Kyiv, March 23, 2015. Around 8,000 out of the total number of 42,000 undergraduate students who were studying in Crimea in 2014 transferred to the universities in mainland Ukraine, stated Valentyna Potapova, educational programs coordinator at the “Almenda” center of civic education, during a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. It means every fifth student chose Ukraine. The rest will be opening the doors for us in Crimea,” she said.
According to Ms. Potapova, it is a good sign given that the situation in the peninsula is rather complicated. “Ideological indoctrination takes place in Crimea; incredible amount of funds and efforts are dedicated solely to this purpose. There is a so-called concept of patriotic upbringing and a law on extremist activities. The latter influences schoolchildren and students: if they are following pro-Ukrainian web-sites, they attract particular attention from the authorities. Their parents fall under FSB supervision, whilethe students are expelled from universities,” Valentyna Potapova explained. Sges also told that there were about 190,000 pupils, 25,000 teachers and approximately 60,000 students in February 2014 on the territory of Crimea. “It is the number that is deprived of the access to Ukrainian education,” she emphasized.
In the view of of Ruslan Nechyporuk, coordinator of Almenda’s youth projects, who himself moved from Crimea, the real heroes are those young people who stayed on the territory of the peninsula and had not betrayed Ukraine. The procedure of students’ transfer to study in mainland Ukraine was considerably simplified last March. Ruslan Nechyporuk is convinced that it improved the situation only for the state-funded students. “Those students who pay for their education from their personal incomes have to pay even more than they used to in Crimea. Some students stay on the occupied territory because they are unable to pay more,” he said. Another problem of such students, mentioned by Mr. Nechyporuk on his own example, was the fact that the state does not recognize students living in student boarding houses as internally displaced people. Thus, they have to leave student boarding houses right after graduating, yet it is dangerous for them to go back to Crimea.
Unlike students, schoolchildren who wish to study by Ukrainian state standards are provided with a more balanced system. “They can be accepted at Ukrainian schools for distance learning or external studies on the basis of their parents’ application,” Olena Ishutina, chief specialist of the Department for secondary and pre-school education of the Ministry of Education of Ukraine, explained. She said that all of the educational establishments in Crimea moved to the Russian standards which seriously differ from the Ukrainian ones, so that students cannot receive graduation certificates recognized by Ukraine. By the same roken, they will not be able toco tinie studying either in Ukraine or abroad in the future, since not country in the world would recognize a certificate from the occupied Crimea. “These children are entitled to take final examination, register for taking exam focused tests, receive Ukrainian-recognized certificates and study in any higher education institution,” explained Olena Ishutina. She said that the Ministry of Education is fixed on the procedure for ordering, receiving and issuing academic certificates for young people who have received it on the occupied territories. “If children haven’t received a Ukrainian certificate by accident or lost it, they may ask for a duplicate,” Ms. Ishutina said.