January 15, 2021 23:02

Alexei Kudrin Tells the Gaidar Forum about “Free Knowledge” and the New Education of the 21st Century

Alexei Kudrin Tells the Gaidar Forum about “Free Knowledge” and the New Education of the 21st Century

People in the 21st century will need new knowledge and new methods of acquiring it, says Alexei Kudrin, Chairman of the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation and Dean of the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences at St. Petersburg State University, speaking at the Gaidar Forum 2021 on the topic of “Liberal Arts: an Education Model for the 21st Century”.

Aleksey Kudrin began his speech by outlining a huge problem of today’s changing world: lack of understanding of what kind of specialists need to be trained today, how we should study independently, and what kind of knowledge will be in demand 10 years from now. Thousands of people have to change their professions, Mr. Kudrin reminded. The professions themselves are also changing, many passing into oblivion due to the processes of automation, digitalization, development of artificial intelligence.

“The Moscow Exchange performs 160 thousand transactions per second. We are no longer capable of competing with machines. The Accounts Chamber will follow the digitalization path, letting algorithms analyze financial documents,” Alexei Kudrin assured.

He noted the importance of humanities and arts for education, not just technical sciences. In doing so, Kudrin quoted Apple founder Steve Jobs, who said that “technology alone is not enough to make our hearts sing”. Humanitarians, designers, people who can deliver the technology closer to the others have always been at least as important as the engineers.

Alexei Kudrin spoke about the concept of the new Liberal Arts knowledge system, “free arts”. Instead of learning facts, this approach is primarily based on creating so-called “flexible” skills and competences – these include critical thinking, creativity, emotional intelligence, ability to work with people, ability to make decisions. This is the basis of the teaching activities at the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences at St. Petersburg University, headed by Alexei Kudrin. He says the teaching is based on the principle of individual trajectory. This increases the students’ motivation and makes them more interested in the learning process. The students are suggested to choose their specialization after the 2nd years at the University; the first two years are intended for the student to try himself/herself, to understand what he/she wants to do.

Another principle of the faculty is interdisciplinary approach, in which any phenomenon, any object is studied comprehensively. “We need a new Federal State Education Standard (FSES), we need to overcome the boundaries of faculties," Alexei Kudrin continued during his speech.

The third principle is interactivity. Discussions, essays, abstracts, debates a student has to speak nearly at every class. The groups are small in size - 10-12 people. There are few lectures in the curriculum, and the students have to prepare carefully for each class.

“Development of education is the most important thing for our country right now, and I have chosen for myself that I will only support education <...> First of all, a modern education system should teach us how to think. The culture of our country, the principles of education and public administration must all contribute to this. This is the only way to go,” Aleksei Kudrin said summing up his speech.

Photographer: Sergey Savostyanov / TASS

The Gaidar Forum “Russia and the World After the Pandemic” will be held on January 14 and 15 at the Presidential Academy. The Forum will traditionally open the annual business agenda of Russia. In 2021, this large-scale event will be held in a hybrid format, both online and offline.

This time, the main discussion track will be social and economic transformations that have occurred in the country and the world as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The expert discussions will be focused on the national and global development goals and the search for practical solutions to the most urgent challenges of today. The Forum’s participants include ministers from the Russian Government, members of the Federal Assembly, governors of the Russian regions, largest world experts, representatives of foreign states.

The general partners of the Gaidar Forum are Gazprom PJSC and Gazprombank JSC.

The strategic partners are Russian Railways OJSC, Johnson&Johnson, ACIG Group, Novartis.

The partner of the forum is MasterCard, Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF)

The discussion partners are Magnit, Pepsi, Huawei, Coca-Cola, AstraZeneca, Takeda, EY.

General media partners: TASS, Business FM, RIA Novosti, RBC. Strategic media partners: Interfax, Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Kommersant Publishing House, RIA FederalPress, Invest-Foresight magazine. Main media partners: Anews, News.ru, lenta.ru. International media partners: Russia Today.

Media partners: PRO Business TV channel, AEI PRIME, Polit.ru, Strategy magazine, Public Administration magazine, Ekonomika i Zhizn newspaper, Econs portal, Finam, Bankovskoye Obozreniye magazine, Parlamentskaya Gazeta, Snob media project, Echo of Moscow radio station, Nauchno-Obrazovatelnaya Politika Telegram channel.