The National University “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy” Files a Lawsuit against Ukraine’s Ministry of Education in Defense of University Autonomy and Contemporary Standards of Higher Learning

The National University “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy” has initiated a lawsuit at the Regional Administrative Court in Kyiv which challenges the efforts of the Ministry of Education of Ukraine to annul cross-over admissions into  Master degree level programs at its school. The Kyiv-Mohyla academy introduced its Master level program (two years prior to Ukraine’s nationwide implementation) as a second tier of higher learning in 1996, and based it upon conceptual models implemented throughout the world. Since 1998, an anomalous principle of direct correspondence between Bachelor and Master Degree program qualifications is being adhered to even though it violates Ukraine’s current law “On Higher Education.”

For example, in our country a Bachelor degree level graduate in physics can only apply to a Master’s program in physics, a history student to a Master’s level studies in history. A financial advisor does not have the right to apply for a program in economic theory; a specialist in culture cannot cross-over to philosophy, and so on. This absurd approach violates multidisciplinary and mobility strategies which are practiced in the European Union’s sphere of higher education and in Russia, and negatively influence the educational process and the quality of higher learning. Nowhere in the world, except in Ukraine, is a Master’s program applicant questioned on what discipline their Bachelor’s degree is in. You just need to successfully pass the entrance exam.

During the last two-and- half years Dmytro Tabachnyk has attempted to eliminate the requirement of English as a second working language at the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy and to rewrite the Statutes of this University. Currently Mohylyanka, and all Ukrainian institutions of higher learning, cannot increase, or even make more pliable, requirements of its graduates that do not uniformly conform to the “List of competitive subjects in Ukrainian Center for Educational Quality Assessment certification indicating the number of points with which the applicant is allowed to participate in the competition for admission to study in the areas of …” For example, the requirement for English language certification for all of our graduates is obviously necessary. The very existence of such a list cripples the autonomous functioning of universities. Institutes of Higher Learning are capable of accessing how many and what kind of certifications it requires.

The farcical reappointment of Dmytro Tabachnyk as Minister of Education will inevitably lead to the further degradation of Ukrainian higher education, and to the discreditation of the achievements of the academic world and the general public (especially independent external evaluation and the draft law “On Higher Education” by the working group led by the rector of the Kiev Polytechnic Michael Zhurovsky).

The Kyiv-Mohyla Academy considers the demands of Ukraine’s Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport to cancel the ability to “cross-over” to Master’s programs to be an encroachment on its educational process in which students shape their own learning trajectory.  This system became the basis of the quality of education in NaUKMA. Instead of studying and implementing successful foreign and domestic models of higher learning in Ukraine, Dmytro Tabachnyk continues a policy of isolation through a brutal unification policy of higher education in Ukraine. Our lawsuit seeks to protect the public and government interest with regard to the need to improve the quality of Ukrainian universities and their competitiveness in the international arena.

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