Analysts research the website content of Ukrainian universities, analyze how informative and complete it is to satisfy the information needs of its potential students, create respective ranking. Experts discuss further implications of the ranking and note that openness of universities increases their social credibility and attracts donors.
Kyiv, September 14, 2016. New rating of Ukrainian higher education institutions outlines Top-10 universities with most useful and up-to-date content on respective websites. Top-10 Universities are Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute, National University of Life and Environmental Sciences, Vasyl Stefanyk Precarpathian National University, Uman State Pedagogical University, Donetsk National University of Economics and Trade, Lviv Polytechnic National University, Ternopil Volodymyr Hnatyuk National Pedagogical University, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv and Uman National University of Horticulture. These are the results of a research conducted by CEDOS analytical center presented at a press-briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. All state and municipal universities but universities offering law enforcement degrees were subject of the research. In total, the research covered 186 universities, teaching over 91 per cent of all Ukrainian students.
Main target of the research is to draw the universities’ attention to how their websites provide high school graduates with full information on the degree, so that his/her choice is well-balanced. Yehor Stadny, executive director of CEDOS analytical center noted that 56% of all school graduates among those interviewed were using the website as the main source of information. At the same time 59% were complaining about the lack of such information. “Only 20% of universities exceeded the threshold of 50 out of 100 points available. Thus, the overall level of websites’ saturation with information remains insufficient,” the expert said. Compared to the last year 12 universities improved their positions in the ranking, to the largest extent – Kyiv-Mohyla Academy (10 more points). According to Stadny, the research also aims at discovering flagships of best practices among Ukrainian universities so that other educational institutions may use them as a benchmark. Stadny added that 70 universities have already checked their positions in the ranking, 12 of them have turned to CEDOS analysts for additional recommendations as to how improve the websites.
Education officials approve of survey and suggest further improving it
“Transparency and financial reporting that is currently missing on the websites of all universities is a requirement of the Law on higher education. It is a precious piece of information for us, from the standpoint of how the universities are implementing it,” noted the Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine, Lilia Hrynevych. Mykyta Andreyev, member of the National Agency Certifying Quality of Higher Education, added that are not only some universities don’t publishing information, but they also don’t respond to public queries.
Lilia Hrynevych and Mykyta Andreyev noted that the tools that CEDOS analysts applied will be in use for systematic work of the National agency on certifying the quality of higher education in the field of institutions certification and of the Ministry of Education and Science. Oleg Sharov, director of the Higher Education Department of the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine, added that the ranking in case it comprises all forms of property, would become the national university ranking along with the top-200 one. At the same time according to Volodymyr Bugrov, vice rector of the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, clear ranking criteria need to be developed that would enable comparing all universities among themselves on equal terms.
Survey may influence state scholarships allocation
Lilia Hrynevych also noted that the ranking demonstrated a serious gap between the leaders of transparency and the universities that received more state-financed quotas thanks to the new system. “We see that the institutions that have increased the number of state-financed quotas may be on the 39th, 69th and even 125th place in the transparency ranking. It may undermine their credibility as seen by the school graduates. Results of the research may become subject to consideration in the universities so that they become client-oriented and provide sufficient information. Openness comes as a proof to the fact that universities are not closed structures, they are building communities around them,” Hrynevych emphasized.
Research may attract money and students
Volodymyr Bakhrushyn, chief expert of the Reanimation Package of Reforms, advisor to the Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine, noted that openness of information of the university is important not only because of its social credibility but also for the sake of its international partnership both scientific and financial. “Fundraising is underestimated as a source of funding in Ukraine. Not a single donor will be granting money to the university that does not report about its financial activities,” emphasized Andriy Meleshevych, president of the National University “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy”. “Being transparent is a rational choice, it attracts both school graduates and donors,” he added.
According to Mykhailo Vynnytsky, Advisor to the Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine, the ranking can be used as a tool to form a student community. It is desirable that the websites contain as much information as possible on the out-of-class student activities as well as students’ evaluation of their professors.
Financial reporting as a pilot project among Ukrainian universities
Heorhiy Kasianov, director of the Institute for Education Development, noted that it is worth setting up a separate ranking on financial reporting of universities. Ivanna Antonova, representative of the Alliance for assistance to transparent management in education (UTEMA Alliance), noted that their organization in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Science, Microsoft and USAID are designing an e-system for development of financial reporting at universities. “We are at the negotiation stage now, but we are convinced that we’ll choose five pilot universities in which the system will be launched,” she noted. According to her CEDOS research demonstrated that two universities interested in this cooperation are among the leaders in the ranking.
Participants of the discussion unanimously agreed that in the nearest time Ukraine should create a unified registry that would include all universities with ranking among school graduates and experts who evaluating the universities. Ideally, it is non-governmental organizations who should work on this project. “I am against the registries to be administered by the Ministry of Education and Science or by the National Agency or any other authority. It increases the risk of lobbyist or administrative pressure,” noted Volodymyr Buhrov. Sharov added that it would be good to have many such rankings, so that school graduates and state agencies can make objective evaluation and decisions.