University of the 21st Century in the System of Continuing Education Conference Held at SUSU

On October 11th and 12th, the 4th International Research and Practical Conference on University of the 21st Century in the System of Continuing Education was held at South Ural State University. The SUSU Institute of Supplementary Education acted as the organiser.

The goal of the conference was to broaden international and interdisciplinary partnership among teachers, researchers, and organisers of the education system in continuing education through exchanging opinions and discussing global and individual problems in continuing education.

Rector of South Ural State University Aleksandr Shestakov greeted the conference participants.

“Today, our country faces certain challenges: training workers of new qualifications and developing high-tech industries, which will increase labour productivity. Education is one of the main factors which makes it possible to solve these tasks. At the same time, more and more attention is being paid to online education and open online courses using new virtual technologies. This trend, of which we are a part today, also relates to continuing and supplementary education.

Work is close to completion regarding the development of professional standards which will determine the needs of employers in one direction or the other. If we speak of university standards of education, they do not match the professional standards very well. There is a gap between university education and the understanding of what industries and employers need. Therefore, supplementary education is a very important component, which allows people who are responsible for training future workers to implement it namely in the required field and with the necessary level of quality.

At the conference serious and interesting issues are discussed. I hope that as a result of this discussion, we can come to a conclusion which will allow us to improve the quality of supplementary education and attract more people who wish to improve their professional qualifications according to the needs of the time.”

On the first day of the conference, guests delivered their presentations on the most important topics. Deputy Director of the SUSU Institute of Engineering and Technology Igor Schurov spoke on Project-based Education – System-forming Idea for Continuing Education in Engineering in Universities, where he offered simple examples to show the importance of continuing education. Deputy Director of the SUSU Institute of Supplementary Education Irina Kotlyarova spoke on Project Transformation of Continuing Supplementary Education at SUSU, and explained why exactly project-based training is the link between students and the university. Professor of the Department of Education and Psychology of the Chelyabinsk State Institute of Culture, Gulsina Grevtseva delivered a presentation on Personality Development in the University System of Continuing Education, and proved that modern students simply cannot do without project-based education. Associate Professor of the Department of Economics and Economic Security of the Institute of Economics and Management at Ural State Forest Engineering University in Yekaterinburg Nikolay Molchanov spoke on Social and Rehabilitation Function of a University in the Context of Modern Russia, and touched upon important and complex issues of educating the today’s youth.

“This conference has been held for 4 years in a row, and since we are speaking of continuing education, the topics we are discussing are very important today in many spheres of life. The speed at which knowledge is updated is such that university graduates who come to work must immediately improve their qualifications according to the requirements of the professional standards for their job positions. So it is necessary to form the ability to study over the period of many years already at a young age,” said Director of the Institute of Supplementary Education Irina Voloshina.

In the first day of the conference, the organisers held two teleconferences on “Professional Standards – a New View of Qualification Standards. Cancelling the Qualification Requirements of the USSR Period and those of the Russian Federation Period” and “National System of Qualifications in Russia”.

The organisers opened sessions for participants of the conference to discuss the mission of the university in the continuing education system, issues of improving specialist training for important fields of research and technological development of the Russian Federation, the structuring of supplementary professional education based on project fields for university transformation, and preparing research and teaching staff for design and analytical work for university transformation.

The attendees also analysed issues related to digital transformation, social partnerships between universities and employers in educational and methodological support, and problems related to the unique features of methods and forms of organisation in continuing professional education.

On the second day of the conference, a master class was offered by Associate Professor of the SUSU Department of Modern Languages Irina Kolegova on Academic Technologies in Digital Space. Within this meeting, there was also a teleconference with the Head of the Department of Education, Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Education of the University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice (Czech Republic) Miroslav Prokhazka on Acmeological Approach to the Personality of the Teacher in Adult Education. The speaker talked about the possibilities for supplementary education for teachers using examples from Czech universities and answered many questions from audience members at SUSU.

ISE Director Irina Voloshina noted the importance of both holding conferences and supporting relationships with international universities around the world.

“More than 8 countries participated in the conference. This speaks of the popularity of our forum and the demand for the topic of continuing education.”

Following the conference results, the collected papers were published, included in the RSCI, and a resolution was adopted.

The event was held with support from the Union of Heads of Organisations and Departments of Continuing Vocational Education and Employers, Council of Rectors of the Ural Federal District, Association of Engineering Education of Russia, and University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice (Czech Republic).

Marina Kovyazina, photos by Oleg Igoshin
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