HSE Rector assessed the transition of universities to distance learning

Russian universities are switching to remote operation until February 6, 2021 – the corresponding order of the Ministry of Education and Science was issued. Universities in Moscow and St. Petersburg are switching exclusively to remote education, other regions were recommended to organize remote training in agreement with the local Rospotrebnadzor.

This, as expected, caused a new surge of feelings and anxieties on the part of students and their parents. However, most experts believe that the distance for universities is not too critical in terms of the quality of education. Although later it will cause certain difficulties with employment for the graduates of this “year of the crown”.

Graduates of the

– The education system copes with quarantine restrictions in different ways, but overall it is very good. Russia is among the leading countries, our educational system functions in the current difficult conditions even better than the European one, there many institutions have closed altogether, ” says the rector of the Higher School of Economics Yaroslav Kuzminov… – If we take the university system, then 20% of educational institutions have retained full-time education in full, 20% de facto switched to correspondence education, and 60% had both.

Now, when the remote control system has “covered” everyone, Kuzminov sees no reason for particular concern.

– Distant education is an absolutely traditional education, it is simply implemented remotely, – he says. – The quality of the distant depends on two factors: how stable the communication channels are and what devices the listeners have.

The first plus is that a number of innovations have appeared in education in terms of the remote learning format, the labor market has expanded, the level of the teaching staff has sharply increased: we, for example, have Western and Chinese professors who remotely teach classes and participate in scientific seminars. Moscow is doing the same in relation to the regions.

Second, it became possible to organize courses for several universities at once, and these classes can also be broadcast. People who are motivated do study in universities, they do not need to be carried away by digital technologies, they do not need to be monitored in detail. Universities are smoothly moving to digital, but in schools, of course, the situation is much more complicated.

– But can distance learning in medicine be successful?

– A pure distance in medicine is bad, and bad in geology, and in some other areas. Obviously, there are things tied to real processes of the physical plane.

– Can you now say what the specialists will be after the distance learning format?

– The same as before. It all depends not on whether it is a conference seminar or a live seminar, but on who the seminar is with. Depends on the quality of the admission of students to the university, what are the scientific and project results of its teacher. There is no need to be afraid of this.

Kuzminov also noted that this year’s graduates entering the labor market will be the hardest hit by the pandemic – he calls them the “crown class”. But there are those who will win – due to the “pandemic” consequences, the demand for IT specialists, business analysts, marketers, communications specialists, online education and doctors will increase.

But the hardest thing, of course, is for students and teachers of those universities where many practical classes are provided – creative and sports.

“Now our educational organizations have already switched to distance learning,” the Ministry of Sports told MK. – This is the Russian State University of Physical Culture, Sports and Tourism (Moscow), NSU im. P.F. Lesgaft (St. Petersburg), Siberian State University of Physical Culture and Sports (Omsk), etc.

Since the period of spring restrictions, sports universities have seriously advanced in distance technologies, new educational and methodological materials have been developed, online communication between teachers and students has been organized using various platforms.

But, of course, professional education in the field of sports requires a significant amount of practical training. Therefore, the timetables of the educational process are being corrected – during the period of lifting restrictions, first of all, practical training of students is carried out.

Practical exercises can also be carried out in the video conferencing mode, for example, depending on the type of sport, you can study the technique of physical exercises or their elements, exercise complexes for physical training, etc.

However, we have yet to evaluate the results of a sharp decline in the share of classroom studies, because in the last academic year there were students who had already mastered most of the program.

As for creative universities subordinate to the Ministry of Culture, by order of the Minister of 11.11.2020, they are allowed to leave individual and small-group face-to-face studies.

– There is the so-called process of continuous casting of steel – that is, a process that can neither be interrupted nor suspended, – the rector of the State Institute of Theater Arts explained to MK Grigory Zaslavsky… – The same can be said about the development of acting, musical or ballet training. In these areas, a stop is disastrous, so we are very grateful to Minister Olga Lyubimova for the opportunity to study with students individually or in groups of 5-6 people.