Rector's Note to TalTech Students
Today, the second week begins, where, due to the emergency situation caused by the coronavirus outbreak, we have significant restrictions on studies – classroom sessions have been suspended and mostly replaced by e-learning.
We can assure you that despite of the difficulties and minor obstacles, the studies continue, for which we have to thank all the lecturers and students, in particular the lecturers in charge of the courses, on whose shoulders the main burden of reorganising the studies is placed. The process of creating university-wide e-support for all the compulsory courses, which started already two years ago, has helped to better tackle this challenge.
It is understandable that a number of problems related to the arrangement of studies have arisen that are difficult, if not impossible, to solve satisfactorily. In particular the students who should be graduating this spring are rightly concerned. I am aware of these concerns and we are working to make changes in the studies, which would facilitate solving of the problems that have arisen. Among other things, the Senate has also prepared the relevant ad hoc decision.
The Rectorate has followed three basic principles in solving all these problems. First, the requirements for the health and safety of the students and the staff must be followed in compliance with the Government's guidelines and best practices of the universities. Secondly, the measures taken must not place disproportionate or unreasonable burden on the students and the university's requirements should take account the changing circumstances in order to avoid unacceptable discrimination. Thirdly, the lecturers and students should rearrange the studies by continuously pursuing the defined learning outcomes.
The state of emergency is likely to last another six weeks, until 1 May, and it cannot be ruled out that the state of emergency will be extended. According to the current academic calendar, the spring semester will end on 14 June, which is preceded by a number of important deadlines related to studies. It is understandable that these time constraints create an extremely strained situation and the university will probably have to analyze the necessary and possible changes to the academic calendar in the coming week. We hope to continue substantial cooperation with the Student Union and other parties.
We have agreed with the Rectors of other universities that we will formulate common positions in matters regarding the arrangement of studies and agree on them also with other partners, in particular with the Ministry of Education and Research.
Based on today's knowledge, however, the aim should be to achieve the expected learning outcomes in the established framework and work together towards this goal. It is not impossible to accomplish it and it would definitely be best if we could succeed in it, but some things are beyond our control.
I wish everyone peace of mind to deal with this difficult situation, but above all health to all of you and your loved ones.