Albert Gilmutdinov: “We are not putting groups into quarantine”
Interview with the rector of the Kazan National Research Technical University named after A.N. Tupolev (KNRTU-KAI) about the impact of COVID-19 on the university's work and the return of state-funded places for studying economics
The enrollment campaign 2020 at the KNITU-KAI is considered to be successful despite the pandemic. This Kazan University received students from all over the country, as well as from Egypt, Morocco and Colombia. However, some of the newly minted students are still studying in distance mode due to closed borders. How coronavirus has dropped the entry average, where students are isolated with suspicion of Covid-19, and how much the state-funded enrollment 2021 will grow — read in the interview of Realnoe Vremya with Albert Gilmutdinov.
“32 students and lecturers under supervision”
Mr Gilmutdinov, could you tell us how the situation with the coronavirus affected the work of KNITU-KAI?
We are not putting groups into quarantine so far. After all, the most important thing is to detect and isolate them in time. To do this, we use standard measures — a separate entrance and a separate exit. Always at the entrance to each building — automatic temperature control, and if you go without a mask — it automatically warns — please put on a mask.
Automation is duplicated by a person — he manually checks the monitor. And if it turns out that someone with a fever — they immediately call a doctor. We have our own doctors. They receive a person, and then — the act depending on the situation. We have a lot of halls of residence, too. That is, a large number of students in small areas are localised. This is also an additional measure of responsibility for the university and all measures are being taken there. For students with suspicion of Covid-19, we have the entire block of our dispensary.
And there are sick people in the halls of residence?
There are, of course. At our university, so far 32 people are being under supervision. This is the total number of employees and students. I don't know who has Covid-19, and who has just viral respiratory infection. The situation with diagnoses is being difficult.
We switched to a remote format for streaming lectures when more than 50 people gather in one hall. All the remaining lessons in groups are on the schedule
How many people are ill?
There are difficulties with diagnoses. There are few with confirmed COVID-19. Thank God everyone is alive. But the situation is tense. Therefore, being inside the premises of the university is allowed only in masks. We switched to a remote format for streaming lectures when more than 50 people gather in one hall. All remaining classes in groups go according to the schedule — laboratory works, practical work, seminars.
In October, the university announced a return to distance learning, but a couple of days later cancelled this measure — why?
Yes, we prepared such order, but we didn't even have time to put it into effect. As we prepared it, we gave an announcement, so not to cause panic among people. And the situation was the following: in two small groups, there was a suspicion of Covid-19. But as soon as the test results were ready, it turned out to be a common viral respiratory infection, which means there is no reason to take extreme measures.
40% of foreigners at KAI are still learning remotely
How did the pandemic situation affect the enrollemnt campaign?
Of course, it has affected us. We received 99,9% of applications online, and only a small part of students came to submit their own documents. Therefore, it was not possible to contact them directly. And all the work was done online, which had a very significant impact.
Nevertheless, in general, the enrollment campaign was very successful for the university. Despite that the founders have been increasing the number of state-funded places every year for the last 5-6 years.
Most of our new places are in aviation specialties, in addition to materials science and composite materials technology, technosphere security and IT technology
What about foreign students — after all, the borders were closed?
Yes, there were difficulties. Some of our students could not even fly home. But in the summer it all resolved. . As a result, we received applicants from Colombia, Egypt, Algeria, Ecuador, and Morocco. Moldova, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan were also represented.
Some of the applicants managed to arrive, some have not yet. For 40% of our international students, the academic year started remotely. But the educational process is taking into account these specifics. Life goes on.
Going back to state-funded admission, next year there will be a phenomenal increase in state-funded admission, because we have received 346 more state-funded places. This is really a lot. About 200 of them are for undergraduate studies. For comparison, this year we enrolled about 1,200 people for the first year of undergraduate studies.
What about other universities?
The growth rate of state-funded places at the KNRTU-KAI is one of the highest in Russia. Most of our new places are in aviation specialties, in addition to materials science and composite materials technology, technosphere security and IT technology It is important to note that for the first time in 10 years, there are state-funded places for Economics — both for bachelor's and master's degrees.
Apparently, the feature of the end of the school year overlapped here. And we can't differ much from the background. But if this natural minus is subtracted, it turns out that de facto we have even improved our state exam scores
“The average score dropped in Russia and Tatarstan”
You called admission 2020 successful for the university, but what about the indicator of “quality of the applicant” by the results of the unified state exam?
Compared to last year, our average score dropped slightly — by about 1,2-1,3 points. But this is due to that we enroll by the results of three exams — Russian Language, Mathematics and Physics or Russian Language, Mathematics and Informatics.
So, by this disciplines, the average score in both the Republic of Tatarstan and the Russian Federation decreased by more than 2,5 points. In other words, the overall score sank. Apparently, the feature of the end of the school year overlapped here. And we can't differ much from the background. But if this natural minus is subtracted, it turns out that de facto we have even improved our state exam scores.
Now one can't even come to an interview with an employer — but what about the employment of your graduates this year?
It's really a problem. But we traditionally have a very high percentage of graduates' employment. On average, about 93,5% of our students at the university immediately find a job. This year was no exception, with approximately the same level of employment. First of all, we have held festivals where employers meet with students and graduates. These events are very popular. Employers come from all over the country, including the Far East.
According to our monitoring data, this year's graduates were employed at 30 enterprises both in Kazan and Tatarstan, as well as in Russia. Among the major employers — Kazan Aircraft Production Association, Kazan Рelicopters, Vertolety-Mi, Bars Group, Telecom Integration, KAPO Avia, ICL-KPO VS, Az Atom PLC, Kazan Optical and Mechanical Plant, Radioelectronics named after V. I. Shimko scientific development and production centre JSC, GDC Services PLC.
Among the major employers is the Kazan Aircraft Production Association, Kazan Helicopters, Vertolety-Mi, Bars Group, Telecom Integration, KAPO Avia, ICL-KPO VS
Personally, I have no information that someone graduated and immediately ended up on the unemployment exchange. By the way, in the near future, we host another series of events for students and graduates online — the Russian job fair 'Autumn 2020 digital' (November 26) and the youth forum 'Career with meaning 2020' (November 16-26), which will include a series of webinars “from student to professionals”. Well, on November 14, an online open day will also be held in the KNITU-KAI.
How do you personally predict the development of the situation for the university and the impact of coronavirus on education?
We are part of common life. Therefore, everything depends on the development of the overall situation. If it is negative and tougher measures are taken, of course, we will adequately implement it. But we ourselves will not be this source with a very high probability.
Thank you so much for the interview! Stay healthy!