Experts discuss the new model of distribution for government-sponsored scholarships for higher education in Ukraine as well as the problems the model has faced over the past year of operation.
Kyiv, August 1, 2016. The first preliminary results of the admission campaign demonstrate that the new model of distribution of government-sponsored places in Ukrainian universities, according to preferences of smart applicants, has not lead to a “bias” in favor of Kyiv universities. Inna Sovsun, First Deputy Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine stated this, at a press briefing held at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. “The results show that government scholarship placements were focused in stronger universities, but fears that all placements would focus in Kyiv had been somewhat exaggerated. We can see that more than half of the top 20 – are not Kyiv universities,” noted Inna Sovsun. She reminded that according to the new distribution model, the university that received more applications from pupils with higher grades got more places.
Top universities receiving government scholarships
Among the top 10 universities with the greatest increase are Lviv Polytechnic National University, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv (KNU), Kyiv National Economic University (KNEU), V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University, Kyiv National University of Trade and Economics, Ivan Franko National University of Lviv, Kamyanets-Podilskyi National University, Yuriy Fedkovych Chernivtsi National University, Kyiv Polytechnic Institute (KPI), and Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. The next ten universities include even more regional institutions, among the leaders – Lutsk National Technical University, then – Kyiv National Linguistic University, and Lesya Ukrainka Eastern European National University. Inna Sovsun noted that the data reflects exactly how many places universities received according to the results of distribution. The number of entrants will be known only after prospective students make their choices and bring the original documents. “In some universities, there was an increase of more than 25 per cent when the university opened new specialties, which allowed the university to receive a bonus right to take 10 entrants on government sponsored places if these new specialties were chosen by the stronger applicants,” explained Inna Sovsun.
In general, this year, due to the flexible system of filling budget places, the government order has been fulfilled better than last year. The admission campaign demonstrated that adjusting the number of government-sponsored placements to the choice of an applicant had really raised the passing grade.
Civil monitoring reveals troubles in the admission campaign
Monitoring the admission campaign preliminary results, conducted by activists of civil network “OPORA,” revealed that most problems this year have appeared for technical reasons. Among them are troubles in the electronic application system due to the large number of visits during the first days of the admission campaign. The second problem is instability and incomprehensibility of admission conditions, sometimes because of changes made at the last moment. “We appeal to the Ministry not to change the admission conditions approved in November of last year just before the campaign,” stressed Natalia Radysh, expert, civil network “OPORA.” Many graduates have not managed to understand how many special subjects they can choose and to how many universities they can submit their 15 applications. “It is important that applicants themselves should seek clarification from NGOs, educational institutions and ministries to understand the admission campaign conditions,” noted Ms. Radysh.
The third major problem includes creativity competitions and physical fitness tests. Exams conducted in different universities or in the same university, but in different specialties often coincided and thus narrowed choices for applicants. Another problem is a subjective assessment. “Applicants often complain that they have reached qualifying standards or have answered all the questions, but have received low grades. As to the oral exams, it is very difficult for applicants to prove their cases,” explained Natalia Radysh.
However, the public observers note that this year there have been positive developments in terms of objective and equal access to higher education. In particular, the abolition of admission out of competition and employer-sponsored education, which previously comprised 25 per cent and 75 per cent of the budget places. So, this year’s graduates have a good chance to be admitted on a competitive score. “The second positive trend is the targeting of state order [amount of government-sponsored placements – UCMC note]. Although it is closely related to the last year’s state orders, 25 per cent of the government-sponsored places will be occupied by applicants with high grades,” noted Natalia Radysh. The third positive trend is the introduction of entrance examinations for admission to the Master’s specialty “Law”. “Despite the fact that this year only 9 universities have joined the experiment, this has permitted the knowledge of entrants to be objectively assessed, and every participant has had the opportunity to enter each of these 9 universities,” she explained.
Inna Sovsun added that this year, the Ukrainian universities have enrolled about 100 entrants from Crimea – within quotas defined by the universities. “These students are from Crimea. They have pseudo Russian school leaving certificates. They have come to universities, have passed basic state examination, have received Ukrainian certificates and thus have entered the universities,” noted the First Deputy Minister of Education and Science. Currently, the statistics on students from the temporarily occupied territories is being updated.