Post-COVID-19 Higher Education: Going Online, Internationalization, International Cooperation
Tashkent, Uzbekistan (UzDaily.com) - At the initiative of the Embassy of Uzbekistan in the Kingdom of Belgium, with the support and participation of the Ministry of Higher and Secondary Specialized Education of the Republic of Uzbekistan, as well as the Modern Education & Research Institute (Belgium), a multilateral dialogue “Higher education after COVID -19: transition to online, internationalization, international cooperation” was held.
University leaders from the USA, Latvia, Great Britain, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan discussed the challenges facing the education system globally due to the conoravirus pandemic, and exchanged best practices for managing universities and ensuring a continuous educational process in turbulent times.
The discussion was attended by 465 people - the management and teaching staff of higher educational institutions. Another 160 people followed the broadcast of the conference live on the Youtube channel of the Modern Education & Research Institute.
Opening the conference, Ambassador of the Republic of Uzbekistan to the Kingdom of Belgium Dilyor Khakimov emphasized the importance of holding such multilateral dialogues to promote interaction between universities in Uzbekistan and the European Union.
Deputy Minister of Higher and Secondary Specialized Education of the Republic of Uzbekistan Uzokboy Shoimkulovich Begimkulov spoke about the country’s successful transition to online education with financial support from the World Bank and expressed the hope that the conference will give an impetus to improving the quality of online teaching.
Ekaterina Tsaranok, Director of the Modern Education & Research Institute, informed the present heads of universities about the possibilities of improving the qualifications of the teaching staff on the basis of MERI and highlighted the human factor, that is, the teacher’s understanding of the dynamics of the development of higher education and society as a whole, his competence and knowledge, as a key condition for a successful transition to the use of technology and the introduction of innovations in the educational process.
In his speech, the President of the World Executive Education Institute (USA) Linye Zanadu drew the audience’s attention to the main factors that contribute to the successful integration of Eastern universities into international academic processes: flexibility and innovation. He shared the results of his research on new formats for exporting educational services from eastern universities to western markets, which have already led universities in Russia, China and Malaysia to high positions in world academic rankings.
Irina Sennikova, Rector of the Higher School of Business, Arts and Technology “RISEBA” (Latvia), shared the success factors of RISEBA’s transition to online education, as well as her experience in preparing teachers and students for change. Ms. Sennikova spoke about the benefits of Latvia for teaching international students and on the priorities of international cooperation of their university. A roadmap was given for those universities in Central Asia that want to develop cooperation with the Baltic states. In her opinion, universities around the world will have to get used to the “new normal” - “new normalcy” in the field of international academic interaction.
Anna Saltykova, Chairman of the Board of EKA University of Applied Sciences, Member of the Board of Alberta College (Latvia), began her speech by expressing hope for an early end to the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic and a return to the previous pace and volume of international cooperation. According to Ms Saltykova, one of the key conditions for success in crisis management in the academic environment is the creation of strategic partnerships with reliable and mutually compatible educational institutions around the world.
Yulia Matskevich, Member of the Organizing Committee of the #EUvsVIRUS Initiative of the European Commission, Manager for the Development of Scientific and Academic Cooperation, Brunel University (UK), spoke about the opportunities and benefits for academic partners from participating in such innovative events as hackathons and machatons, on the basis of which a large the number of academic consurtiums for solving urgent problems. According to her, such formats of international cooperation in the academic environment will become even more popular after the pandemic.
Based on the results of the conference, it was decided to sign a Memorandum of Cooperation between the Ministry of Higher and Secondary Specialized Education of the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Modern Education & Research Institute, as well as to conduct joint training programs for administration and university teachers on the basis of European and American universities participating in the dialogue.