Costas Kadis, Cypriot Minister of Education and Culture, paid a visit to St Petersburg University. In the course of the meeting the delegation from Cyprus and SPbU representatives discussed the prospective fields of study within joint educational programmes and research projects.
On 22 October Russian Minister of Education and Science Olga Vasilyeva and Cypriot Minister of Education and Culture Costas Kadis signed an agreement between the governments of the two countries on mutual recognition of education, qualifications and academic degrees. During his first official visit to St Petersburg, Costas Kadis was bound to pay a visit to SPbU: "We are aware of your University's reputation, the outstanding scientists and professors. The development of the Cypriot higher education system began 25 years ago. Therefore it is crucial for the Republic of Cyprus now to develop cooperation in the field of education and science with such partners as SPbU — institutions with their own history and traditions."
The Cypriot government decided to support SPbU's educational programme aimed at the study of Byzantine and Modern Greek philology and that became the starting point of the cooperation. Yet, both the Cypriot and the SPbU representatives are willing to expand the spheres of partnership. "SPbU has been totally open to cooperation over the recent years, life sciences and information technology being among the priority areas of development. At the same time, the university-specific, classical fields such as mathematics, physics and linguistics are traditionally at the usual high level," Ilya Dementyev, SPbU's Senior Vice Rector, said.
"Even now we can say that there really are specific areas where SPbU and the Cypriot educational institution can cooperate in. For instance, the tradition to teach Old Greek to our students of history dates back to the 19th century," Ekaterina Babelyuk, SPbU's Senior Vice Rector for Academic Affairs, Extracurricular Work and Methodological Support, told to her Cypriot colleagues.
Delegates from the leading Cypriot universities came to St Petersburg together with the Minister to speak in details about their activities and to define the priority areas of the future joint projects. We must note that earlier on SPbU's cooperation with the universities of Cyprus had a local character. Thus, some time ago SPbU students of philology participated in the summer school organised by the Cyprus University of Technology.
The official part of the event was followed by a meeting with SPbU students and staff. The Minister was told about a unique methodology of learning Greek applied at St Petersburg University. In the beginning of their studies future linguists learn Old Greek. They start learning Modern Greek only on the second year of study. Just in two or three months the students are quite fluent in Greek. Such a method is used at SPbU only. It gives students an opportunity to acquire a copious vocabulary. The Minister personally spoke to SPbU students and was favourably impressed by their Greek language proficiency.