Nature: "Modernize Ukraine's university system"

05/12/2011 | Skapirus
Alexander Gorobets
Nature 473, 154 (12 May 2011) http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/473154c

Twenty years after independence, the Ukrainian government is trying to stay competitive in scientific areas such as aerospace, applied mathematics, theoretical physics, energy and organic farming. But its higher education is still tied to the old Soviet system.

The government's intended reforms do not go far enough towards meeting international standards. For example, Ukrainian scientists are trained for a Soviet-style Doctor of Sciences (DSc) degree, which is not based on original research or external peer review. Scholars instead spend 1020 years on unproductive, essentially bureaucratic work. Therefore, despite a doubling in the number of DSc students over the past 20 years (see http://go.nature.com/f8agxb), international ratings for Ukrainian universities have remained low.

A paucity of publications in international peer-reviewed journals also stems from Ukraine's academic promotion system, which fosters inertia among research scientists, and from poorly developed skills in foreign languages.

Ukraine's universities need to adopt internationally recognized standards, promote autonomy under democratic and competent management, and support academics to encourage them to stay at home.
Author information

Alexander Gorobets
Sebastopol National Technical University, Ukraine.

: "Nature: " - http://maidanua.org/static/mai/1142165229.html


  • 2011.05.12 | Iryna_

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    • 2011.05.12 | Skapirus

      , Correspondence.

      pdf, vhavrus{yxo}yahoo.com, .
  • 2011.05.13 | Iryna_

    Re: Nature: "Modernize Ukraine's university system"


  • 2011.07.29 | Skapirus

    Science: Hidden Declines in Post-Soviet Education


    SINCE RUSSIA AND UKRAINE GAINED THEIR independence in 1991, the number of students enrolled in higher education degree programs has substantially increased; in Russia, 3.4% of the population in 1991 increased to an impressive 6.7% in 2008, and in Ukraine, 3.1% grew to 6.3%, both higher than the 2008 percentages for the United States and Finland (5.9%) and the United Kingdom (3.9%) (1, 2). Likewise, in Russia, 54% of the population has a tertiary degree, compared with 41% of the U.S. population and 33% of the population in the United Kingdom and 36% in Finland (3).

    The numbers mask the reality: The quality of the education system in post-Soviet countries has been declining steadily in the past two decades, as measured by the graduates ability to meet state educational standards and qualification levels (4). The lack of national funding forces public universities to depend on tuition fees, which in turn has led them to compromise their academic standards to admit students who can pay. Meanwhile, many private institutions prioritize making a profit over education quality.

    The internal quality assessment of higher education and academic rewards in these countries is not based on international standards such as published journal articles in international peer-reviewed literature, but rather on archaic Soviet bureaucratic criteria such as the number of old-fashioned doctoral degrees (5) one has earned. Because of this system, faculty have little incentive to research foreign literature and publish in international journals. Many professors lack the foreign language skills necessary to do internationally competitive research and teaching. Talented scholars are forced to realize their potential in foreign reputable universities, and as a result, there is a defi cit of qualified faculty.

    This socio-institutional crisis in the education system is a result of autocratic incompetent governance at all levelsincluding inefficient budget spending, staffing based on connections rather than merits, and increasing corruptionand the still-dominant Soviet mentality among the population, which places more value on a diploma than on substantive qualifications.

    Reform of the post-Soviet education system should focus on the quality of education rather than the misleading quantity of graduates. This can be achieved by integrating independent evaluations of both faculty and graduates into the system, and by providing talented scholars with incentives to stay in the country and to cultivate quality research and teaching that live up to international standards.

    Department of Management, Sevastopol National Technical University, Universitetskaya 33, Sevastopol 99053, Ukraine.

    1. UNESCO, Institute for Statistics, Data Centre, Predefined Tables, Education, Table 14: Tertiary Indicators (http://stats.uis.unesco.org/unesco/TableViewer/tableView.aspx?ReportID=167).
    2. UNESCO, Institute for Statistics, Data Centre, Predefined Tables, Education, Table 26: Historical DataTertiary Education (http://stats.uis.unesco.org/unesco/TableViewer/tableView.aspx?ReportID=3677).
    3. Education at a Glance 2010: OECD Indicators, Table A1.3a, p. 36 (http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888932310092).
    4. I. Kurilla, Reforming Russias Higher Education System, PONARS Eurasia Policy Memo No. 153 (2011).
    5. R. Petrov, Eur. J. Legal Educ. 5, 26 (2009).
  • 2011.07.29 | Torr

    Who is Alexander Gorobets?

    • 2011.07.30 |

      Re: Who is Alexander Gorobets? , .

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