09:49 22.12.2021


Kramatorsk case. Transform Ukrainian universities into the 3.0 model

5 min read
Kramatorsk case. Transform Ukrainian universities into the 3.0 model

Eduard Mkrtchan, entrepreneur, economic expert, head of a charitable foundation

After two years of pandemic, the world began to focus differently on the values ​​of university potential. The higher education system was quicker than others to navigate in COVID-realities. And earlier than others she offered the society anti-crisis algorithms. Many research and student platforms became centers of analysis of public policies and strategies.

The result is research programs and applications aimed at curbing the virus and its effects. The most notable marker is the well-known vaccine, the name of which is consonant with the brand of the British University.

Even before the pandemic, the world’s leading universities began their transformation from a rapidly obsolete research center to a model "3.0". Its essence is the strengthening of educational and scientific activities by the mission of innovative development of territories. This mission is historic for classical universities. For example, in the Kyiv-Mohyla and Ostroh academies, which formed the Ukrainian elites, they initiated book printing and determined the national consciousness.

Responsible leadership stimulates innovation challenges. For example, in Finland, since 2007, universities have been legally assigned the functions of innovative development of territories. A striking example is the provincial town of Joensuu, which has become a technological park and a center for technological research.

This role implies an impact on the economy, the quality of human capital and the innovative potential of the community. It forces universities to drift from the periphery to the epicenter of social processes.

In Europe, the boundaries between academic and applied knowledge are blurring. Innovation centers are moving into the university walls. Students are not simply given basic knowledge. They are taught to develop technologies, forming an entrepreneurial spirit in them.

At the same time, the conservatism of the educational system in Ukraine became apparent. She has not shown leadership in the development of the country or individual regions. Including Donetsk and Luhansk regions, where the pandemic was aggravated by the war and occupation.

Moreover, in this region we are witnessing crisis, associated with the relocation of ten universities from Donetsk and seven from Luhansk to the territory controlled by Ukraine. They could have given impetus to the development of local communities, but have now become shackles to their budgets. For example, the Donetsk Medical and Donetsk National Academy of Civil Engineering and Architecture, which moved to Kramatorsk at the beginning of the war, entered into a constructive dialogue with the city hall only after its reboot in 2020. And before that, they fought for existence, proving their right to live.

An important marker, which indicates the understanding of the current Kramatorsk authorities' of the value of the higher education system was the proposal of Mayor Oleksandr Honcharenko to equip Donetsk Medical University in the buildings of one of the local enterprises. Project visualization has already been presented. Of course, the path from idea to implementation will take a long time. But the first step in the case has been taken.

In the long run, one of the facets of Kramatorsk's positioning may be the status of a university hub in medicine and construction. Here are the conditions for the start - institutions, initial human resources, generations of students with new thinking. And most importantly - the region's colossal need for innovation.

It is not too late for Ukraine to stake on the trend of "responsible universities". This task is especially relevant for Donetsk and Luhansk regions. The region must respond to economic, environmental and infrastructural challenges. It is not enough to state external changes. It is important to predict them by offering applied solutions. This mission is for strong universities capable of transformation.

Responsible leadership is for responsible players. For relocated universities, it is necessary to consider the options for merging. This is a requirement of competition. For example, Luhansk National Agrarian University is torn between Slovyansk, Kostiantynivka and Starobilsk.

It is important for Ukraine to see the instruments for moving forward in the system of universities. This is a strategic untapped resource. We need solutions to prevent stagnation, de-industrialization and unemployment. University potential can play a decisive role in this. It should be considered more broadly than training, retraining or advanced training programs.

The transformation into a university of a third level requires focusing on the interests of society, business, and government. This will give the right to apply to the formation of regional strategies and economic models. Strengthening the self-sufficiency of the educational institution and the human resources of communities.

Innovation stimulates the involvement of competitive staff. Go beyond the usual market of applicants, students and teachers to find talent in other regions or countries. These are investments in human capitalization and community competitiveness.

Responsible leadership is a magnet that attracts talented graduates. And this is a motivator for their further work for the benefit of local communities. Which will provide innovative development of the region, expert support of self-government, capitalization of the territory.