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It will be very easy to write off or use a hint at a distant session

It is already obvious that due to the coronavirus pandemic, the autumn session at universities, like the previous spring session, will also be held online. As the teachers told us on condition of anonymity, they are preparing ahead of time for large expenditures on the purchase of hardware, software and platforms necessary for remote admission of exams, and also anticipate blunders in student responses that have arisen due to cheating and prompts.

Who are Herzon and Odarev

Exam exam, of course, strife. For example, exams in special courses and other subjects of specialization for senior students are easy: there are not so many who pass, and all of them are known to the department as flaky. So everything, according to the teachers, here everything is done “without children’s tricks and evasions.”

A different matter is exams in the so-called general courses, which are listened to by all students, but only a dozen of them from a stream of 120-150 people are needed for future specialization. Such a course is usually taken by a lecturer who not only does not even vaguely represent the potential of each student, but the vast majority of students do not know by sight. This is where the fun begins.

According to the rules, before the online exam, the student, of course, presents a document confirming his identity. For example, a student card. But the quality of the connection does not allow us to identify with certainty who entered the exam. And this creates the basis for a variety of combinations, such as the formation of a pool of “specialists” to pass one or another exam. Students, whatever one may say, are smart people, moreover, they are distinguished by a heightened sense of mutual assistance.

Another session life hack is cheating, the possibilities of which online mode, of course, almost tenfold. How the half-hour preparation for the answers to the ticket is going, teachers often do not see. Yes, this, in truth, is not so important, because later, when answering, the examiner sees only the student’s face and part of the table. What lies (or who stands, sits) on the side of the computer, no one except the examinee knows. And it can be anything – from a tablet with an answer to the corresponding request on the Internet, to a prompter competent in the question that has fallen out.

True, with oral answers, an experienced teacher will easily catch the student cheating or prompting: just a couple of questions about the course – and it’s in the bag. But written tests are another matter. Moreover, a number of universities officially allow you to take exams (and not current, but even additional entrance tests) … with headphones! And such a fortune, you see, is a sin not to use it. And many do use it.

Who, for example, in your opinion, are Herzon and Odarev mentioned in one of the examination papers? Hedgehog is clear: Herzen and Ogarev, it’s just that the author of the answer heard the “specialist” prompt in the headphones. And how to explain the statement in another work that “Zinovye and Kamenev have lost their tails?” It’s very simple: they dictated not “tails”, but “posts”, and the person misheard even in the simplicity of his soul, or, perhaps, in the heat of the examination fervor, without thinking, and blurted out in response, as he imagined.

You can laugh at student jokes as much as you like. But the fact that the teachers were thrown into the session, like into a loophole, without any support, is not at all funny. Neither connection to paid platforms, allowing long and high-quality communication with students online, nor payment for Internet traffic, much less providing computers with all the necessary bells and whistles, such as video cameras – the teachers received none of this! They promised to help only in one case. True, they refused to issue a computer for the duration of the session. But from their generosity they promised to bring a package of buckwheat or toilet paper. And this is an unprecedented case of the university’s desire to help its teacher.

“In general, distance education is such a sluggish catastrophe,” summed up the co-chairman of the University Solidarity trade union, Andronik Arutyunov. – The assimilation of information by students has dropped significantly, the quality of education has correspondingly collapsed to the bottom. It is a waste of time to conduct a session in such conditions: it is clear that the level of students’ understanding of the material will be extremely low. There are several problems at once. First, these are the fundamental limitations of the format of distance education itself. It is simply impossible to tell many things like that. Secondly, distance learning requires a completely different format of training by teachers, and very specific skills. Teachers often simply do not possess such skills, and even without that, having an exorbitant workload, starting to spend 1.5-2 times more time on preparing for classes does not at all contribute to improving the quality of teaching. Thirdly, many teachers are simply not provided with the necessary equipment: a tablet, a webcam, light, high-quality Internet. Well, those who are provided for – mainly at their own expense. In general, you need to be aware that today’s students, especially first-year students, will have an education much lower than our average (already not brilliant) level.

A revolution awaits the registry office: it will be possible to divorce anywhere

The opportunity to divorce or register the birth of a child anywhere in the country without reference to the place of residence may appear in the near future. The Ministry of Justice has started to prepare the corresponding bill.

Until now, an application was only allowed at the place of registration.

