By Umar Waqar Khan
Sandwiched between the Black Sea, Russian Federation, Romania, Poland and Belarus; Ukraine occupies a prestigious place in the civilizational development in Europe and Asia.Humans have inhabited the Ukrainian land mass since time memorial dating back to 32,000 BCE. From the Gravettian culture in the Crimean Mountains and 4,500 BCE Neolithic Cucuteni-Trypillian Culture to Iron Age colonization by Cimmerians, Scythians, and Sarmatiansuptoadvent of Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, and the Byzantine Empire followed by the Goths and Huns of the fourth century,Ukraine went through an evolution of cross cultural fertilization and progress. This was followed by interaction with Great Bulgaria,Khazar Empire and Islamic Tatars.
The rise of KievenRus and establishment of Eastern Slav tribes in the region constituted a golden age of transformation from 9th to 12th century. The area between Baltic and the Black seas thrived with trade,commerce and human development. Important thing to note is the centrality of Kiev in the framework of this empire and its contribution as a major stabilizer between Europe and Asia. The period of Golden Horde and advent of Islam in the region has been described as the Tatar Yoke, however historians have described this period as of historical significance as it brought European and Asian cultures together and ushered in an era of Turko-Mongol integration with Europe in this part of the world with strategic consequences for times to come.As per Wikipedia, Historians have debated the long-term influence of Mongol rule on Rus’ society. The Mongols have been blamed for the destruction of KievanRus’, the breakup of the ancient Rus’ nationality into three components, and the introduction of the concept of “oriental despotism” into Russia. Historians also credit the Mongol regime with an important role in the development of Muscovy as a state. Under Mongol occupation, for example, Muscovy developed its mestnichestvo hierarchy, postal road network, census, fiscal system, and military organization.
Ukrainian territories experienced another transformation under the Golden Horde, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and Polish Kingdom. After Great Northern War (1700–1721) Ukraine was divided among a number of regional powers. 19th century witnessed majority of Ukrainian territories integration into the Russian Empire.
As per Wikipedia,chaotic period of incessant warfare ensued, with internationally recognized establishment of independent Ukrainian People’s Republic. Independent Ukraine emerged from its own civil war. Then Soviet aggression and the Ukrainian–Soviet War followed, which resulted in Soviet victory. Ukrainian People’s Republic was occupied and state called Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic was created. On December 30, 1922 it became one of the founding republics of the Soviet Union. World War 2brought the tragedy of change of hands between German and Soviet forces with Ukraine suffering from devastation and destruction. The Soviet period was marked by positive and negative consequences; the contest of Cold War warranted the Soviet Regime to launch industrial development and education programmes in the autonomous republics but also needed strict state control. Ukrainian people were able to build a strong and modern agricultural base and industrial sector including state of the art space and aviation programmes.
Ukraine became independent again when the Soviet Union was dissolved, with 24th August as its independence day.She has developed and indigenous market based economy over a short period of twenty years and overcome basic challenges related to transformation. Fewsnap shots of Ukrainian development are referred from Wikipedia, “Ukraine produces nearly all types of transportation vehicles and spacecraft. Antonovairplanes (including the largest Aircraft ever built in the world) and KrAZ trucks are built and exported to many countries. The majority of Ukrainian exports are marketed to the European Union and CIS. Since independence, Ukraine has maintained its own space agency, the National Space Agency of Ukraine (NSAU). Ukraine became an active participant in scientific space exploration and remote sensing missions. Between 1991 and 2007, Ukraine has launched six self-made satellites and 101 launch vehicles, and continues to design spacecraft”
Ukraine is a major energy exporting country (in 2011, 3.3% of electricity produced were exported) 48% of total electricity is produced from nuclear power. The largest nuclear power plant in Europe, the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, is located in Ukraine.
As per a monograph published by UNESCO-CEPES, higher education in Ukraine has a long and rich history. Its students, graduates and academics have long been known and appreciated worldwide. The pioneering research of scholars working in the country’s higher education institutions and academies, such as Metro Mendeleyev, MykolaZhukovsky, and Yeugeny Paton, are part of the universal history of scientific progress.
During the first decade of its independence, attained in 1991, Ukraine underwent a historical transformation towards a new social order: from totalitarianism to democracy, from command economy to market economy, from a passive to an active social role of individuals serving their nation and local communities. Changes in the social structure, economy, and ideology involved also concurrent changes in the country’s social priorities, including education.
A brief history of Ukrainian education system especially in higher education is tabulated here extracted from the monograph on higher education by UNESCO-CEPES.
The first Ukrainian educational institution was the Ostrozka School, or Ostrozkiy Greek-Slavic-Latin Collegium, similar to Western European higher education institutions of the time. Established in 1576 in the town of Ostrog, the Collegium was the first higher education institution in the Eastern Slavic territories. In 1632, the BratskiyCollegium,in Kyiv, opened its doors. This institution, later renamed Kyivo-MohylanskyjCollegium,made a considerable contribution to the further development of Ukrainian higher education. In 1694, the government of Imperial Russia officially recognized Kyivo-Mohylanskyj Collegium as a higher education institution and in 1701 granted it the status of Academy (Kyivo-MohylanskaAkademija). In the mid-eighteenth century, the number of students enrolled at the Academy reached 1,200, including talented scholars from Ukraine, Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro, Greece, and otherEuropean countries.
