As many as 400 world’s leading scientists have chosen SPbU to work, half of them are Russian scientists who moved their career abroad. This was the topic of SPbU Rector Nikolay Kropachev’s speech at the plenary session at the II St Petersburg International Labour Forum.

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“Although too often we are talking about how best graduates move away after graduating and best academics move their career abroad, SPbU nevertheless has shown a positive dynamic as for the last years as many as 400 scientists from 35 countries have applied to work here to transfer their knowledge and expertise to students and carry out extensive research at the oldest university in Russia. I am glad to tell that half of them are originally from other countries, while the other half is our compatriots who went abroad some years ago and now has returned to Russia. Both the University and the city inspired them to return. A strong competitive advantage is St Petersburg that creates favourable opportunities and special atmosphere for work”, — said Nikolay Kropachev.

Education plays a crucial role in our life. Yet its essence is changing.

SPbU Rector Nikolay Kropachev

“The major concern of the Forum is the labour of the future, talents, technologies, and inventiveness. Another crucial aspect is how business and education interact and how the universities develop those competences that are professionally important. It is our primary concern as we are the centre for education and research on national scale. St Petersburg University as a leader of the national and global higher education is an integral part of the Labour Forum”, — said St Petersburg’s Governor Georgii Poltavchenko.

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University-employer interaction is vital, said SPbU Rector. The technologies in research-intensive industries are changing every 5-7 years, that can be compared with the duration of study. The universities are going to lag behind if they fail to adopt a completely new approach to teaching and learning.

The universities must be we aware that what and how to teach is no longer within their exclusive possession and control. Today, we must clearly see what competences are expected to be in the demand in labour market. Only employers who will hire our graduates can help.

SPbU Rector Nikolay Kropachev

Rector also told us through about a unique university-employer interaction at St Petersburg University. The employers are the member of the educational councils of the programmes who define the programme and staff requirements, propose the topic for research and even take part in the final examinations.  

Nikolay Kropachev also told about the practical training: “Through interacting with the employers we open departments, hold summer trainings, and provide clinical education. The first SPbU clinic is in law and was opened 20 years ago. Now this approach is part of the standard of preparing lawyers in Russia. We have since opened a number of clinics, and I am more than sure that this approach should be incorporated into our education on a national scale”.

Finally, Rector also focused on life-long learning. “Each year, the role of education is changing. The knowledge you gain at university is not enough for successful career throughout your life. We should learn throughout life. Today, there are plenty opportunities for life-long learning. Among them are online courses from the top universities. For the last year, SPBU launched 70 on-line courses that are available to anyone and we encourage students to take on-line courses. Unfortunately, few universities accept the results of on-line learning. Rectors and Ministry of Education should think about how we can improve the situation”, — said SPbU Rector.

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