AltSU teacher visited Syria with an educational and humanitarian mission

22 November 2021 Department of Information and Media Communications
Associate Professor of the Department of Botany, Institute of Biology and Biotechnology, Altai State University, Polina Gudkova, as part of the Russian interagency delegation, made a working trip to the Syrian Arab Republic, where she gave biology classes for students of the Al-Asseya school in Damascus, which is the basis of a resource center of Russian education.

The resource center was organized in the SAR by a consortium of Russian universities within the framework of the Export of Education project in 2020. Altai State University, which is part of the consortium, is conducting biology classes for Syrian schoolchildren and teachers. Until recently, training took place in a distance format, and only thanks to the working trip of the Russian delegation, which took place, despite the difficult epidemiological and internal political situation in Syria, teachers from leading Russian universities, including Altai State University, managed to communicate directly with their students.

“We are happy to be part of a large Russian delegation representing all regions of our country, some ministries and departments, leading educational organizations. I gave biology lessons to Syrian schoolchildren, and only after I saw how Damascus now lives, where electricity is turned on a schedule, I understood the problems which we had during online education. Now the specifics of working with "Al-Asseya" have become clear and we will build the process of interaction with them a little differently,’ noted Polina Gudkova. “But we were rewarded for all the difficulties of our trip to Syria by the children's reaction to our classes, their burning eyes and thirst for knowledge. In particular, I told the Syrian schoolchildren about modern trends in science, that it goes beyond textbooks. I had classes in the 12th grade, where students are taught genetics, so I told the children about the latest achievements in this field of science, about epigenetics and I showed that biology is an integral part of our life, and also introduced them to the project dedicated to the biodiversity of Syria.”

The main result of the trip, according to Polina, was an assessment of the specifics of interaction with schoolchildren and teachers of the SAR, identifying the most effective work format, as well as discussion of the topic of admission of Syrian schoolchildren to Russian universities.

In addition to the classes held at the Al-Asseya school, the AltSU teacher, together with colleagues from the Peoples' Friendship University of Russia, visited the Khirjilla refugee camp and handed over humanitarian aid to those living there.
Following the results of her visit to the SAR, Polina Gudkova received a letter of gratitude from Head of the Interdepartmental Coordination Headquarters of Russia - Head of the National Center for Defense Management of the Russian Federation, Colonel-General M.M. Mizintsev.

The creation of resource centers for children and teachers abroad, ensuring the popularization of the study of general education subjects in Russian, began in 2019. AltSU at the initial stage entered the consortium of leading Russian universities, implementing this event of the federal project "Export of Education" as an expert and methodological center for subject "Biology".

Today, on the basis of foreign schools, 7 resource centers are successfully operating in partner countries: Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Mongolia, Turkey, Bulgaria (created in 2019), as well as in Syria and Moldova (created in 2020). The development of specialized educational programs, the organization of the educational process for children and teachers, as well as information and analytical support of the work of resource centers are carried out by scientific and pedagogical teams of 7 leading universities in Russia: Peoples' Friendship University of Russia, MEPhI, Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University, NRU "MPEI", MIPT- NRU, RANEPA, and Altai State University. At the end of 2020,  Moscow State University of Technology "STANKIN", Saint-Petersburg Electrotechnical University ETU “LETI”, D. Mendeleev University of Chemical Technology of Russia, Southern Federal University joined the project.

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