Polytechnic University at the 8th International University Forum “Global Competitiveness”
On September 30, Moscow hosted the 8th International University Forum “Global Competitiveness”, organized by the RAEX ranking agency (“RAEX-Analytica”). More than 300 delegates took part in the forum: heads of leading universities in Russia, representatives of appropriate departments, members of the international association IREG Observatory, ranking compilers, representatives of the academic and expert community, and employer companies. SPbPU Rector of SPbPU, Academician of the RAS Andrei RUDSKOI took part in the plenary discussion on the topic “New global challenges for universities: post-crisis development”, via video conference. Vice-Rector for Educational Activities of SPbPU Elena RAZINKINA made a presentation at the section devoted to the influence of information technology on the competitiveness of universities; it was also broadcast in an online format. Head of the Department of Strategic Planning and Development Programs of SPbPU Maria VRUBLEVSKAYA and Director of the Center for Analytics and Development Programs Anna MAZURENKO took full-time part in the forum.
The main topic of the forum was the future of education after the pandemic. The organizers explain that it has become a catalyst for changes in the global scientific and educational market. Due to epidemic restrictions, 2020 was marked by a decrease in international mobility and an increase in the impact of information technology on the competitiveness of universities. The current situation demanded that Russian universities respond to new challenges in education, science, and interaction with society. Universities were forced to fundamentally restructure and transfer training to a distance format. At the same time, leaders from the top 20 RAEX ranking coped with the situation much more successfully than most of other participants.
Forum participants tried to find answers to questions about how the pandemic will affect international scientific cooperation, whether the digital inequality will lead to a redistribution in higher education, what will be the balance between traditional education and online learning, what digital technologies will enter the daily educational practice of universities, what are the key trends will shape the competitiveness of universities after the pandemic ends? Also, the forum presented the RAEX-100 ranking of the best universities in Russia, which is an authoritative benchmark for universities, applicants, employers and the expert community.
SPbPU Rector, Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences Andrei RUDSKOI spoke to the academic community and, in particular, noted that Polytechnic University is actively developing the niche of online courses, since the creation and placement of high-quality massive open online courses (MOOCs) on the Open Education National Portal and the international platform Coursera provides for the ability to position your best experience. “During the period of forced quarantine and an emergency transition to distance learning in the spring of 2020, we painlessly transferred more than 34 thousand students to online education and helped 80 Russian universities organize their educational process, opening free access to more than a hundred of our online courses,” the rector commented on the groundwork in online education available at Polytechnic University. Andrei Rudskoi also voiced his opinion on what changes the system of criteria for global rankings needs for a more accurate assessment of scientific activity, and what exactly SPbPU is ready to do to help improve the quality of education in the regions. With regard to the last issue, the rector spoke in detail about the mirror engineering centers (ZIC), which act as a tool for the transfer of knowledge and competencies of Polytechnic University for regional sites, on methodological assistance and providing access to best practices online, as well as replicating advanced educational programs (for the last two years, Polytechnic University acts as a methodological center for the creation of 30 advanced educational programs that have no analogues in the system of Russian higher education). Academician RUDSKOI previously answered many questions raised during the plenary session of the forum in a large interview with RAEX, and also analyzed the trends that determine the present and future of Russian higher education.
Participants of the “Impact of Information Technologies on the Competitiveness of Universities section” recalled with what “baggage” the universities had met the forced transfer of processes online, discussed how to make educational content interesting and communication convenient, and how information technologies changed the requirements for scientific and pedagogical workers. Elena RAZINKINA, SPbPU Vice-Rector for Educational Activities, spoke about how the university was switching to a distance format, in particular, practice-oriented learning, what difficulties it faced, and analyzed what lessons of the “stress test” presented by the pandemic the university would take with it into the future.
As part of the forum, the 9th annual ranking of the leading Russian universities compiled by the RAEX agency was presented. SPbPU ranks among the best Russian universities and ranks 8th in the RAEX-100 ranking. Based on the results of the ranking, an award ceremony was held for higher educational institutions and persons who made significant contributions to the development of education in Russia. This year, Polytechnic University won in the “International Integration” nomination. Commenting on this high result, Vice Rector for International Affairs D.G. ARSENYEV, recalled that over the past decade, Polytechnic University has demonstrated stable dynamics in the development of international relations with the world’s leading universities and technology companies. And in the context of a global pandemic, it continues not only to maintain, but also to increase the results of cooperation with foreign colleagues. “Polytechnic University has a strong partner network and is able to work effectively in the face of new challenges,” the vice-rector is sure. “We are implementing research projects under the BRICS and cross-border cooperation programs, as well as several large international grants with colleagues from Belgium, China, India, and Germany. Participating in large international consortia, Polytechnic University develops digital technologies and uses cutting-edge trends in online education. Thanks to new technologies for promoting educational programs, this year we managed to keep the contingent of foreign students at the level of 20%. All work was done online: advertising on portals and social networks, webinars, and exhibitions, receiving documents, and conducting exams. Albeit on virtual stands, Polytechnic University continues to participate in major international exhibitions and forums, and organizes such events on its own. With the participation of foreign partners from all over the world, this summer we successfully held the International Polytechnic Summer School and, even in a pandemic, brought together more than 300 foreign students on its virtual platform. We have the 2nd Russian-Spanish Week of Language and Culture ahead of us, which Polytechnic University is preparing jointly with the University of Cadiz, as well as the International Student Project Marathon, to which colleagues from Austria, Spain and Brazil will join this year. All this is possible thanks to our rich international experience of working with various research teams and active communication with foreign partners.”
The fact that Polytechnic University understands and is trying to follow the global trend of increasing internationalization and international integration of research activities, which are becoming the leading competitive advantages of world-class universities, was also pointed out by Maria VRUBLEVSKAYA, Head of the Strategic Planning and Development Programs Department of SPbPU. “As for the forum as a whole, it once again demonstrated that honest open discussion of common painful issues by the top management of universities allows drawing conclusions about their own mistakes in work, and also stimulates the exchange of real best practices, and, ultimately, cooperation between universities” the expert summed up.
Expert RA (RAEX) is the largest international ranking agency in Russia with a 19-year history. Expert RA (RAEX) is a leader in ranking and research and communication activities. To date, the Agency has assigned over 700 individual rankings. This is the 1st place and about 42% of the total number of rankings assigned in Russia, 1st place in the number of rankings of banks, insurance and leasing companies, NPFs, microfinance organizations, guarantee funds and companies in the non-financial sector. RAEX is the first organization in Russia and the fourth in the world, whose university rankings have successfully passed the international audit by IREG Observatory, the most influential association of compilers and consumers of educational rankings.
Prepared by the SPbPU Public Relations Office