On April 23, 2024, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted in the second reading the Law of Ukraine "On Amendments to Certain Laws of Ukraine on the Development of Individual Educational Trajectories and Improvement of the Educational Process in Higher Education".

This regulatory act is an important component of the legal support for the comprehensive transformation of the higher education system towards approximation to the educational systems of economically developed countries.

However, this is not a reform for the sake of reform: as Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine Oksen Lisovyi noted on his Facebook page after the adoption of this law, its main goal is to improve the quality of domestic higher education. Thus, according to experts of the Trade Union of Education and Science of Ukraine, the new law is a European integration law. It greatly expands the opportunities for higher education students to form individual educational trajectories. At the same time, it provides real autonomy for higher education institutions in the development and implementation of educational programs.

Equally important is the fact that from now on, students will be able to form their own educational trajectory and regulate the duration of their studies. This means that contract students who combine study and work can complete a four-year bachelor's program in a longer period of time, for example, in five or more years.

In addition, higher education students can change their major after a year of study if they realize they made a mistake in choosing it.

Moreover, young people will be able to study in several educational programs at the same time, not in one, but in different higher education institutions - of course, provided that they obtain only one higher education qualification at each level at the expense of the state budget.

The new law also provides an opportunity to create interdisciplinary educational programs at all levels of higher education within interdisciplinary subject areas. Of course, it also provides a clear definition of what an interdisciplinary subject area is: "a subject area that fully or partially covers the subject areas of fields of knowledge or groups of specialties of one or more fields of knowledge, if it does not contradict the relevant standards of higher education." Therefore, students will be able to form their own educational trajectories with the help of interdisciplinary educational programs. Those who are just deciding on their future specialty have the opportunity to "enter the industry" through an interdisciplinary educational program that involves choosing a specific specialty not immediately, but after one or one and a half years of study at the university. "That is, if at the time of admission a person has not yet decided on the specialty he or she wants to study, he or she will be able to first enter an interdisciplinary educational program within one or more fields of knowledge. And then, after the first year, they will be able to make a final decision on a specialty or pursue an interdisciplinary education," the minister explained in the aforementioned post on his Facebook page.

Also, interdisciplinary educational programs (within a sector or cross-sectoral) will be created at the bachelor's level to meet the specific needs of regions and employers.

As for higher education institutions, this law grants them greater autonomy, allowing them to independently determine the tools to achieve the standardized competencies in unregulated specialties. The latter brings the Ukrainian higher education system closer to European standards. There will be more elective courses.

However, for regulated specialties, such as law, medicine, law enforcement, etc., the requirements for competencies and learning outcomes will be defined in detail. State qualification exams are envisaged for these specialties.

And it is important to add that, according to the Final Provisions of this law, it will enter into force immediately after it is signed by the President of Ukraine and will come into effect six months after its entry into force. This means that this year's admission campaign will be conducted under the old rules.

Dmytro Stefanovych

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