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17 January 2013

MESI held the round table on Smart society

Participants of the round table «Project of SMART-Russia: philosophy, methodology, technologies» discussed the ways of creation Smart society and role of education in this process.

The meeting organized by Moscow State University of Economics, Statistics and Informatics, took place on January 17, as part of Gaidar Forum 2013 “Russia and the World: Challenges of Integration”.

«Smart is change of social paradigm», explained Vladimir Tikhomirov, MESI research advisor , at the beginning of discussion. Philosophy of new society implies generation of new ideas, knowledge and intellectual capital by people who are specially trained for realization and maintaining these processes. “Development of the modern society is based on person lifeware and on might of modern technology”, stated Valery Ivanov, rector of International Academy of Business and New Technologies, from Yaroslavl. At the present time elements of Smart region are extensively projected in the city. Republic of Bashkortostan shaped the same course: intelligent system of public illumination, navigation satellite system GLONASS, Smart system in ecology are effectually in operation.

However these are only the first fruits. The problems of Smart society aren’t discussed on a broad scale in Russia while, for example, the Netherlands, Australia, Korea consider Smart as national idea and main political issue. Sphere of IT creates infrastructure for Smart society, thus instigates development in this direction. “Information technology may become an engine for the whole economy”, laid emphasis Ildar Yamalov, deputy minister of communications and mass media in Republic of Bashkortostan.

Another principal source of changes is educational system. Association of European Universities has already come forward with strategic initiative “Smart people for Smart development”. Experience of such countries as Sweden and Finland shows that investment in science and education provide with high development results. “In our country demand for education is out of all proportion to the supply”, considers Dmitry Sharonov, head of IT Agency in Republic of Bashkortostan. Increasingly frequently it’s possible to hear that e-learning is able to satisfy growing educational requirements to the full extent.

Professor Tikhomirov states some figures. In 2011 e-learning was global industry with turnover of 7 trillion dollars. Average volume growth in this field for 2013-2018 is projected to be 25% per annum. Valentin Garkusha, CEO of  Virtual technologies in Education, announced results of the researches, according to which  current market volume of educational services at university level provided by distant educational technologies in Russia is about 8 billion rubles. Potential market of e-learning in universities (without services in sphere of further vocational education) is evaluated in 130-150 billion rubles.

Currently in Russia about 70 among 1155 universities excluding branches of universities have implemented technologies of online education and practice e-learning; about 500 universities declare mostly unofficial practice of online education. Adoption of changes in Federal law in 2011 became a significant step in e-learning development in our country. These changes regulate practice of electronic technologies and electronic mode of study. Certain positive changes were mentioned in new edit of the law. 

Last document provoked lots of disputes. Oleg Smolin, First Deputy Chairman of The State Duma Committee for Education and Science mentioned that the law will reduce of 700 thousand state-funded students in the next five years. Whether this and other steps will allow making transition from the new law on education to the new law on e-learning industry in our country is a matter of time, undertaking by citizens need for implementation of innovations and common efforts of all educational community.

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