The Language Testing Centre of St Petersburg University was created in 1997 to deliver assessment tests of Russian as a foreign language. However, today the Russian language exam is just one of the centre’s areas of work. Dmitry Ptyushkin, Acting Director of the Language Testing Centre, spoke about the success the centre had achieved in the last five years.
‘Today, St Petersburg University performs tests of 25 languages. For example, the Proficiency test of Persian language has recently been held in our University for the first time outside Iran,’ said Dmitry Ptyushkin. No other organisation in Russia can deliver exams of so many languages.
Until 2015, St Petersburg University had only 8 collaborating centres of language testing abroad. Today, there are 80 testing centres of Russian as a foreign language in 33 countries. Moreover, since 2018, St Petersburg University holds an Olympiad that is highly rated not only abroad, but also by the Ministry of Education of the Russian Federation. During almost two years about 12,000 people from 130 countries took part in it.
Since 2016, the testing centre has received the right to hold exams of many foreign languages. These include: the Cambridge Assessment Test of English; the Test of Proficiency in Korean; and the Hebrew Proficiency Test.
In 2018 we became organisers of the Turkish proficiency exam; and signed an agreement to hold tests of 13 other European languages, including Hungarian, Czech, Romanian and Bulgarian.
Dmitry Ptyushkin, Acting Director of the Language Testing Centre at St Petersburg University
‘This year we have started delivering tests of the Japanese language. It is worth mentioning that previously this exam had been held in the Embassy of Japan, but they had never held exams in summer. We arranged this due to multiple requests from applicants. Now we continue working with Eastern languages: an agreement on Chinese proficiency test has been signed recently, and the first tests will be held in June and July, 2020. If before it was only possible to take a written exam in the University, now there will be the opportunity to test oral skills of Chinese,’ Dmitry Ptyushkin pointed out.
The number of exams is constantly increasing. ‘Three years ago, there were only 2,000 people abroad who took the test of Russian as a foreign language, now there are 5,000 examinees. When we started delivering exams of the Korean language, the number of applicants was not more than 100 annually, while now we have 300-350 examinees a year,’ Dmitry Ptyushkin said.
The work of the centre is not limited to language exams. One of its projects is the ‘Online School of St Petersburg University’ in the Baltic Countries, Spain, Kazakhstan and Tadzhikistan. Also, there is a peer-to-peer pedagogical practice programme and online Russian language courses in Greece. These initiatives not only help popularise the University, but they also enhance the position of the Russian language worldwide.