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Ministry of Education and Science Newsletter, September '16
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Olha Faryatyeva, member of the working group for the preparation of the Concept for the development of legal education in Ukraine

Legal education, despite its prestige the importance of the importance of the profession's future development for society at large, it has long been a mass product in higher education. Unfortunately, the shortage of vacancies and the significant number of individuals with a legal education registered as unemployed with the state employment service, which is increasing every year, shows not only the "overproduction" of lawyers but, above all, the low quality of their education.

 
The academic community and employers recognize the existence of problems associated with both educational content and teaching methods.

Demand for easy to obtain legal education increases in line with the number of educational institutions which have accredited academic programs for law but which are not always able to prepare specialists who meet modern requirements and are competitive in the labor market. These educational programs are still built on a positivistic understanding of law and a defining role for the state in society. Teaching methods are oriented towards paraphrasing the content of legislation rather than teaching critical thinking and the ability to apply the principles of law. Insufficient attention is paid to English as the language of international communication, without which it is impossible to properly exercise the legal profession.   

Finally, the backward understanding of the legal system conveyed to students does not meet the challenge for Ukraine's integration into the European legal space.

At a time when all the attention in the country is currently focused on judicial and constitutional reforms, it is worth considering what kind of training centers provide us with non-corrupt, professional judges, prosecutors, lawyers, notaries and work on resolving systemic failures in the justice system so that the process of lustration and recertification is not simply turned into a vicious cycle.

The desire to improve the quality of legal education has brought together people from different areas who have long been working on establishing a fair justice system and the rule of law in Ukraine while support from the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine and the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine has allowed to move from plans which have been dozens of years in the making to real action.

The scientific-methodical commission of the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine has begun work on drafting a new standards for legal education which are keenly expected by all law schools throughout the country without exception. It is this document, which after long debate by representatives of the academic community, has established an understanding of the range of knowledge and skills expected from graduates of next-generation law schools.

The next step was the launch of a completely new mechanism for admission to Masters of Law degrees by means of external independent testing. This project had several aims, the most important being the approbation of standardized testing technology, which has already been effectively used in the admissions process for undergraduate programs and reduces corruption risks facing higher education. According to the representatives of the higher education institutions, the pilot project has been successfully carried out and despite taking into account all deficiencies, has the potential to be extended as mandatory for all higher education institutions in Ukraine. In turn, for the initiators of this experiment, this is a sign of the potential to move forward and initiate more systemic and radical changes.

At this stage, it has become clear, that a coherent document with a overall vision of the reform of legal education in Ukraine needs to be developed along with a suggested plan of action for its implementation.

It took two months of debate and discussion to reach consensus until the the representatives of professional and academic groups in the legal sphere presented their professional thoughts on 14 September - The Concept for improving legal education and professional training in the legal sector in accordance with European standards of higher education and the legal profession.

The document and the measures proposed therein are quite radical, but because of the critical need to strengthen the system for guaranteeing civic rights and the many years of lack-luster and half hearted reforms in this area, it represents the minimum necessary to obtain results.

One of the most controversial provisions, which caused a stormy discussion, is the rejection of the traditional separation of the bachelor and master's level of higher education common in Ukraine.

Currently employment in a majority of positions in the legal field requires applicants to hold a five-year qualification, which due to the unreformed wording of the Law of Ukraine "on Higher Education" is understood to refer to a full postgraduate degree. However, in practice, students in two-year Master's degrees use this time as a sort of transition period between study and work in order to search for part-time job opportunities and enhance practical skills. Experts in the Working Group believe that academic training in the field of law can be optimized to 4 - 4.5 years.

Another reform to the the structure of legal education is the abolition of distance education programs at law schools, a format which to date merely simulates the learning process and promotes a corruption-enabling environment. Experience shows that professionals of a new level of quality may prepare only through intensive training, most of which takes place in lecture sessions in small groups using innovative teaching methods and technologies.

