At the request of the Russian Embassy in Zimbabwe, St Petersburg University has launched a one year course in the Russian language at the Zimbabwe Institute of Diplomacy. More than 50 people are now enrolled in the course. The language courses of St Petersburg University are the first Russian language courses launched by a Russian organisation in Africa in over 30 years.

The online lectures and interim assessment are carried out by experts, including experienced teachers from the Preparatory Courses of St Petersburg University. Participants receive a certificate upon completion of the online course and are then permitted to take a test in Russian as a foreign language at the Language Testing Centre at St Petersburg University. Upon passing the exam, participants will receive an internationally recognised certificate of A1 level in Russian.

Course participants include: future applicants to Russian universities who are preparing to enter higher education institutions; teachers from the Zimbabwe Institute of Diplomacy; and businessmen and public officers who need the language for their work. For example, the wife of the Greek ambassador to Zimbabwe is currently taking a Russian language course from St Petersburg University.

According to Dmitry Ptyushkin, Director of the Language Testing Centre at St Petersburg University, in the near future there are plans to launch additional groups. This is because the number of applications received by the Russian Embassy in Zimbabwe has already exceeded 100, indicating a growing interest in learning the language.

The Language Testing Centre at St Petersburg University has operated since 1997. The centre conducts state testing of foreign citizens in Russian as a foreign language. Students have the opportunity to take the exam and obtain a certificate of basic, elementary, first, second, third and fourth levels. The certificate issued by St Petersburg University is an official document certifying the level of proficiency in Russian as a foreign language in accordance with the Common European Language Competences (CEFR).

’This year we plan to introduce lectures on Russian culture and literature to tell the learners more about Russia. In addition, students will have the opportunity to: participate in intellectual contests; take online courses; and use the resources of the library and other facilities of St Petersburg University,’ said Dmitry Ptyushkin, Director of the Language Testing Centre at St Petersburg University.

At present, St Petersburg University runs courses in the Russian language as a foreign language in Latvia, Greece, Palestine and Zimbabwe.