On the 5th of January Yuri Belenkij the rector of St.Petersburg State Forest Technical University visited LLU to sign the bilateral cooperation agreement between the two universities and to discuss the joint participation in the Erasmus + program project competition in the next academic year.
During the meeting rectors of both universities discussed the cooperation in higher education in forest field and forest science, emphasizing each university strengths. So far, cooperation between St. Petersburg colleagues from Russia and Latvia University of Agriculture Faculty of Forestry has not happened, so during the visit a cooperation agreement was signed. It was signed by the LLU Rector Irina Pilvere and rector of St. Petersburg Yuri Belenkij in the presence of the dean of LLU Forest Faculty Dagnis Dubrovskis Faculty and guest lecturers Ilze Silamiķele, as well as the study Vice Rector Aigars Laizāns and the head of the International Cooperation Center Voldemārs Bariss.
St.Petersburg State Forest Technical University is the oldest higher educational institution of forest in Europe, founded in 1803 and has prepared specialists for more than 200 years and nowadays is one of the three universities in Russia where you can acquire this specialization.
Professor Yuri Belenkij has served as a rector at the St.Petersburg State Forest Technical University for only a year and so far has worked as a certificated forest engineer so he understands the needs of employers and at the university a major attention is paid to the students' practical training.
"We’ve realized that the students, by listening to the theoretical lectures at the university, acquire the necessary knowledge to the labor market, but often they are afraid to use them at the workplace or do not understand how the acquired theoretical knowledge can be applied in practice. Thereby, we strive as much as possible to ensure the students' have the chance to go to the factories so that they could learn from the supervisors. Even if the student doesn’t do any of the tasks, but is only an observer, he receives an idea of the process, "says Mr Belenkij.
Rector also revealed that the university has joint research projects with Finnish colleagues, and between the two countries there is an active exchange of students and teachers. He had proposed that within the signed cooperation agreement between LLU un St.Petersburg a joint masters program in forestry could be opened, where the studies would take place in English and alternately the program could take place in both universities. St. Petersburg has already established a similar experience with Finland and there is a large foreign student interest in these types of programs.
The first cooperative activity has already started because LLU is preparing documents for the implementation of the Erasmus + mobility between the two universities, enabling students and faculty to exchange study visits.
During his visit, Mr. Belenkij was introduced to the LLU study infrastructure, Faculty of Forestry and the history of Jelgava Palace.