The most important achievement and at the same time the starting point of the strategy is a comprehensive understanding of the new kind of law school graduates and their mission in a society which has radically changed since Ukraine gained independence. Indeed under current conditions, lawyers no longer have a purely technical function of applying legal norms established by the state, but are instead responsible for a creative process of interpretation of the principles and doctrines of the law and their application to specific life circumstances in order to ensure most effective protection possible of both human rights and the rule of law. The next generation of lawyers should be professionals who not only have a solid theoretical background, but are capable of critical and creative thinking, arguing their position and making impartial and reasoned decisions, speaking English at a level sufficient for use in professional activities and acting according to ethical standards. These new expectations set out in the form of competencies, knowledge and skills, will be the basis of the new standard for legal education.

But even the new standard and updated educational programs can not completely solve the problem of a large number of law schools that are simply not interested in attracting high-quality students and are unable to produce graduates who meet the needs of society at large. The authors offer strategies to solve this problem by limiting the number of privately funded (by legal entities and individuals) student places in the discipline "Law", to 50% of the total number of state-funded places. Perhaps these measures will be of a temporary nature and will in future be resolved by self-regulation within the legal profession in coordination with autonomous academic bodies, ensuring that private interests of higher education institutions are considered alongside protecting the public interest. However at the current time, we must ensure conditions in which only the strongest law schools will be able to continue to operate and select the best applicants.

The mechanism of selection should also be improved, but considering that EIT entrance examinations worked successfully this year, implementing transparent Masters' degree studies also raise questions about standardized testing for final exams before graduating. Because we consider that education is a step towards admission to the legal profession, law degrees from any higher education institution must serve as proof that a graduate has all the abilities, skills and knowledge described in the standard. The system of state examinations is more of a formality and does not perform its selective function, so in order to ensure uniform educational quality, the concept proposes a unified state qualifying examination in the academic discipline, which will be carried out by the state examination commission.

The strategy lays the foundation for a new quality of legal education, which can only be achieved through structural and extensive changes. Accordingly, the methods of implementation vary from external intervention in the form of "shock therapy" designed to revive the system and to stimulate the gradual internal development of law schools which will be inevitable for survival.

The draft strategy has been published on website of the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine and the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine for discussion and the submission of proposals, and a Facebook group has been created to draw attention to the problems of legal education and public involvement to address them.

 
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What is a framework law? Why is it needed?

What are the main innovations of the new framework law "On Education"?

What are the prerequisites for further changes created by the new law "On Education"?
The drafting and adoption of a framework law "On Education" is essential for the development and reform of the entire education sector. The version of the law "On Education" currently in force was adopted in 1991 and it does not meet modern requirements and challenges. Its provisions do not take into consideration the integration of Ukraine into the European educational space.    

Due to its framework nature, the law's main purpose is to define basic functions and tasks - namely the establishment of a legal basis and the prerequisites for long-term educational policy. The framework law "On Education" will serve as the basis for specialized laws - "On School Education", "On Vocational Education" and other regulations.

Among the main changes provided for by the new law, the most important are changes to the school system namely:

1) Shift to the European structure for education systems, with schooling taking 12 years: Schools are to be divided into primary, middle and high schools. High Schools will be organized in two strands: academic and professional. The academic strand will prepare students for further study at university. Professional strand high schools will also include vocational education institutions, technical schools and colleges and is intended to provide students with their first professional qualification leading to employment opportunities immediately after graduation.

2) Expanded rights for education recipients: The draft defines three forms of education with equal rights including formal, informal and alternative. The results of all forms will be accepted equally. Parents will have a guaranteed right to choose the form of education for their children. In practice, this means that parents who choose to educate their children at home or in a learning group outside the school can do this without any obstacles.

3) Improving the status of teachers: This entails expanding the academic freedom of teachers, reducing all kinds of bureaucratic control (by state agencies and local governments) and creating conditions for unrestrained creative and professional development. Teachers themselves may choose their form of certification training. The law also provides for voluntary additional certification, successful completion of which will result in a salary increase.

