Korovy Val Moscow, Russia – Monday 23rd August 2021– His Excellency Ambassador Mohamed Yongawo, together with Embassy staff, has engaged some Sierra Leonean students who were given Russian Scholarships before COVID-19 halted international travelling in 2020.
The 61 students were awarded scholarships to pursue different courses at various Universities in the Russian Federation.
The meeting, which was organised by the Embassy in collaboration with the Ministry of Technical and Higher Education discussed other pertinent issues with the students who are eagerly waiting for the Russian Federation to open her borders to foreign students.
Ambassador Yongawo used the occasion to introduce Mission Staff and Mr. Idrissa Sannoh, Students’ Secretary at the Ministry of Technical and Higher Education.
In his welcome address, Ambassador Yongawo started by thanking His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio and his government, for giving the students the golden opportunity to further their studies abroad. The ambassador added that the New Direction government prioritises Human Capital Development including Education, which is key.
HE Ambassador Yongawo further informed the students that the Embassy and government of Sierra Leone have been engaging Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to consider permitting Sierra Leonean students to travel to Russia and commence their studies.
Ambassador Yongawo advised: “I have good news for you. It was on Friday that the Ministry of Education and some international organisations appealed to the Russian Federation to open her borders to foreign students and the Government of Russia has accepted and will soon publish regulations as to how this is going to take effect and when that is done, I am very confident you will hear from us very soon”, he noted.
HE Yongawo continued: “I have engaged you all today just to let you know that we are doing our best as an Embassy to have you in Russia, and to assure you all and your family members that as a government our priority is providing quality education for all Sierra Leoneans. I have given similar assurances in a meeting with students who are currently studying in Russia and accredited countries”.
The Diplomat further informed the students that when he assumed office as Ambassador in the Russian Federation and its 16 accredited countries, he met only 37 students studying in Russia but with his efforts, the Government of Sierra Leone under H.E Bio and with support from the Mission staff Sierra Leone can now boast of a much larger number of students studying in Russia. “And upon your arrival in the Russian Federation, that total number is going to be even higher”, he affirmed.
The Ambassador ended by admonishing the students to be very serious about their online classes and to also learn the basic Russian language now that they all have time to do so.
Mrs. Wulaimatu Conteh, who is the First Secretary at the Mission, started by acknowledging the efforts that have been made by Ambassador Yongawo, the Embassy and the Ministry of Higher Education, to see Sierra Leonean students in the Federation pursue their courses as online lectures are not enough especially for medical and engineering students.
She told the students that her office doors are always open to them at all times to respond to their needs and concerns relating to their courses.
Minister Counsellor and Head of Chancery Mr. Dennis E. Nicol, admonished the students to continue their online classes and get themselves prepared because at any time soon they will be in Russia to further their studies.
On his part, Mr. Idrissa Sannoh who is the Students’ Secretary at the Ministry of Technical and Education, applauded Ambassador Yongawo and his team at the Embassy for such a brilliant initiative to engage the students back home as they have been anxiously waiting to hear from the Ambassador himself and to assure them of their travel to Russia to pursue their studies in the Federation.
Mr. Sannoh ended by thanking Ambassador Yongawo for his exemplary leadership, and for creating an enabling environment for his fellow countrymen to gain access into the various Universities. He also thanked the Minister of Higher and Technical Education Professor Alpha T. Wurie and his Deputy Mr. Sajoh Aziz Kamara for their continued support to the students.
He called on the students to feel free to always contact him at anytime for clarifications about their courses.
There are four batches of students in Freetown and all of them have got their leaders including Mohamed Nuyabah, Amara King Kamara, Ibrahim Koroma and Abubakarr K. Bombay.
The various student leaders, who spoke on behalf of their colleagues, appealed to Ambassador Yongawo to continue lobbying with the Russian authorities to facilitate their travelling.
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Festus J. Lahai
Moscow, Russian Federation