The beginning of the new academic year is approaching, and with it - the next stage of accreditation of university study programmes. This, as well as some plans of the National Agency for Higher Education Quality Assurance (NAQA) to improve and adapt accreditation procedures to wartime conditions, were discussed during the visit of Andrii Butenko, Head of the Agency, with his deputies Olena Yeremenko and Ivan Nazarov, to Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute on 14 July.

KPI has already accumulated considerable experience in accrediting its programmes, but in order for each of them to be successful, it was necessary to work hard and, finally, to build a system of preparation for external evaluation of its educational activities at the university. Oleksii Zhuchenko, Acting First Vice-Rector, Director of the Department of Educational Quality, spoke about it during a meeting of the NAAQA leaders with the university management. In fact, his presentation was called "The system of internal quality assurance of education at Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute in the context of accreditation of educational programmes". Facts prove its high efficiency.

"In 2019 - 2022, 71 educational programmes of Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute were accredited, and 15% of them were recognised as exemplary. We do not have any conditional accreditation," said Oleksiy Zhuchenko. It should be added that these are 19 educational and professional bachelor's programmes, 13 educational and professional master's programmes, 2 educational and scientific master's programmes, 37 educational and scientific PhD programmes. It is worth noting that less than a dozen universities in Ukraine can boast of not having conditional accreditation.

He also spoke about the priority areas of the internal quality assurance system, which allows preparing university programmes for successful external accreditation procedures. Its peculiarity is the involvement of employers in the development and implementation of educational programmes, participation in the assessment of the quality of educational programmes of higher education applicants, improvement of the academic integrity policy, studying the opinion of employers, as well as further monitoring of the career path of graduates.

Rector of KPI, academician of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine Mykhailo Zgurovsky told more about cooperation with employers. "We focus not only on formal lists of requirements for educational programmes, but also, above all, on the requirements of our leading employers. Large multinational companies that compete fiercely in their markets are the best advisers for us on what kind of specialists can be competitive in the labour market today," he stressed. "But, of course, the internal exchange of information between Ukrainian universities is also very useful.

Among the problems raised by the participants of the meeting was the issue of accreditation fees, which is very relevant, especially in the current situation in the country. It is worth noting that the cost of accreditation of one study programme is growing every year: if in 2019 it was just over 51 thousand hryvnias (and this does not include travel expenses for experts), in 2022 it will be over 67 thousand hryvnias. Thus, over the past three years, Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute has spent more than UAH 3.5 million for these purposes. It is extremely difficult to find such funds during the war, so the problem is really acute. Andriy Butenko informed that, realising this, the Agency is actively working to solve it. In particular, it is proposed that until the end of the martial law regime in the country and until the end of the year, when this state ends, universities can choose the form of accreditation themselves. This can be a traditional form, with three experts visiting the university; accreditation in a remote mode, developed during the COVID-19 pandemic, and today also dictated by the safety of both teachers and experts; or conditional, according to the Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine of 16.03.2022 No. 295, for a period of 1 year without or with partial examination, that is, on formal grounds. This is important because the cost of accreditation largely depends on the form of accreditation, so the cost of accreditation under one of the latter two forms will, of course, be less. In addition, according to the head of NAAQA, ways are being worked out to reduce the basic fee as much as possible, and if the new methodology for its calculation is approved by the relevant government agencies, it will be reduced by more than a third.

Other issues that provoked lively discussion included ways to introduce independent accreditation of programmes. "In the world, in developed countries, accreditation is primarily handled by professional societies," Mykhailo Zgurovsky reminded, "It's the way things work there because the business has decided so... Of course, things work differently in different countries, and there are differences even depending on the industries. In Ukraine, we should develop a system of registration of such centres at the state level, as they have begun to appear here. In the process of such registration, a certain criteria base could be created, because each such centre, whether in Europe or in other countries, is founded by a professional agency. Perhaps we could think together about how to create such a framework, because while it does not exist, the range of quality assessments may be too wide." By the way, KPI already has such a centre - the Centre for Independent Accreditation of Engineering Education Programmes of the Association of Rectors of Higher Technical Educational Institutions of Ukraine, whose head Bohdan Duda also took part in the meeting with the NAHEQA leadership. According to Andriy Butenko, the Agency he heads also dealt with this problem, and only the outbreak of war suspended this work, but it is certainly needed and will continue after the war.

Speaking to the university media after the meeting, Andriy Butenko highlighted the achievements of Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute in creating and operating an internal system of quality assurance. "Building such a system is very important. It is the ability to conduct self-analysis, identify and quickly solve your own problems, and plan new good projects. It was extremely interesting for us to get acquainted with your system and discuss ways to further improve it. Your university's practice of developing an independent Agency for Quality Assessment of Technical University Programmes is also interesting. This could be a good platform for developing similar independent agencies at other universities or professional associations." And in response to the question of the editor-in-chief of KP whether and how the NAQA plans to disseminate the experience of Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute, Andriy Butenko explained: "The policy of the National Agency is that we accumulate the experience of different universities and deepen the possibilities of sharing this experience. For this purpose, a special information system has been created, where each university, while undergoing accreditation, acquaints all interested parties, all stakeholders with its own system of both managing internal quality systems and implementing them. This is already public information and anyone can get acquainted with the elements of such systems."

Therefore, from his last words, it follows that by creating an effective system of quality assurance, Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute helps not only its faculties and guarantors of educational programmes in preparing for accreditation, but also other Ukrainian universities that can use its elements in their own activities. This is also important because Ukraine needs qualified specialists regardless of which university they graduated from. And after our victory, we will need even more of them, because the country will not only be rebuilding, but also renewing and developing.

NAQA Visits Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute

Andrii Butenko, the head of the National Agency for Higher Education Quality Assurance, paid a working visit to Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute.

During the meeting, the current problems of accreditation of educational programs and cooperation between Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute and NAQA were discussed.

Over the past two years, 71 educational programs have been accredited at Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute, 15% of which have been identified as exemplary.

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