Informal Student Groups in the Context of the COVID‑19 Pandemic

  • Dmitry Zemtsov Far Eastern Federal University
  • Ilya Yaskov Far Eastern Federal University
Keywords: informal education, educational values, implicit curriculum, informal student groups, universities during the COVID‑19 pandemic


Informal student groups in Far Eastern Federal University exhibited significant activity and received essential support from the university administrators during the COVID‑19 pandemic. Since the pandemic burst out, the number of informal student groups known to administrators has only increased, counterintuitively. Our findings show that the value of informal student groups for participants in the educational process is comparable to that of formal education programs, although participation in such groups is not part of any formal requirements or explicit societal demands. A series of interviews was conducted with members of informal student groups (a volunteer community, a group of medical volunteers, associations of engineering and information technology students), faculty members, and administrators. Analysis of interview transcripts shows that informal student groups can be considered valuable in the university corporation as a way of entering a profession, as a response to the implicit societal demand for “maturity” and agency development in students, and as a means of “appropriating” the learning environment and becoming a member of the university corporation. At the same time, a number of respondents perceive self-organization within student groups as generally and intrinsically valuable. Our findings show that informal student groups have an unspoken value in themselves, supported by an equally unspoken societal demand for “collectivist education”, which is yet to be discussed.


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How to Cite
Zemtsov, Dmitry, and Ilya Yaskov. 2021. “Informal Student Groups in the Context of the COVID‑19 Pandemic”. Voprosy Obrazovaniya / Educational Studies Moscow, no. 4 (December), 97-116.
Theoretical and Applied Research