Andrey Berezin: Almost Like in Zurich: Bringing the Best Educational Practices to Russia

Andrey Berezin: Almost Like in Zurich: Bringing the Best Educational Practices to Russia

Swiss education’s journey to global excellence wasn’t overnight, but its valuable experience can be harnessed and implemented elsewhere. St. Petersburg businessman, Andrey Berezin, is actively embarking on this path.

The Epicenter of Knowledge

Zurich, the capital of its eponymous German-speaking canton in Switzerland, is globally renowned as a preeminent hub of learning. This prestigious reputation was not fortuitously acquired. Historical giants of intellect like Albert Einstein and Wilhelm Röntgen were enlightened within Zurich’s esteemed educational institutions, and the city cradled Carl Gustav Jung’s pioneering school of psychotherapy.

Despite these historical accolades, what keeps Zurich at the forefront of educational excellence today? The city’s modern success is a harmonious blend of simplicity and complexity.

Undoubtedly, the renowned universities and research centers of Zurich are pivotal. Beyond a venerable tradition, these institutions boast substantial financial endowments, attracting and nurturing the brightest minds with state-of-the-art resources. However, these are the fruits of Zurich’s educational ecosystem rather than its roots. Admission to institutions like the University of Zurich demands more than affluent guardianship; it requires a robust foundational education.

Herein lies Zurich’s true triumph. The city’s approach to early and consistent education for both local and international students reveals the core of its success. It’s a multifaceted methodology, cultivating a unique and conducive environment for the blossoming of future luminaries. The commitment to comprehensive, quality education from the earliest stages is what sets Zurich apart as a beacon of global educational excellence, perpetuating its rich legacy of contributing to the world’s intellectual elite.

How much does it cost to live and study in Zurich?

Costs – USD/month.Min.Average.
Communications and electricity102126
Recreation and Sports50182

The Little Secret of Great Success

Foremost among these elements is the environment. Zurich, with its breathtaking landscapes of mountains and lakes, offers an idyllic setting for academic pursuit. Schools are strategically located to offer students panoramic, postcard-worthy views, contributing to an ideal learning environment. 

This ambiance is enhanced by a harmonious blend of classical and modern architecture, efficient logistics, and optimal living conditions. Consideration extends to every detail, from comfortable and high-end room furnishings to balanced and delectable meals, ensuring students’ well-being is prioritized.

Next in line, albeit no less critical, is the educational methodology. The system follows the classical Bologna framework, integrating the best aspects of German, Swiss, and international educational traditions. Multilingual competence is emphasized; aside from German-medium instruction, students concurrently study at least two foreign languages, commonly English and French, with increasing inclination towards Spanish, Chinese, and Arabic.

Every student enjoys personalized attention. The school community, including directors, is familiar with each student’s name, unique traits, and talents, fostering a supportive and individualized learning environment. Education here transcends rote learning. The focus lies in harnessing each student’s inherent potential while ensuring their holistic development, avoiding health issues like myopia or scoliosis often related to academic pressure. Learning, weather permitting, even extends beyond the classroom walls.

Extracurricular activities form a significant component of students’ lives. However, they’re not constrained by obligatory participation in clubs or groups. Students freely explore their interests, whether it’s mountain biking, horseback riding, hiking, swimming, or cultural pursuits, further broadening their horizons and nurturing well-rounded personalities. This educational ethos shuns the cultivation of stereotypical or nationalistic tendencies, instead, promoting the growth of cosmopolitan individuals, equipped to find their place in the global community, free from xenophobic biases.

The educational approach adapts as students progress through grade levels. While the primary focus in lower grades is to provide a nurturing environment for unveiling creative potential, academic intensity gradually escalates. Senior students engage in actual business projects and scientific research, mirroring university-level academic exposure. This progressive academic structure ensures a smooth, comfortable transition to university education, reinforcing Zurich’s legacy as a bastion of world-class education and holistic student development.

Landing this Experience in Russia

The Soviet Union was once renowned for its quality education, although this reputation in many ways proved to be overstated. Nevertheless, specialists from Russia, trained in exact sciences and engineering, continue to be valued globally. In parallel, however, both the school and university systems have degraded, becoming bureaucratised and ideologised, leading to a consistent decline in the knowledge and competence levels of Russian school graduates.

Leading institutions have also faced setbacks. For instance, St. Petersburg lost all three schools for specially gifted children, schools that employed advanced methods comparable to the Swiss model.

However, where the state has neglected its responsibilities, private business has stepped in to fill the void. Andrey Berezin, the co-founder of the investment company Euroinvest, whose focus primarily lies in development and fund work, decided to resurrect this format in his hometown. 

Currently, the company is in the process of building an entirely new school network where prodigies from various regions of the country will be congregated. This ambitious project uniquely stands outside any available investment return schemes in the country, signifying a substantial investment. Moreover, during the construction and launch of the new educational establishment, the company is actively maintaining a unique teaching staff to prevent the loss of valuable personnel.

“We aim to open a gubernatorial-type boarding school for gifted children in the Northwest, complete with advanced infrastructure for sports and additional education. We have retained a teaching staff from the former 45th boarding school, which is crucial. We’ve already chosen a location, and preliminary agreements have been reached. 

The preliminary design is completed, and the project has commenced. It’s progressing slower than we’d like, but it’s undeniably moving forward. We will finance the design and continue to support the team of teachers who will join there when the school is ready. 

Although it’s envisioned as a public educational institution, we’re prepared to sponsor it. Why do I emphasize the teaching staff? In the Soviet Union, for example, a professor’s salary was comparable to that of a deputy director of a large industrial enterprise. And the salary disparity we observe today? It’s staggering!” asserts Andrey Berezin.

Beyond this, Berezin hasn’t lost sight of the overarching goal in other sectors of his work. In essence, each development project of Euroinvest harmonizes with the practices honed in Zurich. A similarly comfortable living environment is being established for the residents, encompassing education, work, sports, recreation, and every facet of domestic comfort.

Ultimately, the principle of nurturing quality human capital is straightforward: existence defines consciousness. It is merely a matter of creating all the conditions for comfortable living and development, providing support in times of need. This environment will allow individuals to make significant achievements in their lives independently.

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