Wednesday, 23 September

Although the Enrollment Campaign – 2018 has already been finished, for schoolchildren from the annexed peninsula and the occupied territories of Ukraine, it will last almost until the end of September. 

So, this year applicants, who were lucky to get to the state quota this year, actually received the status of students – they had to submit all the necessary for it documents until the 18:00 on August 6. The enrollment of future fee-paying students is still ongoing – their number is being determined by the highest educational institutions.

However, we have a separate category of entrants – young people from the Crimea annexed by Russia and from the occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions,  who enter the universities of Ukraine for a third year by the simplified system. Although the enrollments for the scholarships for them, as well as for the other current applicants, have already been completed, they can submit documents for the contract, through special educational centers “Crimea-Ukraine” and “Donbas-Ukraine” until September 28. If they want to have scholarships, they need to add a statement about this to the package of documents, which will be considered in the MES and, if possible, will be satisfied.

In the Ministry of Education and Science, based on the passing score in the top universities, have already identified the top ten most popular specialties of this year when enrolling in a broad bachelor’s competition, as well as masters in the medical, pharmaceutical and veterinary fields.

The greatest competition is among future dentists

What do we have as a whole? The top three of the most sought-after specialties are headed by dentistry: in universities subordinate to the Ministry of Health, the passing score is 193.494, the subordinate to the Ministry of Education – 188.5512. Those, who wish to study international law, are literally breathing down the dentists’ necks, where the passing score also “exceeded” 190 and amounted to 193.35, international relations, are with a passing score equal to 192.066.

The remaining seven most popular specialties among the current entrants are placed between 184 and 190 points: to get to the management of socio-cultural activities, it was necessary to score 188.6 points, students of the faculties of international economic relations – at least 186.7 points. Future journalists had to overcome the bar of 186.3 points, political scientists – 186.1 points. Those applicants, who chose history and archeology as the future profession – 184.6 points, students, who see themselves as industrial pharmacists – 184.4 points. The future culturologists had to overcome the bar of 184.3 points. Future philologists were also included in this list, especially those, who expressed a desire to learn Chinese, Swedish, and Japanese, where it was necessary to score more than 185 points.

The ministry noted that last year the biggest passing score (almost 197) was also for dentistry. The applicants, with whom we managed to communicate, smiled, they say, well, you understand, the dentist will never remain hungry, there will always be a bread to win… Among the leaders of last year were also international law, international relations, and pharmacy. The least popular among those applying the last year was avionics (aviation, cosmonautics), museology, nuclear power engineering, hydro-technical construction, shipbuilding, woodworking and furniture technologies, pedagogical sciences, religious studies, and hydropower.

According to the Director General of the Directorate of Higher Education and Adult Education, Oleh Sharov, the recorded changes are not significant, mostly the same specialties remain leaders. However, this year journalism hit the top ten, where the creative contest was crossed out. Whether this step is justified and whether it will give an opportunity to get a better quality of the journalists as the outcome, time will tell us, but now I note that even a high score in the certificates of the EIE is not a guarantee, first of all, of the literacy of future masters  – no, not of a pen, but of a keyboard, which personally I discovered for myself back in time, while heading the State Examination Commission in one of the universities that prepare journalists: the results of the dictation in the Ukrainian language were simply shocking.

There is still some time

But the admission to a broad competition, based on the EIE certificates is very often an insurmountable barrier for those, who are forced to live on the territory of the Crimea taken over by the enemy or uncontrolled by Ukraine parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. It’s clear that the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine is engaged in solving this problem. Therefore, it was in the MES that we asked how it is handled now, what is the entrance dynamics of the children from the Crimea, occupied by Russia and the captured Donbas, if we compare the current enrollment campaign to the last year’s, and what are the prospects for having a scholarship for those applicants who, for objective reasons, didn’t have time to file statements on time.

