The educational process in higher education institutions is resumed in Ukraine. The necessity of that was declared in the letter from the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine "On the End of the Academic Year" №1 / 3417-22 dated 10.03.2022; and the letter “On Providing Information” № 1/3463-22 dated 15.03.2022 said about the peculiarities of the work of lecturers under martial law. Three meetings held at the Ministry were also devoted to this issue. They developed recommendations for the resumption of the educational process. “The universities that have the opportunity and are in a situation that allows them to return to the educational process are recommended do so, - the results of these meetings were announced by the Rector of Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute Michael Zgurovsky at the meeting of the Rector's Office - University Coordination Headquarters for response and ensuring the viability of the university, which took place on March 21. - At the very least, give students who are to graduate this year - bachelors, masters - to complete their studies, as they have about a month and a half before thesis defense, which the Ministry proposes to replace with special final exams”. Order of the Ministry of Education and Science № 265 dated 21.03.2022 "On Attestation of Graduates of Professional Pre-higher, and Higher Education Institutions" and the university order "On measures to organize and conduct the educational process during the martial law regime" became the normative and legal basis for the resumption of studies at Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute.
Some universities have already begun the process of returning to the educational process. These are, for example, the National University of Life and Environmental Sciences of Ukraine, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv. Moreover, even Kharkiv universities are working on this - the National Technical University "Kharkiv Polytechnic Institute", Karazin Kharkiv National University, and other Ukrainian higher education institutions.
On April 4, Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute resumes studies. Of course, they will be held remotely. And, given the situation in the country and in the city, the educational process will have several differences from those formats to which students and lecturers have become accustomed in some way due to the coronavirus pandemic. The meeting of the Administrative Council of the Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute, a number of consultations at the level of the university administration and its subpisions were devoted to the organizational issues of the resumption of education and its peculiarities in the martial law. These issues were also discussed at the above-mentioned meeting of the Rector's Office - the University Coordination Headquarters for emergency response and ensuring the vital activity of the university. The decisions taken, process of resuming work and principles on which it will be based are detailed below.
"We have to take care of our students and postgraduate students. And, of course, about our employees. We take into account their situation and the real opportunities to learn and teach that they have today, - this is how the First Vice-Rector Yuriy Yakymenko defined the main principle of organizing the educational process at the university in the current conditions at the meeting of the Administrative Council of Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute on March 15. - A Google survey form is launched for all academic, research and teaching staff through personal offices in the E-campus. This is a survey of all employees in this category without exception. When filling it out, they have to determine the format of their work. The wage will be paid on time based on the full workload of the academic staff, including lecturing, research and teaching activities in the remote mode according to inpidual plans. As for teaching and support staff, managerial staff, and other categories, the work schedule for them will be determined by the heads of departments." Yuriy Yakymenko emphasized that it is the employee who must independently determine the form of his work. But he highlighted that this should be a full-fledged job: "If they can provide distance teaching, we accept it. There are no restrictions on his whereabouts - in Ukraine or abroad. The wage will be paid for the work done... If a person is unable to perform their functional duties due to circumstances beyond their control, a forced downtime application is prepared. Such employees will be paid a position salary. These circumstances may be dictated by their stay in a live fire situation, etc."
The interim staff survey findings were announced at a meeting of the Rector's Office on March 21: more than 95% of lecturers are ready to work remotely and provide the educational process.
It is worth noting that the decision has already been made of the certification of scientific and pedagogical workers who were to enter the competition in the near future to be postponed until August 31.
Detailed provisions on the organization of work of university staff are set out in the order "On the order of work of Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute employees under the legal regime of martial law" (see).
On March 21 the interim students survey findings showed that more than 90% of them have connections with faculties and departments. Approximately 90% of students also have access to the internet. At the same time, 57% of respondents can and would like to continue their studies remotely, and more than 76% of 4th year undergraduate students have expressed their readiness and desire to complete the study program this semester. Additionally, the opportunity to get acquainted with all survey findings was provided by representatives of students’ self-governing bodies. It should be noted that Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute, like other Ukrainian universities, within its autonomy can decide on the restoration and forms of organization of the educational process and use flexible approaches to educational interaction of participants in the educational process. Students will be given the opportunity to choose and hear courses remotely in synchronous (traditional, i.e., real-time) or asynchronous modes. The courses they choose will receive optional status in their educational programs and will be considered in the curriculum. If there are courses that could not be organized in the current semester, they will be rescheduled for the next semester. Non-graduation courses will allow early completion and consideration of non-formal learning outcomes. For those who will not be able to study either synchronously or asynchronously, it is possible to provide an inpidual schedule, or in case of emergency, to take an academic leave.
For students of the last year of the bachelor's degree, the educational process will be completed this June. Preparation and defense of qualifying works for them can be replaced by final qualifying exams, which will be administrated remotely. For those students who will not be able to complete their studies in June, it will be proposed to apply for academic leave with the possibility of renewal and completion of studies at another time convenient for them (by the way, if a person is called to the Armed Forces of Ukraine, such leave is granted automatically).
The only category of graduates who have to submit a qualification work are masters who have studied in educational and scientific programs ("scientific masters"). It is not planned to replace such works with qualifying exams for them, as otherwise their diplomas will not be recognized. Therefore, they have to either complete the full cycle of qualifying work preparation or take an academic leave to return to work at a convenient time. The defenses of "professional masters" have already passed.
As for the legitimacy of higher education diplomas. According to the Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine Serhiy Shkarlet in his Telegram channel, the work of EDEBO has been fully resumed. So, since March 21, educational institutions can enter students’ data, gather information for graduates about educational documents, obtain registration numbers of Appendices to higher education diploma of European standard, to apply for licensing of educational activities licensing and more. The functioning of the EDEBO registers, verification of the validity of educational documents, etc. has also been resumed.
The issue of accreditation of study programs is also important, as it is impossible to graduate with a degree in non-accredited specialties. According to the First Vice-Rector, decisions will be made on our study programs which the NAQA expert panels have already processed, and they will be published soon. The final point on those specialties for which the certificates expire was set by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, which adopted a resolution "On the peculiarities of accreditation of educational programs, which are carried out by applicants for higher education in martial law" at its meeting on March 16. According to it, from now on the validity of accreditation certificates of higher education institutions (scientific institutions) in specialties and areas of training and certificates of accreditation of educational programs for training of higher education, which were valid on February 24, 2022, extends until July 1, 2023, upon termination or abolition of martial law in Ukraine.
Returning to the educational process, we would like to add that the Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs Anatoliy Melnychenko spoke about some of its possible forms and time limits at the meeting of the Administrative Council: "For students of the 4th final year of the bachelor's degree, we are somewhat shifting the educational process. Theoretical training, which was planned but not conducted earlier, will have to be conducted in April. But in different forms - asynchronously or synchronously, remotely or flexibly. Hence, practicaal training should also be organized flexibly - either on the basis of departments or, if possible, in the current places of students’ stay. The way it was done in 2020, when the pandemic began, can serve as a model. The practice can be carried out remotely. Of course, this will not be very similar to the traditional organization of practical training, but it is possible to do so. For example, based on our Regulations on the Recognition of Formal and Non-Formal Education Results, the participation in the activities of the IT Army of Ukraine may be credited for IT specialties. That is, we must work in the mode of maximum flexibility. Conducting and registration of the practical training will be postponed to May, and the final certification for the 4th year is scheduled for June”.
So, as the Rector Michael Zgurovsky pointed out at a meeting of the Rector's Office on March 21, the university offers a multivariate approach to organizing and ending the academic year, which allows students and lecturers to choose the best option in the current circumstances.