MainPublications -
Special feature

Volodymyr Bugrov: "Education reform is not a sprint or a marathon. It is all tracks at once"

In Soviet times (up to the 1980s), only about 10% of school leavers received higher education, 40% chose secondary specialised education (what is now called vocational higher education), another 40% - vocational education, and 10% - on-the-job training. These figures varied from republic to republic, but on average, the picture was something like this, said Volodymyr Buhrov, rector of the Kyiv National Shevchenko University, during the discussion panel "Ukrainian Education during the War: Challenges and Opportunities" (held as part of the joint project of and EFI Group New Country). 

Volodymyr Bugrov
Photo: Max Trebukhov
Volodymyr Bugrov

With the collapse of the USSR, technical schools automatically became institutes, institutes became academies, and academies became universities. Without any reforms or optimisation of educational institutions, the rector stressed.

"From the very beginning, we let the system go when it was time to cut it. And in fact, the ministry has always had a tool - compliance with licensing requirements. There was no need for legislation, just control in the field of education, as provided for by the current legislation. All this could and should have been done. But this requires political will," said Bugrov. 

According to him, education is always embedded in the system, and the problems in higher education begin in secondary education.

"I have a marker: I teach Introduction to Philosophy to first-year students. I ask the students, who came to us as if on purpose, which of them had read Nikolay Kun's Myths and Legends of Ancient Greece. Since 2008, the curve has been going down. This is the Faculty of Philosophy!" said the head of the KNU. 

According to Volodymyr Bugrov, the education system in Ukraine should be reformed comprehensively - sometimes urgently, sometimes with changes in the future. 

"There should be a running team, just like in athletics. There are sprints, middle distances, long distances, and marathons. And a good team has all four types of runners. If a sprinter doesn't run a marathon, it's not his thing. A marathon runner won't run a sprint, even though he runs in training.

But all the tracks must be there at the same time. Why? Because we chased IT popularity and almost ruined mathematics.

We chased the economy. What university has a separate geology department? You find only one, it's on the verge of balancing, but we keep him," the rector said. Last year, Volodymyr Buhrov closed the Farsi (Iranian) enrolment due to "emotions", and today Farsi translators are in great demand.

"What can we do? We can plan short tracks with the help of business. We have [joint study programmes] with GlobalLogic, Genesis or Luxoft. We can plan middle tracks, for the same master's degree, so we have a de-occupation programme on the basis of the former presidential academy. Once ordered, we work. We can plan long tracks - a bachelor's degree with schoolchildren. We can plan a marathon. There is no other option," says Bugrov. 

Volodymyr Bugrov (left) and Mykhaylo Vynnytskyy
Photo: Max Trebukhov
Volodymyr Bugrov (left) and Mykhaylo Vynnytskyy

He agrees that Ukrainians - both employees and students - are valued abroad for their education, hard work and manners. However, they received their fundamental education in Ukraine, the rector of the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv stressed. 

"Ukraine, despite all the troubles and criticisms that everyone here can make in packs, is a place of opportunities if you want to develop. Yes, we do not have such equipment, we do not have such access to networks [as abroad], but this sometimes stimulates the search," said Buhrov and added that the university trains Olympic teams in chemistry, mathematics, biology, astrophysics, so there are opportunities to study and develop if you want to. 

"We have no other country, no other education. When the reform is completed, education may be different, but now it is as it is," summed up Volodymyr Bugrov. 

Read news on social networks Facebook, Twitter and Telegram