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BRICS education ministers discuss support measures amid the pandemic

On 21 October, Natalya Bocharova, Deputy Minister of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation, and Dmitry Glushkov, First Deputy Minister of Education of the Russian Federation chaired the 7th Meeting of the BRICS Ministers of Education via videoconference.

The participants discussed the prospects for higher education in the “post-COVID-19 era” and the development of relevant support measures  for the education system in the new paradigm of global development, which includes implementing distance learning into the higher education system and developing over 50 online professional development courses on using online technology for university staff. Countries also presented their approaches to developing national education systems in the areas of technical and professional training.

In her opening remarks, Deputy Minister of Science and Higher Education Natalya Bocharova stressed that today the priority task of the BRICS countries  is to jointly deal with not only the spread of coronavirus itself, but also with its consequences for the education systems in the five countries. “In this context, I would like to note Russia’s readiness for efficient cooperation in the context of preserving and developing educational potential within BRICS. By consolidating our efforts, we can overcome this crisis and build up a valuable workforce in the interest of BRICS sustainable development,” the Russian Deputy Minister said.  

Natalya Bocharova also noted that Russia pays special attention to cooperation with the BRICS countries on education, both multilaterally and bilaterally. As of the end of 2019, almost 40,000 students from Brazil, China, India and South Africa studied in Russia. “I find it especially important that our countries are cooperating through the BRICS Network University in order to jointly train highly qualified, creative professionals, who are capable of working under turbulent conditions for the benefit of our economies,” she said.

The event concluded with the adoption of a Declaration of the 7th Meeting of the BRICS Ministers of Education that reiterates the commitment of the five countries to deepening cooperation in this area through the BRICS Network University, including a dialogue on boosting competitiveness and the role of universities in stimulating digital transformation.

The Declaration pays special attention to the development of educational cooperation between all BRICS universities and educational institutions in the post-COVID-19 era, including with the promotion of joint research into the impact of COVID-19 on education and the exchange of knowledge between the educational institutions of the five countries on adopting response measures.