Speech by the Ambassador of Russia to Botswana H.E. Victor Sibilev on the occasion of the meeting with the students departingto Russia for studies in 2017, September 6, 2017
Acting Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Mr. Matlhogonolo Mokakapedi,
Dear friends, dear guests,
I’m proud to welcome all of you at the Russian Embassy’s Cultural Centre. Today we have a very special day in our bilateral ties. It has become a tradition in forty-seven year’s history of diplomatic relations between Russia and Botswana to send young people from Botswana to study at Russian Universities. Last year the quota of scholarship was drastically increased from 10 to 29 due to signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Education and Skills Development of the Republic of Botswana on cooperation in the field of education. This great success was achieved in June 2016 during the visit of Honourable Dr. Unity Dow, then Minister of Education and Skills Development.
Thus, I take this opportunity to congratulate all of you on the beginning of the new school year, which is traditionally celebrated in Russia on the First of September. In Russia we call it – the Knowledge Day.
The world is continuously changing, it becomes more and more complicated, sciences and technology are developing. So everyone needs good education, knowledge and professionalism.
We are confident that you are the most able, talented and clever. You are the future of the prosperous Botswana. You will have to transform Botswana for better, to reinforce the economy and welfare of the people.
The first students from Sub-Saharan Africa arrived in the Soviet Union for studying at higher education establishments in 1958. As more African countries gained independence and needed skilled personnel, the number of African students in the USSR was constantly growing reaching 15 660 in 1992. Nowadays Russia continues to be an attractive destination for African students due to the high quality and relative affordability of training. According to the statistics, 38 per cent of Africans study at Russian universities at the expense of the federal budget, with the rest receiving education on a commercial basis. Russia annually assigns about 1500 budget-financed scholarships for African students in various cities. This year we send 55 students, including both on state scholarship and commercial basis.
More than 300 Botswana students have studied in Russia. Some graduated from Russian and Soviet Universities many years ago. Before and now they have leading political, economic, business and military positions. Among them the founder of Botswana National Front Dr. Kenneth Koma, former Minister of Health Dr. John Seakgosing and Hon. Botlogile Tshireletso, Assistant Minister of Local Government and Rural Development. Hopefully you will also become good specialists and may take positions of ministers, generals or prominent statesmen.
I am satisfied to say that the mutual traditionally friendly and cordial relations of Russia and Botswana have been expanding in many areas. This applies to education, healthcare, law enforcement, military and technical cooperation, trade and economics.
I wish to congratulate you on the beginning of your studies in Russia and wish to assure that upon completion of studies you will turn into qualified and sought-after specialists either if you choose to return to Botswana or stay in Russia.
I avail myself of this opportunity to wish peace and prosperity, good health, wellbeing and great success to all of you!