This is a growing collection of the analyses and commentary on the ongoing Ukraine crisis by the University of Tartu researchers.
“It was in 1982″, remembers Zifrida Nikachadze, Ana’s grandmother. Thirty-two years ago her son Kote became a student of medicine at the University of Tartu. On 1 September 2014 – Zifrida’s birthday – she stands in front of the university’s Main Building in Tartu again, this time with both her son and granddaughter Ana, who is starting her medical studies in the steps of her father. Ana is only seventeen, just as her father was in 1982.
“It was my dream that Ana would study in Tartu”, reveals Kote. “It is symbolic that I took my only entrance exam in the chemistry building (now Philosophicum), whereas Ana had her very first lecture there – Latin”.
With both parents being doctors, Ana knew early on that medicine was the right thing for her: “I decided it was my calling”. As for Tartu, Ana admits that it wasn’t her decision. When a sudden possibility emerged to complete high school in Tartu, Ana’s first reaction was ‘No’. She was only fifteen and obviously could not see the positive side of it. Still, as Ana puts it: “I never voiced my opposition. I never put up any real fight”.
The most difficult thing for Ana in the beginning was getting used to the new culture. She missed her family and Georgia; however, in about three months Ana came to appreciate the decision. “It was like a paradigm shift – I have learned so much now, and not only what they teach in school. I was able to combine the two cultures and become the person I am now”. Continue reading
Mihhail Lotman is a member of the Semiotics Research Group at the University of Tartu and Professor of Semiotics and Literary Theory at Tallinn University. In Tartu, Lotman also teaches in the international master’s programme in semiotics.
Higher education is under pressure worldwide. This is especially true of the traditional European model of the universitas. It’s claimed to be outdated, not meeting the expectations of the government, economy, or society as a whole. What’s the use of spending 3+2+4 of the best years of your life, when it doesn’t guarantee a good income or an interesting job?
We see more and more young and successful people who haven’t attended university or have left their studies still becoming really rich and not just that — many of them have managed to break through in the world of the most cutting-edge technology.
The problem is not quite new. As Heinrich Faust, PhD admitted in frustration many centuries ago:
I have, alas! Philosophy,
Medicine, Jurisprudence too,
And to my cost Theology,
With ardent labour, studied through.
And here I stand, with all my lore,
Poor fool, no wiser than before.
Faust has completed studies in each of the four classical faculties. Still he quips indignantly that no one of these would bring about wisdom. Faust is absolutely right. The university does not make you wise (In fact, I’m not aware if the affirmative could be said of any place at all). Continue reading