BHOS organizes webinar on topic 'Higher Education and Research in the Post-COVID Period'

Baku, April 21, AZERTAC

The Ministry of Education of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Baku Higher Oil School and the Black Sea Universities Network jointly held a webinar on the topic "Higher Education and Research in the Post-COVID Period".

Minister of Education of the Republic of Azerbaijan Emin Amrullayev, Rector of Baku Higher Oil School Elmar Gasimov, Minister of Education of Romania Sorin Mihai Cimpeanu, Rector of the Azerbaijan State University of Economics Adalat Muradov, and Secretary General of the Black Sea Universities Network Eden Mamut delivered keynote speeches at the webinar.

The event was attended by about three hundred teachers and students from universities in Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Ukraine, Georgia and Albania.

At the opening ceremony of the webinar, Rector of Baku Higher Oil School Elmar Gasimov said that in addition to the adaptation of universities to the pandemic period, additional funds were used to purchase digital technologies and software.

“Serious psychological barriers were removed, and exchange programs and international scientific conferences were suspended. Thanks to the selfless work of teachers and education managers, this period became successful for education in general, since the continuity of the education process was ensured. I think that it is necessary to discuss the state of the educational process, as well as issues related to laboratory studies and exams. First, technical problems should be eliminated, students and teachers should be provided with technical means and psychological services. It is known that today online education has become an alternative to traditional education, which means that online education is competing with classical university education."

Elmar Gasimov stressed the need to improve the modern technological skills of teachers, students and employers in the post-pandemic period. He noted that this is dictated by the challenges of our time.

In his speech, Education Minister Emin Amrullayev noted that education should continue, despite the fact that there is serious uncertainty in the world today.

“We cannot stop the development of human capital during this period. Systems that quickly adapt to conditions can learn more under these conditions. During the pandemic, the Ministry of Education ensured the participation of more than 1 million students and more than 100,000 teachers in the educational process through a single electronic platform. The number of online sessions organized in one week exceeded 6 million. My point is that the pandemic also opens up new opportunities for us."

The minister noted that the main goals and objectives of education have not changed during this period.

“We must provide the highest quality education. Higher education is a fairly regulated area. It poses for us questions related to government orders, state pensions, accreditation of higher education institutions, determining the number of places, studying and analyzing the problems arising from the differences between hybrid and traditional programs. We need to determine how many hours of study were lost during the pandemic. If lost, how much is lost and how can we regain them? We need to think about such questions."

Emin Amrullayev said that the issue of transition to distance education in the post-pandemic period was considered by many, adding that distance education is a very important phenomenon, but everyone should think about in which direction the content of education will change.

“The pandemic has shown that the skill set that was previously considered essential needs to be updated”.

He stressed that the issue of financing and general management of higher education should be on the agenda: "The higher education system of the country is a fairly regulated sphere."

“We face significant challenges in assessing student performance. There will be opportunities to look at the assessment process from in a new perspective. ”

The minister noted that the social and psychological well-being of students is also an important issue, and that a completely new environment of social communication and social cooperation has emerged.

“Therefore, the issue of intersection of the socio-psychological status of students with educational potential should be considered,” he said.

Rector of the Azerbaijan State University of Economics Adalat Muradov said that it is necessary to ensure the introduction of distance education.

“The use of new technologies in education, as in all spheres, is inevitable. The question of whether to apply or not to apply distance education should not be a subject of discussion. We need to think about the quality of distance education. Because this is already reality. However, while distance learning contributes to the development of education, it poses serious challenges to the development of universities. Thus, distance education overshadowed the importance of scientific research, as if universities had reverted to the eighteenth century model. I think that distance education research and the private university model are one of the challenges that need to be addressed in the post-pandemic period. ”

Noting the need to adapt online courses to the national higher education system, the rector added that these courses do not interfere with the desire of young people to study abroad.

Secretary General of the Black Sea Universities Network Eden Mamut also stressed the importance of using all available opportunities and mobilizing all material and spiritual resources to ensure the continuity and sustainability of education during a pandemic.

“The new type of coronavirus made it necessary to update distance learning in a short time and implement projects through electronic media and the Internet. As the Black Sea Universities Network, we try to keep up with this trend."

Panel speakers at the webinar were President of UNICA, Prof. Luciano Saso; President of the Black Sea Universities Network, Pericles A. Mitkas; Professor at Petroleum & Gas University of Ploiești (Romania), Dinu Florinel; Professor at Medical University of Varna, Todorka Kostadinova.

The speakers noted that the current impossibility of conducting traditional education has a psychological impact on the educational community as a whole and creates certain problems in the field of education. They also spoke about the opportunities that distance learning opens up.

Participants of the event also discussed the use of distance education, including the development of rules for it and the measures that need to be taken to improve its effectiveness.

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