By the end of the nineteenth century, within the boundaries of present-dayUkraine, universities in Kharkiv, Kyiv, Odessa, Lvov, and Chernivtsy hadbeen established. By 1914,Ukraine had 27 higher education institutions with a student enrolment ofapproximately 25,000.Due to the historical events that followed the October Revolution of 1917in Russia, Ukraine eventually became part of the Soviet Union. Consequently,its institutional framework, organization, and content of study programmesreflected those of the Soviet ideological orientation, with clear party controlover the educational system and organization of research. The number ofeducational institutions increased; by 1925, 35 institutes and 30 teachingsubdivisions were training future specialists in different higher educationareas. The opening of new laboratories and the establishment of newacademic traditions fostered further academic development.Organization of new research departments in higher educationand special research institutions helped to solve this problem.
By the end of 1928, 33,406 students were attending 38 Ukrainian highereducation institutions taught by 3,998 researchers and lecturers.By 1937 this number had increased to7,258 and by 1939 to about 10,000.During the entire Soviet period (up to 1988), over 22,000,000 individualsentered the Ukrainian higher education system. By 1988, Ukraine counted 146full-cycle higher education institutions, enrolling over 850,000 students. Since1960, the annual number of graduates of the full-cycle higher educationinstitutions has doubled, while that of secondary-level vocational schools hastripled.
HIGHER EDUCATION SINCE INDEPENDENCE
Having proclaimed its independence in 1991, Ukraine started thedevelopment and implementation of its own educational policy. Ukrainetoday aims at attaining European standards in terms of access to education,revival of national traditions, modernizing content, forms and methods ofteaching, and the development of the nation’s intellectual capital.The key concepts of the reform in education were defined by the NationalProgramme Osvita [Ukraine of the 21st Century] (CMU, 1993b) adopted by theFirst Congress of Ukrainian Educators in December 1992 and subsequentlyapproved by the Cabinet of Ministers. The Programme identified priorities inthe development of Ukrainian education, such as meeting the educationalneeds of all, irrespective of ethnic origin. The re-examination of the contentand coordination of Ukrainian education at all levels helped to achieve thetask, as well as to introduce progressive teaching ideas and technologies to anew generation of teaching staff.Other areas of reform included an increasing autonomy of educationalinstitutions, the reconsideration of State control in education, diversificationof educational planning and financing, and the democratization of academicgovernance.
Policy on Higher Education
The challenges of the twenty-first century call for a radical modernizationof the system of education and guaranteed self-realization of every personbased on lifelong education. At present, the priorities of the Ukrainianeducational policy include:
? Ensuring equal access to higher education;
? Changing the content of education and the structure of the educationalsystem;
? Developing continuous education and lifelong learning;
? Fostering the development of the Ukrainian language;
? Satisfying the needs for education of national minorities;
? Ensuring a better economic and social status for teaching andresearch staff;
? Integration of education and science;
? Development of pedagogical psychology;
? Implementation of information and communication technologies;
? Marketization of educational services;
? Integration of Ukrainian science in European and internationalresearch networks.
Ukraine is gradually increasing its allocations for education, aiming toattain European standards by spending a minimum of 10 percent of the GDPon education by 2015. Gradual decentralization, separation of budgetary andextra-budgetary resources, correlation between allocated funds andeducational services rendered, and a competitive fund allocation will ensurethe efficiency of educational expenditures. Annually-allocated State fundsdepend on costs per student. Various forms of financial support includedirect budget financing of tuition fees, State scholarships, various grants, andmunicipal loans.
Ukraine joined the Bologna Process on May 19, 2005, at the Conference ofEuropean Ministers Responsible for Higher Education, held in Bergen, Norway.This was an acknowledgement of the country’s continual pursuit of reform andmodernization of higher education, and of responding to the needs andaspirations of Ukraine since acquiring sovereign independence.
Ukrainian Model for PakistaniStudents
Ukraine is a new player for higher education in Africa and Asia; however she has made tremendous progress by crossing the figure of 50000 international students (mostly from Asia and Africa) and vying for doubling the figure by 2015.Ukrainian education system is affordable, accessible and maintains European standards; naturally attracting talented students from Asia and Africa. Despite limited diplomatic presence in Africa and Asia, Ukrainian education system has developed its own place in the entire continent from Cape to Cairo and South Asia to the Middle east. While European, American and Australian education institutions are becoming exorbitantly expensive, Ukrainian model has its inherent advantages where you can have a European experience of culture, history and research in peaceful environment and within parameters of international standards. For country like Zimbabwe, where Anglophone system of education is advantageous for joining institutions in Europe and North America, Ukraine is providing an economic alternative by offering programmes in English. Studying in Ukraine also exposes the talented students to the Slavic languages like Russian and Ukrainian which create another market for work in the Russian speaking countries.
Is Ukraine destined to play the same role in an increasingly volatile world of today as it played in the KievenRus period? I will leave this to history and posterity to judge; however I have a strong belief that Ukrainian education system is likely to bring a paradigm shift of higher education in the international arena,especially for the talented youth from Asia and Africa.
Ukraine Pakistan Relations
Pakistan Ukraine relations have grown within a short period of two decades; both have shared common interests in many fields including defence and armament production. Pakistan military has been a major buyer of Ukrainian tanks and Air Refuelers; Ukrainian military technology is second to none in terms of quality and affordability. However there is more space to diversify the relations and expand these to fields of Agriculture research, space research, information technology and higher education. Ukraine’s demographic patterns will put lot of pressure on its available work force and labour market, on the other hand her inclusion in the European Union and advancement in technology and higher education could make a win win position for both countries. Both countries can benefit each other by sharing ideas and increasing their economic interdependence through a calculated strategy. Pakistan and Ukraine could also inaugurate aviation traffic by PIA developing new routes to this part of the world reciprocated by Ukraine’s national carrier. Both could also develop a robust diplomatic partnership by playing more active role in Eurasia. While wishing the great people of Ukraine best of luck on their independence day on 24 August, I would urge both governments to venture into new vistas of cooperation.