4) Changes to curriculum development: The Ministry will no longer dictate what and how to teach and instead define the end result of of training. How to achieve these results will be at the discretion of the teacher.

In addition, changes have been made to the system of quality control in education. On the basis of the State Inspectorate of Educational Institutions (DINZ), an independent body will be established known as the Agency for Educational Quality Assurance which will be responsible for accrediting educational institutions (except higher education institutions which are subject to NAQAHE - National Agency for Quality Assurance in Higher Education). Regional units of the Agency will ensure the professional inspection of educational institutions, while local governments will no longer enjoy the right to conduct such inspections.
 
Currently the Law of Ukraine "On Education" is undergoing final amendments prior to the next step, which will be the approval of the overall draft in a second reading.

News section on the MES website
Read the main innovations of the Law of Ukraine "On Education"
The full text of the draft law "On Education"

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Dates have been publicized for preparing and holding the main EIT session for 2017, which will run from 23 May to 16 June.
Dates for main EIT tests in 2017:
 
Ukrainian Language and Literature - 23 May.
 
Spanish, German, French - 25 May.
 
English - 29 May.   

Mathematics - 31 May.
 
History of Ukraine - June 2.
 
Russian language - 6 June.
 
Biology - 8 June.
 
Geography - 12 June.
 
Physics - 14 June.
 
Chemistry - 16 June.
 
Registration of EIT participants take place from February 6 to March 17, 2017. EIT participants may make changes to their registration data until 31 March 2017.
 
Invitation-passes to attend external independent testing indicating the time and place of testing, will be published on participants' information pages by 28 April 2017.
 
The results of the main EIT session for all subjects will be placed on EIT participants' information pages by 23 June 2017 (Ukrainian language and literature, Foreign languages, Mathematics - by June 15, History of Ukraine, Biology, Russian language - by June 19, Geography, Physics, Chemistry - by 23 June).
 
The schedule for conducting an additional EIT session will be published 28 April 2017. Registration for the additional EIT session will be open to certain categories of persons who were unable to enroll in the main session (security services personnel serving in the anti-terrorist operation, persons from the occupied territory of Crimea and uncontrolled areas of the Donbass region), will take place from 3 to 19 May 2017.
 
Because the State Final Attestation (SFA) for 2017 will be in the form of EIT, EIT scores for entire tests or parts thereof will be used to determine the a candidates SFA score. Which part of EIT test questions will be used for the SFA score will depend on specific subjects. For example, certification tests for Ukrainian language and literature and History of Ukraine contain a subtest, the results of which will be used to establish the SFA score for 2017 graduates. For Ukrainian language, these are the test questions "Ukrainian language" and "Own expression" and for History of Ukraine these are "History of Ukraine from the 20th to the start of the 21st Century".

Parts of EIT papers for 2017 will also be used to determine high-school graduates SFA scores in Foreign languages and Mathematics. For other subjects such as Russian language, Geography, Chemistry, Physics and Biology assessment for the SFA will be determined by the results of the entire test paper. At a later date, characteristics of test papers will be published on the official website of the Ukrainian Center for Educational Quality Assessment and any interested party can take a closer look at the structure of individual tests.
 
MES Order approving the schedule of preparation and testing for EIT in 2017
Schedule of EIT 2017 on the website of the Ukrainian Center for Educational Quality Assessment
Section "Preparing for EIT 2017" on the website of the Ukrainian Center for Educational Quality Assessment
How SFA scores are established for various subjects

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On October 10, registration has begun for applications from schools to participate in the program GoCamp 2017. GoCamp is a new format of camps for the intensive study of English, organized in Ukrainian schools for students and teachers including volunteers from around the world.
 
