Studying without a university is possible
Studying without a university is impossible
The decision to return to an on-site mode of education is based on two reasons. The first is expressed by the above paraphrase of the ending of a poem by Tadeusz Różewicz entitled Bez (Without).
The lesson at the beginning of the pandemic, when we had not yet had the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, has taught us that – apart from the illness and death – the worst aftermath of the virus is the paralysis of entire countries health care. Contrary to hospitals, the education system could be moved into the virtual sphere and save two years of education.
The unintended effect of this move is a breach of centuries-old foundations of academic education, i.e. suspending the operation of the university we know. Through a traditional university, I understand the institution and infrastructure that create space and conditions for work and the creation of the community of scientists, students, and employees bound together by values, rights, and academic practices.
There is a grave risk that in the name of concern for our health and life, and then for functionality and convenience, we will decide that studying without our co-presence at the university it is possible. I believe that the consequences of such a state might be harmful to the very University, but mostly for our individual development that does not benefit from isolation and solitude.
Operating independent universities are the core of democracy. The communities at our universities associate thousands of people that every day engage in an invaluable civic activity, which proves that, despite all the differences between us, scientific knowledge and rational conversation make it possible to face the toughest of the problems and peacefully live together.
If these concerns seem exaggerated, the other premise concerning the return to an on-site mode of education is long-awaited information on the state of vaccination at Polish universities delivered by the National Information Processing Institute based on the data in the POL-on and the Ministry of Health system. The percentage of people with two doses of COVID-19 vaccine at the University of Silesia is high and as follows:
- 77.4% among the students;
- 85.2% among the PhD students;
- 91% among the employees.
These are data from 4 January 2022, and considering that in Poland, there are over 200.000 vaccinations per day, we might assume that these numbers are even higher.
Thanks to your responsible care for yourselves and others, it is possible to safely study and work at our University. I am very grateful.
Photo by Mikael Ksristenson | Unsplash