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Vladimir Litvinenko spoke at the Russia-Africa Forum

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The Rector of St. Petersburg Mining University called the availability of quality education the main goal of the UN sustainable development.

On Thursday, July 27, the Russia-Africa Economic and Humanitarian Forum kicked off in the city on the Neva River. One of its sections was devoted to the prospects of integration of the parties in the field of education and science. As the participants of the discussion noted, this is one of the most pressing issues, since it is higher education that today represents the foundation underlying the socio-economic development of any country.

Vladimir Litvinenko, Rector of the St. Petersburg Mining University of Empress Catherine II, drew attention to the fact that the mission of modern universities has changed beyond recognition. In the 21st century they have turned into real locomotives, on the power of which, without any exaggeration, depends the ability of states to preserve their sovereignty.

"Today, many developing countries, including African countries, have made a dramatic transition from an agrarian to an industrialized economic structure. As soon as it becomes known that there is gold, platinum or other raw materials in their subsoil, mining and a number of related industries begin to develop rapidly. This transformation used to take decades, but now it happens in a matter of years. This conjuncture gives rise to a number of strategic problems, the main of which is an acute shortage of engineers and scientists capable of creating technologies demanded by the mineral sector," said Vladimir Litvinenko.

The lack of own personnel leads to the fact that this niche is occupied by foreign companies, primarily Western transnational corporations, which become the main beneficiaries of subsoil use. But the local population does not benefit from their activities. In the opinion of the Rector of the Mining University, it is possible to change the state of affairs only if the attitude of society to the mission of higher education is changed at the mental level.

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"The notions of "sovereignty" and "quality education" should become synonymous. At the same time, the availability of the latter should become the main goal of sustainable development out of the seventeen declared by the UN. If developing countries are able to create a system of formation of new knowledge, its transformation and education of young engineers on its basis, we will solve all other problems, including the elimination of poverty in all its forms and ensuring global food security", - assured the audience Vladimir Litvinenko.

This idea was supported by other participants of the discussion. Thus, the Minister of Education, Development, Science and Technology of Zimbabwe Amon Murwira emphasized that the mission of the national higher school of any state should be to realize the right of citizens to meet their basic needs, such as having a home, health, food.

Амон Мурвира
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"We are interested in cooperation with Russia to make our training programs more effective. We are interested in cooperating with Russia to make our training programs more effective, so that the doctors who come out of universities do not just have a diploma, but are able to treat. Engineers should be able to build, extract and process raw materials, i.e. they should be able to put their knowledge into practice. Only in this case we will be able to produce the necessary number of quality goods and services for our sustainable socio-economic development, as well as create as many jobs to eradicate unemployment and poverty," Amon Murvira emphasized.

It should be noted that the discussion was also attended by Mpho Mukapele, Chief Executive Officer of the Energy and Water Sector Training Authority of South Africa, Obama Nwe Mbugu, Minister-Delegate of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare of Equatorial Guinea, Valery Falkov, Minister of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation, Viktor Sadovnichy, Rector of Moscow State University and Andrei Rudskoy, Rector of Peter the Great Polytechnic University. The section was moderated by Andrey Fursenko, Assistant to the President of the Russian Federation.