The first English-language GoCamp camps were organized in the summer of 2016 in the framework of events dedicated to the Year of the English language in Ukraine.Teachers at the camps included 127 volunteers from 38 countries with 9,000 Ukrainian children aged 10 to 15 years taking part. Moreover, all the teacher-volunteers lived with Ukrainian host-families.   

An important aspect of GoCamp during 2016 was that most of the language camps with 80% of volunteers taking were organized in small towns and villages, with another 20% of volunteers participating in camps at regional centers. Children who participated in GoCamp 2016, became acquainted with other cultures, have expanded their view of the world, practiced their English skills and came to understand the importance of learning the language of international communication in practice. Volunteers represented countries such as USA, UK, Germany, Switzerland, Mexico, Spain, Brazil, Australia, China, India, Singapore and others.

GoCamp Organizers expect that the camps for the Summer of 2017 will be attended by about 1,000 volunteers from around the world and 100,000 Ukrainian students. Volunteers come to Ukraine at their own expense and work at GoCamp free-of-charge while living with Ukrainian host-families (host families). Therefore, a prerequisite for participating schools in the project is to provide volunteers with accommodation in such host-families.

Overall next year, GoCamp organizers plans to implement three projects: GoCamp - summer language camps across the country, AfterSchool GoCamp - language programs in which children are engaged in after-school programs at the end of the school year (implemented in Kyiv and Kyiv region), GoCamp East - language programs away from home for children from Donetsk and Lugansk regions.

Organizers emphasize that participation in camps GoCamp is not just about language learning, but also attracting students to a multicultural environment where they learn to work in teams, think critically and be tolerant of others. The purpose of GoCamp is to educate a new generation of fully developed and educated youth, ready to live in the 21st Century, fluent in foreign languages ​​and open to learning about and experiencing other cultures.

Registration of foreign volunteers who wish to work in Ukraine in 2017 and GoCamp Ukrainian schools that wish to participate in the projects, starts on October 10, 2016 at www.gocamps.com.ua . Acceptance of applications will continue until 1 December 2016. Based on the assessment of schools, ratings will be established based on which they will begin selecting volunteers in December.
For further information, please contact Tatyana Kirilenko call 050 97-93-596.
 
News section on the MES website
Section about "Summer language camps" on the MES website
GoCamp website, where you can sign-up and learn more about the project

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What changes are taking place with funding for vocational schools under the new law "On vocational education"?
 
For which trades and professions will there be publicly funded places?
Planned for 2017, changes to the financing model for vocational education in accordance withthe Law "On Vocational Education" imply that the financing of such institutions should come from several sources: through subsidies on providing general secondary education, regionally funded places for those professional and technical skills which are needed in a particular area (region, city), privately funded places paid for by businesses based on their needs for certain professionals, and through publicly funded places for certain trades and professions which are in demand nation-wide. Accordingly a list of trades and professions of national significance will be drawn up, training for which will be provided at the expense of the state budget.     

Identifying the most in-demand trades and professions in Ukraine and funding training for these from the state budget is important because it helps to resolve several issues: efficient use of budgetary funds, preparing well-trained tradespeople and professionals who have the best possible employment opportunities after graduation and assisting employers with training of essential personnel.
 
Currently, the Ministry of Education has signed and sent for approval to all interested executive authorities and social partners the draft Resolution "On approving the list of professions of national importance, training for which will be provided at the expense of the state budget". MES has suggested that the list should comprise 24 professions. While preparing the draft, proposals from employers were taken into account and monitoring conducted on those professions that had the largest number of vacancies as of 1 April 2016.
 
The most scarce specialists, whose training in vocational schools is carried out in publicly funded places are: "tractor-driver in agricultural production", "assembler of sanitary systems and equipment" and "tailor-cutter".
 
