The Chinese-Russian Forum of Higher Pedagogical Educational Institutions was created recently by the leaders of pedagogical universities of both countries. Russia was represented by delegates from Universities in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Novosibirsk, Chelyabinsk Universities, whereas China – by delegates from Universities in Beijing, Shanghai, Wuhan, Xian, Changchun, Chongqing, Xuzhou.
The two-day forum was focused on problems and perspectives of educational development in digital society. On the first day the participants were developing the consensus on the future collaboration prospects in the field of teachers’ training and science.
The plenary session was opened by MPGU Rector’s A.V. Lubkov’s speech. Rector emphasized the enormous impact of the Chinese Revolution on the development of China other countries. Transition toward digitalization is a global process that should be taken into consideration and analyzed. Russian and Chinese pedagogical universities understand the importance of technological impact on educational systems and have gained experience in development of educational programs and educational environment. The most important factor, however, is students’ training since they are the ones who are going to use the new technology in the future. At the same time, technology, as Rector pointed out, should not overshadow the role of a pedagogue in the educational process.
In his report Rector also outlined the strategy of Russian educational development introduced in the presidential decree “On the national aims and strategic goals of the Russian Federation for the period until 2024” dated May 7, 2018. The two main strategic goals mentioned in the decree are the following: strengthening the competitiveness of Russian education on the global stage — Russia should enter the top-10 of leading countries in the field of general education and bringing up balanced and socially responsible students on the basis of the Russian traditional moral values.
The Director of the Department of International Exchanges and Cooperation of Bejing Normal University Cheng Hong Guang made a speech “The Strategy of education development in the People’s Republic of China”. Mr. Cheng said that the state developed a program of improving educational quality for the period until 2024. He also emphasized the problems characteristic for the system of education — big workload, long hours spent on homework and extracurricular education. He gave recommendations based on the monitoring results for improving quality of school education. The educational system, according to Mr. Cheng, should provide holistic approach to personal development, incorporate cultural training and development of practical skills and reducing the student workload, balance the relationship between schools and commercial organizations and assist in improving parenting.
Igor Remorenko, Rector of Moscow City University elaborated on the process of educational digitalization and the experience his University acquired. According to Mr. Remorenko, one of the most hotly debated topics is the issue of open digital lectures. Should their popularity be encouraged? Critics believe that one of the repercussions of the digitalization may be gradual disappearance of personal communication, i.e. dialogue. On the other hand, Mr. Remorenko argues, digital lectures are nonetheless necessary as they allow a teacher to create a closer interaction with students. As a result, the routine lectures are posted online, whereas lively discussions still take place in the classrooms.
Huang Zhong Huai briefly outlined the history of educational digitalization in China. In the 2000s China enforced school computerization and popularization of school education. Between 2000 and 2010 90% of schools in the country accessed the Internet. The government decided to make computers easily accessible to every family – it is no accident that Chinese companies are major players on the global IT-market. The second stage of school computerization started in the 2010s when two national digital platforms began to execute students’ requests – a process which facilitated teachers’ and students’ information search and increased the number of online students. The government also presented a number of innovations in the educational system, such as robotization, virtual reality classrooms and research on application of intelligent systems and artificial intelligence.
In summing up the plenary session, the First Vice-Rector, Victor Dronov, stated that a human being no longer changes digital environment, but, rather, is changed by it.