THE BALTIC TIMES INTERVIEW
ABMS introduces virtual education in Switzerland for international students
Every day the Internet surprises us with new methods. Education is always a sensitive sector, in which people are very careful. The first Internet website was created in Switzerland, and therefore, we had to ask a few questions about this new method of teaching virtual education to the Swiss businessman and founder of several organisations in Europe, including ABMS virtual university, Mr Habib Al Souleiman.
Q: European universities, including Latvian universities, are still not focusing on online education; what do you think is the reason? Is online education considered to be lower quality and therefore is not as popular among state universities?
A: In general, online education is not very popular in public universities in Europe. Thats because high speed Internet is a very recent innovation; it has only been in the last 10 years that weve been able to say that the Internet is fast enough to establish new methods for good online education. I am sure that in less than five years from today we will see most universities have an online school or study programmes. I have had good educational experiences I studied in state universities in the US, UK, and Switzerland. In the US, online education is already popular. When I was in the US in Virginia a few years ago, I was surprised by how advanced American universities are in comparison to European universities, especially in technology and the Internet. However, its changing now, and European universities are implementing new technologies for their future students. I have had meetings with many state universities in Europe and I had the honour of introducing virtual education to state universities in Europe, Asia, and Africa.
Q: Can a student be a medical doctor or a pilot through online education?
A: No, online education is currently possible only for theoretical studies, like business, marketing, tourism practical studies like medicine, aviation, engineering must be studied on-campus. I must say, who knows what technology will be like in 20 years, maybe one day we will see a medical school online.
Q: What is the difference between a virtual education and an online education?
A: The different between them is huge. Through Virtual Education you will see your professor, you can ask him questions live, he will answer you live. We usually have fewer than 30 students. So you see with whom you are in contact.
Q: How did you come to the idea of virtual education? We are still unable to accept online education. How do you think people will come to accept virtual education?
A: I have worked for many schools, small and large schools, we always had the difficulty of offering high quality education to students from all over the world without the travel cost. The new generation are now born with an IPhone in their hands; our generation had different technology, and I have great trust that the new generation, in addition to our generation or even older generations, are willing to use the new technology to make our education methods more effective. Today, in less than four years, we have over 1,200 students at ABMS.
Q: Quality Assurance? Are you accredited?
A: We are accredited and certified by European renowned accreditation bodies like ASIC, ISO, ECBE as well as by members of the most popular bodies in Europe EFQM-Belgium (European Foundation for Quality Management) and ICDE-Norway (International Council for Open and Distance Education)