Ambassador of the Republic of South Africa Nomasonto Maria Sibanda-Thusi has visited St Petersburg University.
The Rector of St Petersburg University Nikolay Kropachev welcomed the guest and said that at present only two universities from the Republic of South Africa are the University’s partners.
joint publications with scientists from South Africa over the past five years have been registered by university staff.
Their level, as well as the weighted average citation index, is quite high. This indicates that university staff and their colleagues are engaged in current research activities. However, almost all of these articles were created in large international collaborations by up to 100 authors. Academic mobility among Russian and South African lecturers is small, and there is no mobility among students. Consequently, it is impossible to talk about the presence of active and meaningful contacts.
As the Rector of St Petersburg University explained, one of the most active partners of the University is China. The reason for this is mainly due to the conclusion of a direct contract with the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China. With its support, the number of degree programmes with a Chinese component has increased threefold. At present, every tenth programme of the University has this component. Additionally, the University has become the only Russian university that has entered the Chinese educational platform XuetangX, and it has the widest access to the digital research platform CNKI. Together with universities in China, St Petersburg University has opened more than eight research centres, and the total number of partner universities has reached 50. These and many other achievements are the result of direct contacts with the Ministry of Education of the PRC.
Nikolay Kropachev said that the University has the right to enter into direct contacts with ministries of other countries due to its special status. He also added that the same results can be quickly achieved in cooperation with the embassy and the ministries of South Africa. In addition to education, St Petersburg State University is ready to interact in various fields, including geology and health care.
Nomasonto Maria Sibanda-Thusi thanked the Rector for the information provided, which will help to choose the directions in which the Embassy of South Africa can work with the University. Such meetings, according to her, make it possible to understand how to stimulate and improve this cooperation. This is the reason why it is so important for diplomats to personally attend educational institutions. The Ambassador said that over the past 25 years, the Republic of South Africa has gone a long way from the policy of racial segregation to the establishment of democracy and inclusion in interaction with the world community. At present, all residents of the country have access to the higher education system, and the number of students participating in international exchange programmes has increased significantly.
South African students are currently studying in Russia, and eight of them are students of different universities of St Petersburg.
Nomasonto Maria Sibanda-Thusi emphasised the importance of academic and research cooperation between Russia and the Republic of South Africa in the field of oil, gas and mineral resource extraction. This develops within the framework of the strategic cooperation established by the presidents. But it is also no less important to promote relations in the economic or cultural fields. She said that she will transmit the information received at St Petersburg University to the Department of Science and Technology and the Department of Higher Education and Training of the Republic of South Africa.
During the meeting, the Rector of St Petersburg University invited the Ambassador to head any of the councils of academic programmes in languages and culture of West Africa. He also offered her to nominate embassy staff who are ready to participate in formulating topics for graduation projects and to take part in final examination sessions.