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The lawyer called the reason for the recalculation of fees for online education of students

By filing lawsuits due to the transfer of the educational process to the online mode, students, on average, demand a 15-25% reduction in tuition fees. Unofficially, universities recognize the validity of these requirements. But they have no money, and therefore they will be able to recalculate only if they receive a state subsidy for this. The state, as stated by the head of the All-Russian Student Union, Oleg Tsapko, “shifted all the costs of distance learning to universities, and those to students – the most vulnerable participants in the educational process.”

On average, prices should be reduced by 15-25%, they believe

Dissatisfaction with the quality of education after the transition of universities to distance learning, according to Tsapko, is total in nature: “I personally have not met students satisfied with the distance! All paid students have complaints about the quality of online education, of whom today are almost 60% of the total student body. Somewhere students complained that they could only watch video lectures, and when they sent assignments to teachers, they were never answered.

And, say, at the St. Petersburg University of Water Transport. Makarov did not have classes at all for the entire spring semester. And the parents are perplexed: why do they spend their mother capital on this !? People pay and do not understand for what, and after all, prices reach 300 thousand rubles. in the semester! “

The reasons for recalculating the cost of training with the transition of universities to distance learning, according to Tsapko, are more than weighty. This is a change in the form of presentation of material, and an almost complete curtailment of the socio-cultural activities of universities, and the freezing of the work of university libraries, laboratories and research centers. But all this was included in the initial cost of training.

Almost everyone is talking about the decline in the quality of online learning. For many years, universities have spent a lot of money on supporting distance learning tools. And when it came, it became clear: at best, students can rely on text materials. And no interactivity. Almost anywhere! But there are a lot of stories, like with that old professor who lectured in front of a black computer screen for two academic hours, but no one heard the lecture, because he pressed the wrong button …

In this situation, students believe, it would be fair to reduce tuition fees by 20-30%, and where there were no classes at all – perhaps by 80%, or even 100%. Indeed: what to pay for if the university has stopped classes?

It is noteworthy that many universities, according to Tsapko, “also do not want to shift everything to students. Many teachers and even rectors-pro-rectors admit the validity of the requirements. But universities have no money to return them. Moreover, many of them had to pay extra for the work of teachers, who, with the transition to online, began to work twice or three times more. Therefore, funds for recalculation of universities should be given by the state – grants or subsidies. This is not a lot of money, but it could support education. And without state subsidies, universities will fight to the last to avoid recalculation.

Alas, the state is showing a tendency to distribute subsidies, Tsapko stated:

– The position of the Ministry of Education and Science is that in order to reduce prices, it is necessary to prove that the quality of education has decreased. This suggests the expectation that cases in the courts will get bogged down in papers and court hearings, and that students cannot afford quality expertise, which costs hundreds of thousands of rubles. Thus, in fact, the state shifted all costs to universities, and those to students – the most vulnerable participants in the educational process.

However, there is a chance to win the recalculation lawsuits, assured Florence Lenskaya, a lawyer representing the interests of students.

– The presentation of materials and the form of interaction between teachers and students have changed significantly. In addition, due to the unpreparedness of teachers for online learning, the quality of the presentation has decreased. The form of training has changed. This means that the terms of the previously concluded agreement have changed, which, in accordance with Article 453 of the Civil Code, is a reason for revising the cost of education. And there is no need to prove any decrease in the level of education. By the way, the state has already provided financial support to business. Now we need to support universities. Otherwise, to paraphrase the classics, we will get the formula “Onlineization of students’ helplessness = collapse of Russian education”.

Students will be denied recalculation of tuition fees due to distance learning

After the decision of the Ministry of Education and Science to extend distance learning in universities until February 6 of next year, the number of students ready to sue over the reduction of tuition fees, which has finally turned from full-time to distance learning, began to grow by leaps and bounds. The movement took on a distinctly mass character. However, apparently, students will not achieve their goal, and universities will not return their money.

Students’ dissatisfaction with the quality of distance education imposed on them at the whim of the coronavirus has led to massive individual and class-action lawsuits by students against higher education institutions refusing to lower tuition fees in connection with the transition to distance learning.

There is no official data on the number of claims filed. But it is already known that following the students of the capital’s universities led by the RANEPA or, say, the Moscow State Pedagogical University, the regions led by the students of NovSU moved into the battle to reduce tuition fees. This movement, which quickly became widespread, has already received the support of the Ombudsman for Human Rights in Russia, Tatyana Moskalkova, who announced the need to recalculate the previous cost of full-time education in universities to the current one, for a distance learning format. However, there seems to be no other support for students.

The fact that the students’ demands were not supported by the Association “Global Universities” is quite expected. “The costs of universities for online are three times higher than the savings from switching to distance”, – said representatives of the elite of domestic higher education, expressing at the same time “concern about the discussion in the media of the quality of implementation of educational programs at a distance.”

According to the members of the Association, “the use of distance educational technologies by universities is fully consistent with the current law“ On Education ”and does not indicate that they have unilaterally changed the agreement on the provision of educational services. At the same time, practice shows that in some cases the intensity of the educational process increases, and the number of hours that teachers and students spend in contact is increasing. ” Universities, on the other hand, “bear an additional financial burden, solving the issues of providing students and teachers with technical communications and software. On average in Russia, the growth in university costs in the spring semester was about three times higher than their forced savings on premises and reduced academic mobility. ” In short, there will be no recalculation, do not hope – this is the bottom line.

As it turned out, the head of the Education Commission of the Scientific Council under the Presidium of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Ombudsman for Education, Amet Volodarsky, also thinks:

– Requirements for recalculation are a wrong move, caused by the fact that the children do not imagine the mechanism of work of universities. It would be correct to talk not about recalculating prices, but about improving the quality of distance learning! The main part of the expenses of the universities falls on the salaries of teachers and maintenance of premises. And these items of expenditure with the transition to telecommuting have not gone anywhere.

Even the first deputy chairman of the State Duma Committee on Education and Science, Oleg Smolin, did not support the idea of ​​a net reduction in the cost of training. True, unlike other opponents, with some nuances:

– As King Solomon would say, both are right. Nowadays, as a rule, distance lectures are ordinary lectures given in Zuma, and therefore are worse perceived. Preparing real distance lectures is an extremely time-consuming thing: one hour of a lecture of this kind requires 25 hours of preparation. And no one pays extra for this. In such a situation, it would be right for the state to provide financial support to both students and teachers. As President Putin recently announced, about 14 trillion rubles have now accumulated in the Russian stabilization fund. As you know, these funds are kept there in case of a crisis. But this is exactly the situation now! So it’s time to use these funds, – the deputy believes.

The idea, of course, is a good one. But it’s hard to believe in its implementation.