Conference “Russian-French Partnership: Digital Transformation and Innovative Educational Technologies”

October 26, 2018


On October 25, 2018 in Russian Spiritual and Cultural Center in Paris on the quay Branli in Paris started its work annual international conference devoted to cooperation in the sphere of education. This conference already became a traditional meeting of experts, it is organized for the third time. The title of the conference is «Russian-French partnership: digital transformation and innovative educational technologies». It is evident that it is devoted to the new realities of university life. The conference was organized by IPACS in cooperation with International Association of university professors and associate professors under UNESCO (IAUPL) and with support of Embassy of Russia in France and of Embassy of France in Russia.

Rector of RANEPA Vladimir Mau addressing to all participants and guests emphasized  the significance and symbolism of the conference and of the place of its realization for the organizers: «In history of RANEPA as well as in history of Russian center in Paris will remain the fact, that our conference organized in October 2016 was the first event conducted in the recently  opened center».  He thanked Ministry of science and higher education and Shivleta Taguirova, chief of the project office of priority project «Export of Russian education». Despite present changes in the sphere of education linked with acceleration of life rhythm, expansion of new technologies, emergence of new professions and disappearance of the old ones, the value of fundamental education grows. Universities also are being transformed, today it is impossible to imagine them without academic cooperation, common researches, conferences, student exchanges, common programs with leading European and world  scientific and educational centers. «We believe that growing export of national higher education in digital epoch, intensifying of university contacts will contribute to efficient political, economic and humanitarian cooperation of Russia and France», pointed out Vladimir Mau and declared opening of the conference.
Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Russian Federation to France Alexey Meshkov said that to organize such a conference is not easy but to transform it into regular event with constantly growing audience needs a big work. Such contacts represent an important contribution to dynamic development of Russian – French cooperation in educational sphere. Our two countries, said Ambassador, «signed more than 500 agreements, more than 170 joint programs in which participate more than 5000 students are elaborated and being realized. France is the third country in the world in terms of number of coauthors of scientific articles with Russian citizens». In the 2015 an Agreement on mutual recognition of educational standards, diplomas, qualifications and scientific degrees was signed, in May 2018 a concrete plan of development of student mobility and education was signed. An important place in this cooperation has Russian – French network-university; this project is open for new partners. Digital elements are actively used in many programs, that is why the theme of the conference is vitally important.
Maxim Safonov, vice-president of Russian Academy of science read an address of the president of RAS Alexander Sergeyev in which was also emphasized significance of the theme chosen for discussion and problems of cooperation between[К1]  universities in the process of cadre formation for contemporary economy and science.
Michel Gue, Secretary General of International association of university professors and associate professors (IAUPL) under UNESCO in his address presented by Oleg Kurbatov, associate professor of University Paris-13 CEPN, described science as a universal language of humankind. M.Gue defined  it «a treasure which we need to preserve» and called to cooperate for realization of this goal. Digital revolution, in his opinion, is a challenge for different countries and civilizations, it demands from all of us to remember the value of knowledge and to work for its permanent growth.
Director of IPACS Igor Barcic pointed out the importance of contacts between Russia and France in educational sphere. This cooperation is characterized by the volume of common work: the quantity of double diploma programs is constantly growing, the content of educational modules is coordinated, students and professors learn and work in universities of country-partner. An important part in this process belongs to opportunities opened by new technologies. University is an environment of socialization and formation of an adult person. Students wait from teacher, professor unexpected and even surprising information. That is because the role of a teacher in any contemporary educational process remains irreplaceable.
Rector of RANEPA Vladimir Mau said that today students study not only for obtaining diploma as a formal sign of graduation, but for increase of their qualification, for becoming more competitive and getting new knowledge. New knowledge is necessary not only in your profession, today many successful specialists work in spheres not linked directly to their main profession. So, in opinion of Vladimir Mau, it is senseless to predict emergence of new concrete professions in future, we should rather speak about permanent education. It must include obligatory elements, as the course of the history of CPSU in the Soviet Union or as English – present day Latin – now. Digital literacy should be must know in education. RANEPA will make broader digital space and develop programmed digital education for all specializations and types of main education.
Shivleta Taguirova said that digitalization erase boundaries in educational sphere. Market of education is characterized by high competition, the fifth place in national budget belongs to education. Countries exporting education can attract more talents to economy. Russia is interested in development of export potential of its educational sphere. Business is also interested in attraction of foreign students. In this context we develop a priority project «Development of export potential of Russian educational system» the main goal of which is the growth of non-raw material export from Russia. The profit of national economy would increase according to evaluations 4,5 times. The project is being realized in cooperation with Consortium of higher education organizations including 40 members.
Tierry Garreau, the President of Digital University AUNEGE, emphasized the significance of knowledge diffusion for all sectors of population. From this point of view very important are open educational resources, which emerged 20 years ago when the state began to create virtual digital campuses for distant education. They transformed later into thematic digital universities. It is necessary to continue development of open educational resources, to attract more users. Making easier the process of transition from high school to higher education should be among national priorities. Several important points need to be enumerated: development of courses/programs for bachelors; creation of instruments and technologies for more efficient education in bachelaureate; monitoring of  information technologies to implement the most suitable of them into educational process; involvement into this process new groups of population. To solve those problems the improving of contacts between higher education organizations accompanied by preserving of their distinctiveness is necessary.
Ervann Tyson, director of research in Sapientia institute, thinks that we should understand what basic features will have a world in future and we need to put human being into the center of the digital space. Such an approach directly links producers and consumers, as a result we observe radical changes – uberization of all sectors of economy. In this context sphere of education changes very slowly as if it was in stagnation. But we need changes for survival. Digital approach opens new opportunities: frontiers become less important, differences between the capital and province gradually disappear, access to most complete and valuable sources of information, to libraries becomes possible for all. Motivation of students change, digitalization puts a student into the center of pedagogical process. Students are motivated not only to absorb information but to understand its relation to practice. Possibility to study for persons of various ages emerges as well as opportunity to change firstly acquired qualification. Education becomes cheaper, universities decrease circulation of paper documents and administrative expenditures. Prestige of education should increase when universities will be attested through system knowledge quality and depth verification system.
Jean-Francois Fiorina from the School of management of Grenoble supported this idea. In his opinion   business schools should guarantee the quality of education and contribute to the growth of it. New technologies should be accompanied by skilled teacher whose duty is not only the process of teaching but also active research. Results of research should be implemented in economy in start-up form. J.-F.Fiorina discussed also the change in approach to partnership – it combines now cooperation and competition and this change will result in growth of education quality.
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