As explained in the Ministry of Justice, it is proposed to establish an extraterritorial principle for the provision of services for registration of acts of civil status. It means the opportunity for citizens to apply to the registry office for a certificate of birth, death or divorce in any region. The authors of the amendments noted that now this principle only works in relation to the registration of marriage. That is, you can play a wedding hundreds of kilometers from home. But in order to get rid of annoying family ties, according to the current law, you must go either to your hometown, or contact the registry office at the place of registration of your spouse. Another option is to get divorced at the same registration department where the marriage was concluded. The same rules apply to newborns: you can register a baby at the registry office either at the place of his birth or at the place of residence of one of the parents. This procedure creates inconveniences, first of all, for those who do not live by registration. According to the Ministry of Justice, the new rules will make the services of government agencies more accessible to the population. To implement the innovation, all the work of the registry offices is planned to be transferred to the electronic space – to the “cloud” unified register of civil status records. The software required for this is already running. The data in the database will be stored centrally. An employee of any registry office department will be able to connect to the system and register an application for divorce, registration of birth or death. According to the same scheme, it will be possible to obtain a duplicate of the certificate if the document, for example, is suddenly lost on a trip. Moreover, the developers are planning to create personal accounts for citizens, which will make it possible at any time to print the necessary document or certificate about themselves or their minor children.

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.

Removed from the law: parents fear online will destroy traditional schools

The number of parents opposing online education is growing rapidly in the country. Adults are afraid that the distance in schools can be introduced on an ongoing basis, and the coronavirus pandemic only accelerates the digitalization of education previously planned by the authorities.

These fears are not unfounded. On November 18, the State Duma will consider a bill on distance education in Russia. The State Duma Committee on Education and Science recommended the document for adoption in the first reading. The new law will define the powers of the Ministry of Education and Science and the Ministry of Education in terms of regulating the procedure for using e-learning and distance technologies in educational institutions.

The State Duma was recommended to approve the bill on distance education

In recent weeks, protests against remote control have been taking place in different regions of Russia. Parents are organizing large-scale flash mobs against remote removal on social networks, boycotting online classes for whole classes and collecting signatures under appeals to the authorities. Despite accusations of COVID dissidence, the movement is gathering more and more supporters. We found out what really drives adults to demand to return their children to school, despite the threat of coronavirus infection.

“The fight against remoteness is not a story at all about COVID, but about the large-scale destruction of Russian education that has been happening in the last 15-20 years,” says Ekaterina, an opponent of remote control from Yekaterinburg. – Plans for large-scale digitalization of schools appeared among officials 10 years ago, the pandemic only accelerated these processes. The experiment on the implementation of the Digital educational environment, which started in the fall in 15 regions of the country without parental consent, was approved by the former Minister of Education Olga Vasilyeva at the end of 2019. In federal projects for the development of education for the coming years, it is stated in plain text that by 2024 at least 70% of schools must implement education in electronic form. All of these goals were set long before the pandemic. We do not deny that distance can be used as a temporary measure in emergency situations, as well as on an ongoing basis with parental consent. Of course, electronic technology is essential for learning, for example, for children with disabilities who are unable to attend school. However, we do not want an equal sign between the distance and the point.

Parents are outraged and surprised that while the doors of public schools, circles and sections have closed for children, private educational organizations continue to work safely. It comes to the ridiculous, in the same sports center, children cannot be engaged in budgetary sections, but they can do it in paid ones. It turns out that full-time education is now available only to those who can pay?

“In recent years, parents and teachers have already lost in the struggle for education in all positions,” says Alena, mother of a 7th grade student from St. Petersburg. – We could not fight off, including from the Unified State Exam, from the introduction of low-quality textbooks instead of time-tested manuals, every year the quality of education decreases. If we keep quiet, then just as quietly in a few years we may face the fact that free classes will be held only at a distance, and we will have to pay for full-time classes. The maintenance of educational institutions is very expensive for the state, and the general retirement may well solve this problem. We see this threat as real, in this regard, we demand to legalize distance learning as one of the forms of education that can be used only at the request of parents or in the event of an emergency that applies to all schools, both public and private. Now we are faced with the fact that directors of educational institutions, in response to our complaints, declare that teaching with the use of distance learning technologies is equivalent to full-time. The teacher, on the other hand, conducts classes in real time, which, they say, you still need.

In the meantime, many children have already had health problems in online education. In addition, the distance has hurt the socialization of schoolchildren, and a prolonged lack of normal communication can turn into very long-term consequences for some children.

“Young people today have spent too much time in the virtual world even without remote control,” says another parent, Natalya. – Many teenagers no longer really go for a walk, but communicate with friends only on social networks. And this is a serious social problem that distance learning only exacerbates. My 9th-grader daughter has been studying online for a month now, the circle she went to does not work, as a result, it is no longer possible to drag her out even to the street to walk with the dog. But what can we say, even convincing to wear normal clothes instead of pajamas does not always work. Many children started having health problems in the spring: their eyesight falls, their head and back hurt, their sleep is disturbed, and some children have apathy and depression. So it turns out that the authorities, while fighting one threat, create another one for children, possibly even greater, the consequences of which we, parents, will have to clear up.

See also: “The psychologist explained how not to quarrel with a teenage child in quarantine”