Maths, Physics and Computer Science in Russian for Senegal teenagers
Ngor Sarr, Chairman of the Cooperation Commission in the Association of Graduates of Soviet and Russian Universities and Coordinator of the Association of Russian Language Teachers in Senegal, tells about the role of Russian language in the modern development of Senegal and in his own lifeline.
In 2023 ETU "LETI" won the Rossotrudnichestvo grant "Organization of the Russian Week of Mathematics, Physics and Computer Science in Senegal" for high school students studying Russian language".
The key contact of LETI in Senegal is Ngor Sarr, a 1989 graduate of the Peoples' Friendship University. His love for the Russian language made him first a teacher, translator, and later an educator: he took part in the founding of the Faculty of Slavic Languages in the University of Dakar. Today Ngor actively promotes contacts in business, education and technology between our countries.
"The history of our interaction with Ngor is a good example of dynamic relations with African countries. Last year LETI delegation visited Senegal, where we were hosted by Ngor. We found a great interest in getting education in the fields of science and technology, where our university is a leader. Already this year the first Senegalese students are coming to us, and in Senegal we are starting a project, the target audience of which are high school students motivated to continue education in Russia. In November, LETI lecturers will hold classes in math, physics, and computer science in three cities of the country. I hope that this project will make a significant contribution into a new stage of educational programs in Russia and Africa".
What visiting LETI, Ngor Sarr told about the history of Russian language learning in Senegal, shared his experience of cooperation with Russia and commented on the LETI's competences needed in his country.
About the system of Russian language teaching in Senegal:
- Russian language teaching was introduced in Senegal in the 1960s, when the country gained independence. Our first president (1960-1980), poet Leopold Sedar Senghor, decided to send Senegalese students to study Russian.
At that time, for developing countries, the USSR was the world's education center where university studies were free. Then in Senegal several lyceums started the Russian language classes - in Dakar, Kaolack and Saint-Louis. The lyceum level in Senegal can be compared to the Russian upper secondary school, after which students choose a bachelor's or full university education.
In 2000, a colleague and I, who was the secretary general of the Association of Russian Language Teachers, with the support of the Russian Embassy in Senegal, decided to open a faculty of Slavic languages. Those who studied Russian and wanted to become teachers were educated there. But mathematics, physics and computer science were not taught in Russian at the Faculty of Science and Technology. Nevertheless, through the state quota Russia-Senegal students had the opportunity to go to different universities in Russia.
Today, interest in studying Russian in science and technology is high. Students learn Russian in order to come to Russia to continue their studies, to master new areas of knowledge, subjects that are not taught in Senegal. Through the media we see that Russia has advanced teaching in such important disciplines as medicine, engineering and computer science.
Why cooperation with LETI is so important?
- LETI has everything that is needed not only in Senegal, but also in Africa as a whole. During the Russia-Africa summit we visited LETI's high-tech laboratories, for example, we saw innovative solar panel solutions. Everything related to ecology and electronics is very much in demand. Senegal has a faculty of physics and chemistry, but there is a shortage of engineering and digital technology programs, so our young people are coming to study at LETI.
A personal story how the choice of language became a choice of life path
- After elementary school we go to the secondary school, and you choose a language to study - Arabic, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Russian or German. Before choosing, I decided to look at the alphabets. I looked at the Russian alphabet and letter "И" caught my eye, so I made my decision.
The first text in the Vaneyeva's Russian language textbook begins with the topic "My Family", and the first phrase is "My name is Igor Petrovich. Here is my family." My name is Ngor, and the girls in the group changed N to “И”, so I turned out to be Igor. And to this day I'm still Igor Sarr. We had an elderly teacher, Peter Kharitonov, and everyone joked that I was his son - "Igor Petrovich".
The Russian language gave me everything: I studied in Moscow, and there I met my wife and started a family - my wife and children.