Mastering the advanced achievements of nuclear science is gaining popularity in African countries. In the 21st century the peaceful atom is able to solve many long-standing problems of the continent, including not only those in the field of energy, but also in such sectors as healthcare, agriculture and environmental protection. But to make the potential of nuclear technologies come true, Africa critically needs their own qualified specialists in this field. The task of their training is currently being solved by the Russian state corporation Rosatom in partnership with the leading Russian universities. Rosatom launched the project “Russian Nuclear Education Ambassadors” only two years ago. This year it gathered more than a hundred participants at the qualifying stage, and 26 students from 14 countries, including a number of African states, got into the final.
The project participants completed four training programs to develop presentation skills, public speaking skills and social media skills and also had the opportunity to meet the leaders of Rosatom. Russian Nuclear Education Ambassadors regularly take part in online events with foreign audiences and carry out active information and educational activities in social networks. This work is aimed at promoting Russian nuclear education abroad, popularising Russian nuclear and related technologies in many countries. This May all ambassadors successfully finished trainings and now they are ready to promote the Russian nuclear education all over the world. A special place among the ambassadors belongs to representatives of the African continent, where the Rosatom Corporation has been actively expanding its partnership in recent years.
Since 2013 Rosatom has been involved in organising free training for the African youth at Russian nuclear universities. Currently 256 students from African countries, including Rwanda, Ghana, Egypt, Zambia, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia and South Africa, are being trained there. The high reputation of the Russian nuclear education provides them with excellent opportunities for career growth both at home and around the world. Today Russia, like the Soviet Union several decades ago, makes a significant contribution to the intellectual competence of the future elite of African countries. The ambassadors’ program is about promoting nuclear education, this is to address the issue of low power generation in some countries in Africa, says Prince Asabi Boakye from Ghana, graduate in nuclear science from Tomsk Polytechnic University. With the help of nuclear ambassadors, he adds, African students can gain more knowledge to implement in their native countries.
Тhis July Bertha Mumba from Zambia graduated from Moscow Engineering Physics Institute with the engineering degree in nuclear energy. Bertha confessed that she didn’t know much about nuclear technology before coming to Russia: “The only nuclear item I’ve known were nuclear bombs. When I heard the news that Zambia had decided to go nuclear, I was concerned, and I had to do some research on the subject. That’s when I discovered that nuclear technology is much more than most people realise”. Applicants from all over the world choose Russian technical universities due to the high quality of education and great career prospects. Other advantages of studying in Russia include the affordable cost of education, the possibility of studying in English and the availability of dual degree programs, when a student receives a diploma with both a Russian and a foreign university.
As for the nuclear education, the programs include not only nuclear energy, but also various non-energy applications of nuclear technology including agriculture, healthcare, transportation, water resources and the environment protection. Nuclear is environmentally friendly, stresses Prince Asabi Boakye. This fundamental idea gave him a good assurance to support the nuclear education for Africans. “My native country has started to build up a lot of factories, and most of them need high electric power for operation. Nuclear energy has been the country’s choice. It is therefore prudent to promote nuclear education in order for it to be accepted by many citizens when the main project commences”, – says the Nuclear Education Ambassador from Ghana.
It is our responsibility as project participants to spread the word about the benefits of nuclear technology, adds his colleague from Zambia Bertha Mumba. Early identification of Ebola in Africa is aided by nuclear tools, as she reminds, and now scientists use nuclear technology to study and handle environmental challenges such as climate change more efficiently. It can also aid in the detection of contamination in marine waters and the fight against ocean acidification. Russian nuclear education will give a student a variety of real-world skills, summarises Bertha. “Ask questions to learn more about nuclear power and what it entails, – she recommends. – Participate in group meetings, discuss ideas and communicate with other participants. Never stop learning and having a good time”.