Vladimir Putin held a videoconference on the situation in the education system amidst the coronavirus epidemic, presidential web page reports.
The current situation, he noted, offers “unique experience which should help boost quality, make education more accessible and develop advanced online education technologies. This will enable students, no matter where they live, to listen to lectures and lessons by leading teachers. Besides, teachers will be able to work individually with the students who need additional support. In this connection, it is necessary to develop the modern IT infrastructure in the field of education, including the installation of broadband Internet at schools,” since “Digitalization and telecommunications are a source of incredible opportunities.”
Yet “rumors and false claims that online education will completely replace and supersede in-person classes and that conventional schools and universities will be closed are blatant provocation,” he said. The goal should be “making free higher education more accessible, first of all, in the regions that are short of highly skilled specialists. But young people must also have other opportunities to receive education, including by paying for it with an educational loan on the easiest possible terms. In this context, it is mandatory to find ways of reducing the interest rate on educational loans from the current rate of over 8% to 3%, to extend the term for repaying such loans and to increase tax deductions during their repayment.”