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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”.

Foreign students of domestic universities demanded to let them into Russia

On Sunday, it became known that foreign students turned to the International Committee for the Defense of Human Rights with a request to allow them to return to Russia for further education. About 2 thousand students complained about the low quality of distance learning, as well as problems with the Internet in their countries. Some students said that they were forcibly sent on academic leave, while others are in danger of being expelled because of not passed workshops. The students themselves told us about what is actually happening with the education of foreign students in Russian universities.

Ivan Melnikov, vice-president of the Russian branch of the International Committee for the Protection of Human Rights, sent an appeal to Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova, in which he asked to help foreign students of Russian universities return to Russia. We found out what problems foreign students faced.

The mother of a student of the Faculty of Chemistry of St. Petersburg State University from Lithuania said that due to the impossibility of entering Russia, the whole group of her daughter is preparing for expulsion:

“In one of the disciplines, in order to get admission to the exam, you need to perform a certain amount of laboratory work and protect their protocols,” the woman explained. – It is impossible to do this without personal presence. No workshop – no exam.

Najibullo, a resident of the Novosibirsk State Medical University from Tajikistan, told MK that before the start of the school year, they were offered to either take an academic leave with the transfer of paid tuition fees to the next year, or study remotely. The young man chose the second option, but last week at the university he was informed that if he does not appear at the educational institution until February, he will be sent on academic leave automatically.

Student of the Academy. Maimonida Artur Nikulin from Ukraine is studying piano solo under the Rossotrudnichestvo quota. The young man believes that his rights have been violated, since the education of foreign students according to the corresponding quota involves only full-time education.

“Playing the piano is primarily the art of touching the keys and the art of hearing and listening to the sound produced from the instrument. Naturally, such skills simply cannot be transmitted over the Internet. It is very important here to be in the same classroom with the professor, to play the instrument for him “live” and to get skills from him. Well, and the Rossotrudnichestvo quota that I received does not initially provide for any other training, except full-time, this is spelled out in the decree of the Government of the Russian Federation on training quotas for foreign citizens. That is, my rights to receive the education that I counted on when submitting documents for this quota are being violated, ”explained Artur.

Some foreign students do not have the opportunity to study remotely in their country due to problems with the Internet. Munisa, a 4th year student of the Moscow State Geological Institute from Tajikistan, told MK that she could not attend remote classes for a month. The problem is that the internet is very weak in the country, and electricity is cut off every day. Now the girl is trying to obtain an individual permit to enter the Russian Federation.

Otar, a master’s student of the Don State Technical University from Georgia, also speaks about the impossibility of attending online lectures due to the weak Internet. Like many foreign students, Otar is ready to take on all the costs associated with entering the Russian Federation under quarantine measures.

“In all letters sent to the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the administration, I note that I am ready to undergo a 14-day isolation, followed by a PCR test for coronavirus. That is, I will not occupy a place in the so-called observatory, but I will go to my apartment and isolate myself. Even if after my arrival distance learning will be continued, in Russia the Internet is of better quality and distance learning from Russia will be easier, ”he explained.

“I am a first-year student at the Krasnoyarsk State Medical University named after Professor Voino-Yasenetsky. I am in a desperate situation. Tuition per year is $ 3500. I cannot study remotely in my country, as there is no normal communication. In addition, I need to be present at laboratory classes, to practice skills. I bought a month ago irrevocably tickets worth more than $ 500, but I have no guarantees that they will let me into the Russian Federation. I have a certificate that I have had a coronavirus infection. I am ready to fulfill all the requirements of Rospotrebnadzor, undergo observation at my own expense, pass two tests and sign an agreement for treatment at my own expense, in case of infection with coronavirus, says another foreign student Arina from Uzbekistan.

Many foreign students did not expect at all that after the summer holidays they would not be able to return to Russia; here they had almost all their personal belongings, paid rented apartments.

For example, a student at the Faculty of Arts of St. Petersburg State University from Ukraine said that in St. Petersburg she had most of the things and materials for teaching, as well as a rented apartment, for which she had to pay.

– I had to give up the apartment, my friends took my things for a while, the girl says. – Distance learning at the university is doing well, but the problem is that practical classes are held in person, and I do not get to them. In addition, the faculty hosts a variety of events and exhibitions. Without practice, I become uncompetitive. In addition, I do not even have the opportunity to draw attention to my problem of entering the Russian Federation, since in Ukraine for this you can bring trouble on yourself and your family.

A student of the law faculty of UNN from Moldova in the hostel still has all the winter clothes, the girl simply does not have money to buy a new wardrobe.

