Gymnasium Union of Russia

At a Glance

  • Geographically dispersed teachers and pupils brought together over video
  • Improved teacher training at reduced costs
  • Guest speakers address children

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The Gymnasium Union of Russia embraces a new approach to learning with Polycom video solutions

Russia stretches from Europe in the west to Asia in the east. Made up of blazing deserts and frozen tundra it is the largest nation on Earth with a population of more than 143 million. Spanning nine time zones and eight Federal Districts this huge country represents an enormous challenge for national organisations tasked with ensuring consistency across public sector services such as healthcare and education.

The strategic aim of the Gymnasium Union of Russia (GUR) – the country's largest national education project – is to connect the professional network of gymnasiums and lyceums across Russia with video conferencing. As such, GUR required a highly reliable, scalable and flexible video infrastructure with which to realise this goal. After evaluating the available technologies, it opted to roll out video conferencing from Polycom. 

More than 350 educational institutions are now equipped with Polycom RealPresence Room video solutions and the services are used by more than 1,400 schools, including high schools, military schools and teacher training colleges. The infrastructure, built on the Polycom RealPresence Platform, enables large numbers of students and teachers to collaborate with virtually anyone via video in any work or classroom environment, using any type of device. Polycom RealPresence Media Manager software allows sessions to be recorded and made available to those who missed out or wish to watch the material again.

GUR is now able to offer its member schools a new approach to learning. Over 35,000 students, teachers and representatives of public organizations from federal Russian districts are benefiting from a ground-breaking "Gymnasium Union of Russia" (GUR) program. Teachers have been able to conduct open lessons with schools in Russia, England and France and bring in guest speakers from external organisations. But it's not just the pupils who are benefitting. The video solutions are also allowing institutions to improve the training and professional development of their staff by pooling their resources and delivering sessions remotely to large numbers of participants at a time.

The GUR has seen widespread use of the technology amongst its members, with over 2,000 video sessions held in the last five years. Many of these had more than 70 participating locations joining remotely.

"High reliability, functionality and continuity are crucial to us when it comes to choosing technologies for our teachers and students across all education institutions," said A. K. Fedorov, Vice-President of the Foundation for Education Support and Head of the GUR. "When we analyzed the technical means by which we could unite different schools via video we reviewed various videoconferencing solutions. We picked Polycom because its solutions met all of our requirements and offered the most scalable, interoperable, and flexible solutions for the most reasonable cost."

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