Pandemic Lessons: Story of Cooperation and Competition in Russian Education
This chapter examines how main actors such as policymakers, school teams, and Edtech companies faced the pandemic challenges and whether they cooperated with each other. The analysis demonstrates that while before COVID-19, Russian schools and Edtechs rarely cooperated with each other, the partnership developed in response to the necessity of an emergency transition to distance learning. The government attempted to establish a nationwide infrastructure for distance learning and the vetting of educational content during the initial stages of the pandemic, however, this strategy was not implemented. Since the government did not immediately react to the situation, schools were forced to cope with the transition themselves. EdTech helped students, teachers, and regions deal with the crisis. After the pandemic, EdTech companies found themselves in a situation of increased government regulation, to which they reacted differently: some companies preferred to focus on B2C formats, while others responded with investments in the B2G sector. The school-Edtech partnership might be one of the most far-reaching positive changes of the pandemic for education, but our analysis shows this lesson has rather not been learned.