“Coming home for the holidays, I didn’t plan to stay here and didn’t take warm clothes with me, so all winter clothes remained in the hostel. In my country, the temperature is already below zero, but I don’t have warm clothes, and there is no opportunity to buy a new wardrobe. Another big problem is that I do not have all the educational materials with me, and I cannot find them on the Internet, because many Russian sites are closed with us. As a result, it turns out that I simply do not have the opportunity to study, “the student explained.

The Ministry of Education and Science “MK” was informed that no applications from students in connection with expulsion due to absence from the classroom were received by the department.

“Budget-funded places in universities will be reserved for students who, due to quarantine measures, cannot enter Russia and are experiencing difficulties due to insufficiently good communication quality. The Ministry of Education and Science of Russia is in constant contact with the leadership of universities and interested federal bodies, as well as student associations. There were no deductions for foreign students in connection with the transition to distance learning. In addition, we inform you that the Ministry of Education and Science of Russia has developed recommendations for universities for the effective organization of distance learning. To assist in organizing distance learning, the Ministry of Education and Science, together with Rossotrudnichestvo, is working on the issue of providing foreign students with jobs in Rossotrudnichestvo offices and branches of Russian universities at their place of residence, ”the press service said.

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.

St. Petersburg University students were forced to study in person, frightening with a tag in their diploma

On November 11, the Ministry of Education and Science published an order, according to which all universities in Moscow and St. Petersburg, which are subordinate to the department, must switch to distance learning by February 6. Meanwhile, most of the students of the St. Petersburg Mining University still continue to study in full-time format. At the same time, the rector of the university announced to the students that there is no coronavirus epidemic in the city.

Students were allowed to switch to an individual plan with remote classes at their own request. However, no one is in a hurry to do this, since all the remote workers will have a mark in their diplomas that some of the subjects were listened to only in theory. Subsequently, such a label can cause problems with employment.

The rector said that there is no epidemic in the city

On November 13, Moscow and St. Petersburg universities, subordinate to the Ministry of Education, switched to distance learning, but students of the Mining University in St. Petersburg continue to attend classes. Students of the university and their parents tried to knock on all authorities in order to achieve the transition to remote work, but in a week the situation did not get off the ground.

– On November 14 we had a meeting with the rector Vladimir Litvinenko, says second-year student Alexander. – He said in plain text that there is no epidemic in the city, movements are not limited, so nothing interferes with full-time study.

To numerous requests from students and parents for transferring to a remote location, the rector replies that all security measures at the university are observed. In fact, even the temperature at the entrance is measured every other time, many do not wear masks, there is a crush in the wardrobe, some of the students come to classes with obvious signs of SARS.

Two of our teachers have already died from coronavirus in the fall, students become infected with the virus every week, while classmates in contact with them continue to attend classes. We have already applied to all authorities, including Governor Beglov and the Ministry of Education and Science, but nothing has changed. Although, of course, there are students among us who are quite satisfied with the preservation of full-time education.

Officially, the management of the Mining University suggested that all students who do not want to study full-time in the current situation should switch to an individual training plan. The problem is that the rector announced that in the supplements to the diploma, students who have chosen this format will have a note stating that they have completed only a theoretical course in a number of subjects. At the same time, in the future, this may affect employment, since in the engineering field of activity specialists with practical skills are valued.

“It is this mark in the diploma that stops many students from switching to an individual plan,” says Maxim, a 4th year teacher. – In addition, in this case, you will need to leave the hostel within 3 days.

On the one hand, I understand the rector’s desire to keep the full-time format, because we have a lot of practical classes. But, on the other hand, there is an official order and its implementation is important, including for the health of teachers, among whom there are many elderly people.

The problem, apparently, is also that the university does not have a normal distance learning base, and nothing has changed over the summer. In the spring, we did not have full-fledged remote classes, the teachers simply sent assignments, and we did them ourselves, we did not receive a response from some teachers for weeks.

The press service of the Ministry of Education and Science confirmed to us that they are aware of the problem, now work is underway to resolve it, following which the issue of possible sanctions against the educational institution will be decided.

“The Ministry of Education and Science of Russia and the hotline of the Situation Center of the Ministry of Education and Science of Russia receive applications from students of the St. Petersburg Mining University regarding the transfer of students to distance learning in accordance with the order.

In order to objectively and comprehensively consider applications, the Ministry sent a request to the University to provide information on the transfer of students to distance learning, as well as regulatory documents governing this process.

After receiving and considering the official response of the University, as well as the analysis of the regulatory documents of the Ministry of Education and Science of Russia, if necessary, measures will be taken to comply with the order of November 11, 2020 No. 1402 “On measures to reduce the risks of the spread of a new coronavirus infection in educational institutions of higher education” – explained “MK” in the department.