Also planned pilot project is to determine the 25 vocational schools of various types (in each region) which train the most sought after workers. It is assumed that in addition to public funding, the establishment of such centers can involve partnership with enterprises interested in obtaining skilled workers and international partners. An example of such a cooperation is the project "Public-private partnerships to improve sanitary education in Ukraine", which is run jointly by the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and the company "Hebert International Sales AG". The project has already created 6 interregional vocational centers based vocational education institutions in six regions which will train specialists in sanitary technology.

News section on the MES website
News section on the MES website
About the establishment of vocational education centers

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On 26 September 2016, the Tavriya National V.I. Vernadsky University which was transferred to Kyiv from the occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea began its work.
The Tavriya National V.I. Vernadsky University is a state higher education institution of level IV accreditation. The University includes 15 schools that prepare students for 41 academic disciplines. 

The university will carry its work in Kyiv at the facilities of the former Academy of municipal management. On 27 September 2016, the Cabinet of Ministers passed a resolution on the accession of the Academy of Municipal Administration to Tavriya National University. According to the decision, Tavriya University is the legal successor for all property, rights and obligations of the Academy of municipal management. In addition, students at the academy will continue their studies at Tavriya national university.    

In addition, Tavriya University will accept students from the occupied territories of Ukraine during the 2016-2017 academic year according to a soon to be prepared special admissions procedure.
 
16 higher education institutions displaced from the occupied territory of Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk regions currently operate in Ukraine. In January 2016, the Council of Rectors of displaced higher education institutions was established, which coordinates cooperation with between these institutions and the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine and other central authorities, and deals with organizational issues faced by displaced higher educational institutions.
 
News section on the MES website
Information on the website of the Tavriya National V.I. Vernadsky University
About the Council of Rectors of displaced Higher Education Institutions

 
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By adopting the respective law, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine has ratified the agreement between Ukraine and the European Atomic Energy Community on scientific and technological cooperation and association of Ukraine in Euratom's program of research and training for 2014-2018.
Euratom is the EU's research and training program in the field of nuclear energy. The program is linked to the Horizon 2020 program, which Ukraine joined in 2015 and the first results of which show that the amount of funds received in grants under the program already exceed the amount paid by Ukraine for its participation.    

Similarly to the principle of payment of membership fees by Ukraine for participation in the program Horizon 2020, Euratom provides our country with a 95% discount for its participation in the program and postpones payment for 2016 to the following years (2017-2018). The membership fee Ukraine's participation in the Euratom program will be EUR 300,000 while funds obtained from the research and training program should exceed this amount by several times.
 
The ability to participate in EU program at the national level is important for Ukrainian scientists and institutions as it expands their professional opportunities, ties them into international processes strengthens the Ukrainian state in the security sector.
 
In attation participating in the Euratom and Horizon 2020 programs is an important step in Ukraine's European integration.

News section on the MES website
Website of the Euroatom Research and Training Program

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The Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine launched an initiative to reduce the amount of "paperwork" for school teachers and administrators. The initiative will consist of several stages - an anonymous online survey, online discussion of the results and development common solutions to optimize "paperwork" in schools.
According to a study by the international consulting firm McKinsey & Company, teachers' personality is the key to the success of the school system. Therefore, qualitative changes in education are not possible without creating comfortable working conditions for school teachers and administrators. One of the important components of creating such conditions is relieving teachers and administrators from excessive paperwork and its optimization.     

That is why the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine together with the educational platform EdEra initiated an online survey "Children and paperwork: how to achieve balance in school?".Participation in the survey was anonymous and open to school teachers and administrators (principals, head teachers). The result of the survey was to determine the main problematic issues and "critical points" in the work of schools associated with workflow and reporting.
 
The next step - finding solutions to the most problematic issues related to "paperwork" in schools - will run from 6 November 2016 to 1 December 2016. At this stage, there will be open online discussion of the data and proposals will be prepared for possible further changes.
 
The Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine invites all interested school teachers and administrators as well as those who hold both types of positions to participate in the discussion as much as possible.
 
Page of the initiative "Children and paperwork: how to achieve balance in school?" on the MES website

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