BRAMA, December 16, 2010, 9:00 AM ET|
Higher Education In Ukraine: Back To The USSR?
Kyiv Mohyla Foundation of America Urges Support for Academic Freedom and Autonomy
Chicago Ukraine’s Ministry of Education recently proposed draft law on "reforming" higher education in Ukraine has provoked a strong response from Dr. Serhiy Kvit, president of National University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy.
At a press conference held in Kyiv on December 9, 2010, Dr. Kvit stated that, “the changes proposed by the draft law would effectively roll back the Academy's substantial achievements since its revival in 1992, returning higher education in Ukraine to the discredited Soviet era model of central government control”.
The proposals of Minister of Education Dmytro Tabachnyk would remove university autonomy and the academic, financial and organizational freedoms of independent universities.
In addition, the proposed changes would discourage and prevent integration of Ukrainian education with European and western standards of higher education.
The proposed changes also would prohibit Kyiv Mohyla Academy from using English as a second language as an admission criterion.
In an open letter dated December 6th addressed to Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and Parliament Chairman Volodymyr Lytvyn, Dr. Serhiy Kvit warned that adoption of the draft law "will lead to a self-imposed isolation of the country in the sphere of education, as well as to the unacceptable degradation of the nation's science, education and economy."
In a related public statement by Kyiv Mohyla Academy’s Director of Doctoral Studies, Dr. Mychailo Wynnyckyj characterized the proposed changes in Ukrainian law as “an attack on the National University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy”, asserting that the draft law will “destroy the things that have made Kyiv Mohyla Academy one of the best and the most western in Ukraine during the past 20 years.”
The Kyiv Mohyla Foundation of America (Chicago, Illinois) also strongly disagrees with the draft law's proposed changes, and condemns the Ministry of Education's attempt to reassert authoritarian control of higher education in Ukraine, and especially its interference with the National University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy, Ukraine's distinguished institution of higher education.
“The draft law will have a detrimental impact not only on Kyiv Mohyla Academy, but on all of the country’s universities. Without a strong, independent university system Ukraine cannot hope to achieve a leadership role among the nations of the world”, according to Marta Farion, president of Kyiv Mohyla Foundation of America.
Ms. Farion also stated that, “the proposed dilution of university freedoms and independence are inconsistent with the educational objectives of National University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy, which this Foundation has supported and advanced. University autonomy and academic freedom are at the central core of civil society”.
Kyiv Mohyla Foundation of America urges Ukraine’s president, prime minister and chairman of Ukraine’s Parliament to review and reconsider the proposed changes in Ukrainian law, and it encourages the interest and support of university, faculty and students around the world to register protests with members of the Ukrainian government.
Dr. Kvit’s open letter can be accessed on www.ukma.kiev.ua/eng_site/news/addm/Open%20letter_NaUKMA_eng.pdf.
The statement of National University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy can be accessed on
Article in Kyiv Post:
Read the letter to President Yanukovych in Ukrainian.
National University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy was founded in 1615, and after centuries of suppression, it was re-established in 1992. Since that time, the University has been guided by the vision of educating a new generation of leaders based on academic freedom and the highest international standards of academic excellence, with emphasis on rule of law, ethical standards and service to build a democratic civil society. In spite of monumental difficulties, the University became a premier educational institution and gained international recognition.
For more information see www.ukma.kiev.ua/eng_site/index.php in English and http://www.ukma.kiev.ua/ in Ukrainian.
Kyiv Mohyla Foundation of America is dedicated to assisting and supporting the National University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy. Guided by the strategic priorities of the University, the Foundation promotes the University in its mission through volunteer engagement and philanthropic support.
For more information see www.kmfoundation.com.
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