“Those, who claim for the budget form, through the educational centers “Crimea-Ukraine” and “Donbas-Ukraine” could apply until July 20. Although the deadline has already passed, this does not mean that for the graduates from the territories that are not controlled by Ukraine everything is lost, the Acting Director of the Department of Higher Education of the Ministry of Education of Ukraine Svitlana Kretovych explains to Opinion. If we are talking about Crimeans, then they had their own competition within the quota -2 Conditions for admission to universities. And the children from Donbas participated in the general competition. The scholarship enrollment is already completed; they can apply for a contract form until the end of September. And indeed, we have a certain number of places, which was freed as a result of a wide bachelor competition. So, if children from Crimea or uncontrolled Donbas territories that entered through educational centers are enlisted on a contract basis, they can submit to the university a statement that they want to get the scholarship. The higher educational establishment addresses to us, and then the competitive commission of MES considers these applications. For example, last year such statements were almost completely satisfied. But we are talking only about those children, who entered through educational centers”.

Both Crimeans and young people from Donbas choose different universities and different specialties. Moreover, some of these children are trying to enter the top universities, for which the main selection criterion is the high score, obtained during the passage of the EIE. Such entrants participated in a wide competition, which is currently practiced in our country when entering universities. And such a decision is talking for itself; they had to be aware of the risks. Mrs. Kretovych notes: “We have a certain number of applicants, who by the results of the EIE got to the top universities, they scored a small number of points, but they want the scholarship. That is why the MES encourages entrants from temporarily occupied territories, who want to study in Ukrainian universities and have a scholarship, to go through a simplified procedure through the educational centers “Crimea-Ukraine” and “Donbas-Ukraine”, because there is much more chance to get the scholarship”.

Cannot leave and don’t have documents

As it turned out, the public doesn’t stand aside from the solution of this very difficult problem. For example, the public organization “Open Policy Foundation” reliably has their backs. “For three years, our foundation has been supporting a hotline, together with UNICEF, for which applicants can turn for explanations on entering universities, vocational schools and distance education in schools, – Iryna Zhdanova, the executive director of Open Foundation “Open Policy”, says. This year, the number of calls has increased significantly. By July 2018, the hotline received 6,546 appeals, of which 349 were from uncontrolled territories, along the “line of demarcation”, 118 from the occupied Crimea. We even managed to fix a new record: on July 18 our consultants received 559 calls from the children and their parents in one day.

What problems are addressed? Most often, the matter concerns the crossing of the administrative border, the “line of delimitation”, the lack of the possibility of issuing ID-cards, certificates of registration in rural areas, since these children are usually registered in the uncontrolled territory. For example, parents called: they say that the occupation authorities seized birth certificates of many Crimeans. And when these children turn to the mainland to get an ID-card, they were not found in the Demographic Registry. Accordingly, such entrants cannot take advantages of the rural factor, so they enter universities by the usual procedure”.

According to Iryna Zhdanova, on July 16-18, the fund’s employees and the MES paid a monitoring visit to the Luhansk and Donetsk regions and made sure that educational centers “Donbas-Ukraine” work quite effectively. Through it children from uncontrolled territories and along the “line of demarcation” get to the higher and vocational schools without a passport, a certificate and the results of the external independent evaluation. This became possible also because the Crimean and Donetsk youth are helped, as they say, by the whole world. Thanks to the efforts of the staff of the Ministry of Education, the Foundation team, representatives of the Luhansk and Donetsk regional state administrations, as well as international organizations that have joined the process, placing an important information for this youth about how to get into Ukrainian universities. First of all, we are talking about postcards, posters, banners, audio/video on the check-points of entry-exit, radio stations, TV channels, print media, social services, centers for administrative services, social protection offices, employment centers and even cars of Ukrzaliznytsia and Intercity.

