and accurate understanding of the academic sphere, — said Vice-Rector. — It is especially important as methodological documentation is regularly to undergo external expert evaluation”.

The Council comprises leading scholars in the Russian as a foreign languages: SPbU’s Professors Kira Rogova and Tatiana Popova, SPbU’s Associate Professor Ivan Boitsov, and outer experts: Aleksandr Arafiev, Deputy Director of the Centre for Sociological Research of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation;  Aleksandr Korotyshev, Director of the Secretariat of the International Association of Teachers of Russian Language and Literature (MAPRYAL) and Russian Society of Teachers of Russian Language and Literature (ROPRYAL); and Anna Golubeva, Deputy General Director of the publishing house “Zlatoust” that publishes books on Russian as a foreign language. Its major concern is to develop more coherent strategies for the educational programmes and evaluate the quality of methodological support. The Council’s chairperson is SPbU’s Professor Vladimir Kazakov, who is the head of the Department of the Russian Language as a Foreign Language and Teaching Methods.

“We need to pay due attention to the additional educational programmes, especially the most popular ones. They are by no means less important: what and how is taught should be recognized as of high quality as the undergraduate and graduate programmes. It can explain the need to provide methodological support, and the Council is a great help here”, — said Vladimir Kazakov.

The programme is offered by the Institute of the Russian language and culture, a SPbU’s centre of the additional educational programmes on the Russian language as a foreign language. The Institute offers courses both for professionals and non-professionals (general courses). The general courses are for international students who would like to study Russian. Later on many of them get enrolled into the main educational programmes: in 2016, the number of the international students graduating the additional programme “Russian language as a foreign language” and enrolled into the main programmes equaled 43% of all the international students enrolled to the University. The courses for professionals are for those who have already got a degree and are planning to have professional retraining or continuing education in the Russian language as a foreign language.

Today, SPbU offers 477 main and 1,729 additional educational programmes in 40 areas of study. The additional educational programme “Russian language as a foreign language” is one of the most popular programmes in the University. Last year, it enrolled over 2,000 international students from 65 countries, primarily from China, Korea, Japan, USA, Finland, and Italy.