A teacher about the transition of universities to remote work: “Organizing quality education is a problem”

Everyone was waiting for this, many were afraid of it – and it happened: students are switching to distance learning until February 6, 2021. This is reported by the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation. Until the end of the second semester, students of Russian universities subordinate to this department will study remotely. Universities in Moscow and St. Petersburg are switching exclusively to distance learning, universities in other regions are advised to organize distance learning in agreement with the territorial Rospotrebnadzor.

Still, distance learning is not as painful for higher education institutions as it is for schools.

Also, the ministry recommends providing social support measures for students. Earlier, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin has already announced that students of city universities and colleges are switching to distance learning, their transport cards will be temporarily blocked. But it is known that the parental community of Moscow began to protest against the removal of schoolchildren, which, in their opinion, harms the education of their children.

Literature teacher and educational blogger Maria Kucherova, who deals with the problems of the Unified State Exam and universities, expressed her opinion to MK:

– I can comment on this news as the mother of two students who graduated from bachelor’s degree last academic year and entered magistracy in the summer, it is clear that the situation this year is somewhat different. I watched how it looks from the outside, how they studied remotely, how they wrote their thesis … In the same way, they passed state exams and defended their diplomas. In principle, I don’t see anything tragic in this. Just as a human being, in a philistine way, I would be scared to get on a plane, knowing that the pilot graduated from his university remotely, thus passing exams. It is not very clear to me how doctors can be remotely certified, and in general in such professions that require the personal presence of students at the exam so that teachers can assess the quality of their knowledge. It is a big problem for universities to organize real quality education in such a situation. Although, in general, I don’t see anything wrong with getting higher education online. The world’s top universities have their lectures freely available. I think this is the future of higher education. But in order to do this efficiently, you need to have special resources and build the entire infrastructure of the university at the required level.

I understand parents who raise questions about reducing the cost of education in universities, if their children are taught remotely. And this confirms that they doubt the quality of this education format.

It is important to take into account that there is a fundamental difference in the quality of distance education in secondary schools and universities. In secondary school, it is a disaster, because children, due to their age and psychophysical abilities, are not able to acquire as much knowledge as in full-time studies. As for higher educational institutions, normal, motivated university students who understand why they are studying, if they, especially, with great difficulty entered the budget, and will study well at a distance. The situation with secondary education is different: if the distance format lasts a long time, the level of education will fall. As a teacher who has worked at school for many years, I am convinced of this. Distance is not so painful for higher education.