“We hope that everyone will be able to come…”

According to the Ministry of Education and Science, last year, 205 young people from Crimea entered the universities through the educational centers “Crimea-Ukraine”. Almost 1,400 people entered through the educational centers “Donbas-Ukraine” in 2017. The ministry says that this year they expect almost the same. Svitlana Kretovych emphasizes: “In any case, we are counting on it. But we will know the exact number of such students only in September when the educational centers will fully sum up the results. We hope that all those, who expressed a desire to study at Ukrainian universities, submitted documents, passed a competition, and they can reach us. And such work will not cease in the future, our children should learn from us, and we try to create all conditions for this”.

As it is about entering through the system of educational centers, Crimeans and young people from Donbas enter precisely those higher education institutions that have involvement with them. “Educational centers are equipped on the basis of certain universities, – Svitlana Kretovych notes. – As for the Crimea (this is “Crimea-Ukraine”), the corresponding order of the MES defines authorized higher education institutions, there are 35 of them. About the same number is also “Donbas-Ukraine”, but here it is primarily about the universities of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, and centers on the basis of displaced institutions. In Kyiv it is, for example, the Tavria University, in Vinnytsya – the Donetsk National University named after Vasyl Stus, universities are moved to Kharkiv and Kryvyy Rig”.

As Inna Kovaliv, an analyst of the Open Policy Foundation points out in her comment to Opinion, the educational centers “Donbas-Ukraine” and “Crimea-Ukraine” will operate until September 28. Inna Kovaliv explains: “And now, before September 26, children can without documents (passport, certificate, and EIE certificate) enter through the education centers for a contract and immediately write an application with a request to gain a scholarship. To do this, you need to fill out an educational declaration and pass two exams: the Ukrainian language and the History of Ukraine, and the third one is the profile subject chosen by the institution. There is another option: also, before September 26 to apply at first for a scholarship in a vocational and technical educational institution. Thus, these children will be able to obtain state-standard documents: a passport, a certificate, a legitimate certificate on the territory of Ukraine. They can prepare for the entrance exams with free video lessons on the educational Internet platform of the Foundation , where registration is not even required”.

Last year, they did not complain about the lack of housing

As the Acting Director of the department of higher education explains, educational center, it’s not just a center on the basis of a university or another institution of higher education, it’s the cooperation of the university and the school. Svitlana Kretovych notes: “The fact is that children, who enter through educational centers, in the overwhelming majority do not have a Ukrainian certificate, because they received education in temporarily occupied territories, not controlled by Ukraine. Therefore, the Ministry does its best to provide such applicants with the opportunity to receive Ukrainian high-school diploma. After the child passes the state final attestation on the Ukrainian language and the History of Ukraine, he or she receives a temporary certificate with which it’s necessary to come to the university and have an entrance examination. Next is the contest. In a few months, they get a certificate, which they attach to personal files. That is the way we are trying to solve several problems at the same time: to help to get a Ukrainian high-school diploma, and also to give the opportunity to enter the university without time loss”.

However, to become a student on the territory of Ukraine is, as they say, only half a battle, because if young people, who graduated from Ukrainian schools, live during the student’s time at parents’ houses, then the children from those territories don’t feel great here. The MES recognizes that one of the biggest problems for such students is the search for housing and, most importantly, the means for it. As Svitlana Kretovych notes, to help our children, who find themselves in difficult life circumstances, universities try to meet their needs. Those higher educational institutions, to which they enter, provide applicants from the Crimea and the uncontrolled Donbas with an opportunity to stay in dorms.

The Head of the Department explains: “If we talk about the results of the last year’s enrolment campaign, then there is not a single address that the dorm place was not given. However, this year we also negotiated with the educational facilities, so that they would keep this issue under special control. Therefore, basically, these students are provided with accommodation in the dormitory free of charge, and the entrance procedure is simplified, it only lasts for a few days, so as not to keep them longer than it is really necessary. And these children return by September when they have to study. I hope that this year there will be no problems with this either”.

Text by Larysa Vyshynska

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