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Envíos 10057

Enviado - 11 junio 2007 :  17:40:42  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita
Ukrainian National Examination Reform Receives $5 Million in Support from U.S. Government

Education Support Program
April 30, 2007

The Open Society Institute and International Renaissance Foundation (IRF) in Ukraine have in recent years worked with the American Councils for International Education to continue offering technical support to the Ukrainian government in introducing standardized external testing as a mandatory criterion for university admissions. In April 2007, the U.S. government provided $5 million to the American Institutes for Research and the American Councils for International Education to contribute building a testing system in Ukraine.

IRF and the Education Support Program have invested substantial human and financial resources into the testing project, which advocated fair and transparent entrance examination reform in higher education institutions in Ukraine over the last six years.

The IRF testing project started in 2001 with technical support from ESP. The first certified testing was conducted in 2003. Since then, the number of school leavers has increased year by year (2003: more than 3,000; 2004: 4,500; 2005: 9,000; 2006: 42,000; 2007: 120,000). Initially there were only three universities committed to fighting corruption at the tertiary level through introduction of external exams. Over the years the number of universities accepting the results of these examinations expanded, despite strong interests in perpetuating existing bribery and malpractice.

In 2004, the Testing Technologies Center, established by IRF to implement the project, prepared recommendations on the introduction of the external examination reform for the government, with technical assistance from ESP. This document formed the basis of a decree on the introduction of external testing and quality monitoring issued by the Cabinet of Ministers in 2004. This was a real breakthrough in the fight against corrupt practices during entrance examinations to tertiary institutions.

Additionally, the results of the pilot project were scaled up and became the basis for government reform. The practice of oral examinations during entrance exams to tertiary institutions, which was open to manipulation and malpractice, was to be gradually substituted by standardized examination. This process of reform accelerated after the Orange Revolution.

A 2005 presidential decree declared that transition to the external examination system for university entrance should be carried out in 2005-2006. A subsequent Cabinet of Ministers' decree stated that 2006 should be an experimental year, and 2007-2008 should be transition years for external examination reform to be implemented nationwide.

In 2006, the Ukrainian government introduced a national examination reform, which linked secondary-school exit exams with higher-education entrance exams (Matura). All universities were obliged to accept external testing certificates in lieu of entrance exams. The government allocated substantial resources for these changes and established the Center for Educational Quality Assessment to head the reform.

Many lessons can be drawn from the implementation of this project. Foremost is that it takes considerable time to achieve sustainable results on the scale attained in this case. It took at least two years of preparatory work and almost five hard years of implementing the project. However, without the committed project leader and the team of people who believed in the project and were prepared to work virtually around the clock to achieve the desired change, it would have been impossible to achieve what was done in Ukraine. On this note, ESP would like to extend special thanks to Liliya Hrynevych, former project manager, and the extended team of local and international experts who contributed selflessly to initiation and implementation of the national examination reform.

Special appreciation goes to IRF management and the foundation board for continuous advice and critical support during times when misunderstandings with high-ranking education officials on the social impact of the project required direct involvement of foundation representatives; as well as for investing considerable effort in making this pilot project a national reform.

For more information, please contact Natalia Shablya nshablya@osi.hu or Anna Toropova a.toropova@ukrtest.org.



Envíos 10057

Enviado - 20 diciembre 2008 :  00:43:20  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita
Ukraine Seeks Nationwide Linguistic Revival

By Peter Fedynsky - Simferopol, Ukraine
13 November 2008

The collapse of the Soviet Union left a complex mixture of ethnic groups in republics of the former empire. Their common language, Russian, expanded at the expense of native languages, which former Soviet republics are seeking to revive. Ukraine is demanding that students pass college entrance exams in Ukrainian, and the language is taught in all of the country's elementary and high schools. But as VOA Correspondent Peter Fedynsky reports, the effort involves practical obstacles, even outright hostility from some who are content to speak Russian.

A Ukrainian literature class in the Crimean city of Simferopol at School Number 25, where all other subjects are taught in Russian. Ukrainian is not the first language of these students, some of whom reveal greater proficiency than others. Eleventh grader Arthur Trotsky feels comfortable in both languages.

Arthur says there are people who do not like the Ukrainian language - basically grownups, because it is difficult for them to adapt. He says that children, however, are learning Ukrainian in school from grade one, and some even study it in depth. He adds that while older people are opposed, young ones support the Ukrainian language.

The vast majority of schools in Crimea use Russian for all subject matter, except Ukrainian. Raisa Masliuk, the principal of School #25, says if parents demanded that more courses be taught in Ukrainian, she would respond accordingly.

Masliuk says if there was a need to introduce Ukrainian classes, she would already be involved in personnel decisions, but her school does not face that issue. She says there are no applications that indicate children want to study in Ukrainian.

Demand for all-Ukranian schools increasing

But demand for all-Ukrainian schools in Crimea is slowly increasing. The 842 students at the Ukrainian School (Gymnasium) on the outskirts of Simferopol exceed the building's capacity. Half of the pupils are ethnic Russians and many have been turned away for lack of space.

Principal Natalia Rudenko says Crimean colleges do not prepare teachers for specialized Ukrainian language instruction.

Rudenko says colleges prepare teachers of Ukrainian language and literature, but not subjects such as history, mathematics and physics, which makes it difficult for all concerned. The administrator says the school tries to get around the problem by searching for teachers and instructing them on the spot in the local Ukrainian language community.

Teacher shortage breeds resentment

This teacher shortage breeds resentment among those who are otherwise favorably disposed to the Ukrainian language. Emine, a Crimean Tatar, is a student at the Ukrainian Publishing Academy in Simferopol.

Emine says teaching chemistry in Ukrainian, for example, is very difficult for the teacher and even more difficult for the student to understand. She notes that everything between Ukrainian and Russian is different - different words and different letters, which makes if difficult.

Older Russian speakers complain that Ukrainian is being forced upon the people of Ukraine. Magazines sold at newsstands, radio and television broadcasts, theater productions and virtually all conversations on the streets of eastern and southern Ukraine are in Russian.

Younger generation is comfortable speaking Russsian

Not surprisingly, Alexander Kolomayets, an elementary student at Simferopol's all-Ukrainian school, feels comfortable speaking Russian with friends.

Alexander says that when necessary, he and his friends speak Russian and switch into the language occasionally when they relax.

Some young people say speaking Ukrainian is cool or patriotic; those who grew up speaking Russian say their language is a fact of life and that they are no less patriotic Ukrainians. Ultimately, the resolution of Ukraine's linguistic divide may depend upon the recognition that learning any language is a difficult task that requires dedication and patience.

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Envíos 10057

Enviado - 21 mayo 2009 :  23:18:02  Mostrar perfil  Responder con Cita
Jewish University in Ukraine Concludes Second Year

Chabad.org News
Monday, May 04, 2009

The Southern Ukrainian Jewish University, a joint project between the Odessa Jewish community and the Southern Ukrainian State Pedagogical University, is celebrating its second anniversary with an open house for prospective students and their parents.

With a curriculum including classes in Torah, Jewish traditions and Hebrew language, the program combines religious instruction with the standard requirements leading to a business degree. New program offerings include speech therapy and computer design.

Founded by Chabad-Lubavitch Rabbi Avraham Wolf, Odessa's chief rabbi, the project also offers its students full scholarships, free housing and a free kosher meal plan.

University Dean Yevgeniy Borinschtein reported that the institution expects a significant increase in enrollment for clases beginning this fall.

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