Professor Yevgeny Bely: "Provincial universities have become a haven for C students"

Professor Yevgeny Bely: "Provincial universities have become a haven for C students"

Professor Yevgeny Bely: "Provincial universities have become a haven for C students"
Interview

16 November, 17:41
Photo: 1mi
The author of the popular TG channel about science, UlGU professor Yevgeny Bely, was given a choice: delete the channel and not write anything about the Ministry of Education, or quit.

The scientist chose a channel. History is actively discussed in the academic and TG-communities. NI talked to the scientist about the conflict with the leadership and the crisis in education.

Alexander Dybin

The author of the channel "Science and Universities" (20 thousand subscribers) Yevgeny Bely, who worked as the director of the Institute of Economics and Business of Ulyanovsk State University, spoke about the situation. On November 15, he published a post that he was called by the rector and asked to stop running a popular channel.

“The first time about personal. During these two years, the author of the channel has never voiced his affiliation with the university where he had the honor to serve, guided by the principle that subscribers should not identify the principles, thoughts and ideas of the author of the channel with the organization in which he works, - the scientist wrote, - however names will have to be revealed today. A banal thing happened: about a month ago, the rector of Ulyanovsk State University, Boris Mikhailovich Kostishko, invited the author of these lines, who at that time worked as the director of the Institute of Economics and Business, and said that the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation allegedly did not like both individual posts and the Science and Universities channel itself ”, whose author’s point of view on the debatable problems of higher education does not always coincide with the official position of the ministry".

This publication was reposted by several popular channels, it has already gained 100 thousand views, and the scandalous situation is being discussed in the university community.

I had three options - the scientist told Novye Izvestia - the first was to close the channel. But I didn't even want to discuss it. These are the last two years of my life. And although I defended my doctoral dissertation, I have about a dozen textbooks published, but I consider the channel my main achievement of the last two years. I work in the provinces, on the periphery, where it is difficult to get insider information. But the channel entered the top three on the topic of higher education. Couldn't refuse it. The second option, which the rector offered me, is not to write badly about members of the government and the Ministry of Education and Science. I asked what to write? Press releases? He said, you can dilute with something of your own, but positive. Now, when the education system is in a state of crisis, writing that everything is fine is not self-respecting. And the third option is to quit. It was possible not to quit, but to try to work, while writing things that do not always suit the authorities. But every time it will be some kind of conflict. We have 2,500 students at the institute, 50 teachers, all the time you need to contact the rector, and if the relationship is confrontational, then it is difficult. That's why I made this decision.

Евгений Белый
Photo:ulsu.ru

What is your plan, what do you want to do now? Will you look for a new job, or will you focus on the telegram channel?

I am 67 years old, I have a channel, and I do not hide the fact that it is monetized. I'm self-employed, paying ad taxes. I have a pension. In addition, I was previously ordered texts, but I refused, because I did not have time. But now I am restoring these ties.

How did your students and colleagues react to the situation?

Students, in my opinion, it is not very interesting. Most of my colleagues, I hope, support me in their hearts. But scary. We have a provincial town, 2-3 universities. If you ruin your relationship with management, there is nowhere to go. Now they write to me, they express sympathy, support, but they try not to advertise their position.

You said that education is in crisis, how do you see it?

It seems to me that there is a certain split among universities. There is a group of top universities that are doing well: big competitions, good students, excellent funding. And there is a large group of mostly provincial universities. Where there are big shortfalls, especially the last two years. For technical specialties, for example, additional sets were announced: they take almost everyone in a row from the street, including those who are not always trained and who want to study. Low salaries lead to the fact that staff leave. Some leave for capitals or metropolitan areas. Or go into business. You will not find young IT teachers in regional universities, they are all in business. Teaching is supported by veterans. Teachers of financial and economic disciplines also go into commerce. I sometimes joke that the teaching staff is a contingent for the welfare service. In our country, 45-year-olds are considered young teachers. The contingent is aging, but there is no inflow. The salary of an associate professor in Ulyanovsk is 30-40 thousand. If earlier a university career was a goal, to enter graduate school, defend a dissertation, earn normal money, live decently ... now this is not the case.

The problem is the unfair distribution of resources?

This is only part of the problem. Higher education ceases to be a place of attraction for both young teachers and young people in general. I'm talking now, of course, about the regions. Over the past two years, more people have been going to colleges than to universities. I interpret this as a crisis. Young people want to become independent faster, it takes a long time at the university, but here, after two or three years, I got a profession and a salary. Secondly - the exam. They go to colleges to bypass the exam. Thirdly, the college provides a lot of fashionable professions that guarantee employment, the same IT specialties, creative industries, entertainment industry. Two years, and you have a diploma, and a good job.

Over the past few years, there has been such a discourse that we need working specialties, that we don’t have to go to universities, that we have too many lawyers and economists. Has this trend affected the interest of young people in higher education? And how does this fit in with another task: the revival of the engineering school, import substitution, etc.?

The country has set a course for technological independence, engineers and technical personnel are needed. How do they solve the problem? Increase the number of budget places in the relevant specialties. Increased - good, but everything else has not changed. It's a long system of preparation from school. The guys are not ready to take physics, mathematics and go to these specialties. For the past two years, it has been clear in advance that there will be a shortage in these specialties, because there were fewer children who signed up for the USE in specialized mathematics than there were state-funded places. These are all engineering, economic specialties. A shortage is obviously programmed. And if they could not get it right away, then they announce an additional set. They take those who did not enter somewhere, want to hide from the army, who need a hostel, in general, people who solve their own problems. Someone's parents drove to the university so that he would not run down the street with a stick. And universities, I note, only partly, turn into such lockers. I barely scored 40 points - this is the threshold for admission - and they gladly take it. They even persuade, call, say: come to us. And such a failed young man, whose knowledge is three-plus, begins to choose where he will go to study.

What impact will the abandonment of the Bologna system have in this situation?

Frankly speaking, this is a political declaration. We practically did not have the Bologna system. This is not only a level system: bachelor's and master's degrees. This is academic mobility, when students can study at universities in different countries. This is a credit system, when students take courses for themselves, including at different universities. We introduced only bachelor's and master's degrees, and announced that we have the Bologna system. And now we refuse it. We didn't give up specialization. He was in many specialties. Now the proposed bill proposes to make the specialty a separate level of education. So we basically did. His share will increase. We had a hybrid system, and now it will be the same, but the terms in this sum will be changed. More specialty, less bachelor's degree.

Now there is a lot of talk about technological independence, are you from within the education system, do you see movement towards it?

This is a very long process. The country does not have a lot of things, for example, scientific equipment, instrumentation, consumables base. It needs to be re-created. It will not be possible to announce here and in a year or two or three everything will be fine. This is all very long. But it is important that the realization of this is coming, the realization of where we are lagging behind and by how much. The directions of movement are visible, but, I repeat, there can be no fast movement. The country does not have the resources and potential of scientific personnel. This is a long and painstaking work: training of personnel, development of technologies, creation of our own instrument-making program.

How do you look at the boom in the educational business, when people, bypassing official state education, get professions in a short time?

In principle, higher education can be good, or it can be hacky. So short programs can be from infogypsies. But there are also professional platforms, schools that give short programs. And statistics show that people after them are perfectly employed and work. There are positions where higher education is necessary, but there are also areas where a person can feel great even without a diploma. I'm fine with that if it's well done.

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