Olopeng gets certificate of merit
By Lesedi Thatayamodimo
GABORONE - Minister of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology, Mr Thapelo Olopeng has been awarded a certificate of merit and a memorable medal for his contribution towards preparations of XIX World Festival of Youth and students held in Sochi, Russia from October 14-21, 2017.
Presenting the distinctions during a courtesy call in Gaborone on Friday, the Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Botswana, Mr Victor Sibilev said the awards were from Russia President Mr Vladimir Putin for Minister Olopeng’s kind engagement.
Meanwhile, Ambassador Sibilev said the fruitful cooperation between Russia and Botswana with regard to higher education was characterised by sustainable development.
He said the partnership kept on expanding to the mutual benefit of the people of both countries in the framework of bilateral agreement on cultural, scientific and educational cooperation signed in 1999 in Gaborone.
Ambassador Sibilev also highlighted that in June 2016, the Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of education and Science of Russia and the then Botswana Ministry of Education and Skills Development on cooperation in the field of education was signed.
He pointed out that the agreement gave a tangible impetus to the development of partnership in the sphere of higher education as it facilitated establishment of direct linkages between institutions of higher education; the scientific and research institutions.
He revealed that the partnership afforded opportunities for training 30 Botswana citizens annually, with up to five on medical specialties, in Russian institutions of higher professional education within the quota of the Russian Federation.
He said 21 Batswana students were fully sponsored by Russia in 2018, while 40 students were sponsored on contract basis.
Mr Sibilev pointed out that the People’s Friendship University of Russia (RUDN) and the University of Botswana (UB) had harmonised the MoU for cooperation in science and education.
He said the main objective was to establish joint research and educational projects as well as to promote exchange of students and teachers.
He also highlighted that they had facilitated the establishment of direct ties between Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR) in Dubna and Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST).
He said the UB Vice Chancellor plans to visit RUDN this year, while BIUST vice chancellor visited JINR in 2018 to discuss the possibility of establishment of
Centre for Applied Fundamental Physical Research in BIUST as part of bilateral cooperation Protocol signed in 2015.
Ambassador Sibilev pointed out that every year the government of Russia provides 15 000 places for foreigners to study for free.
He said the competitive selection for study free of charge within the quota was organised by educational federal agency in Russian Embassy representative offices throughout the world.
Ambassador Sibilev also stated that the ministers’ request while he was at the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development, regarding the assignment of the Russian Football coach to train the national football team had been considered
For his part, Minister Olopeng hailed Russia for support on educational matters.
He said Botswana was grateful for the assistance Russia gave to Botswana to help transform the country from a resource based to a knowledge based economy.
Mr Olopeng pointed out that an agreement signed in September 1999 between the two countries had been the basis upon which many of the cooperation arrangements were carried out.
He further pointed out that on educational matters; the agreement had facilitated technical assistance through scholarships offered by the Russia government.