‘TWIXT THE CUP AND THE LIP

Last August President Yanukovych set a goal for the Ministry of Education in Ukraine: no less than 3-5 Ukrainian universities should be among those which are officially recognized as world’s leading universities. Seven months passed and five schools of higher learning in Ukraine are now among 500 world’s best universities! They are Kharkiv technical university, Donetsk technical university, University of Kharkiv, University of Donetsk and Tavriyski University in Simferopol (Crimea).

 

One could only be glad to see our national institutions going up the world ranking scale. But… there’s a shadow of doubt here: the rating agency was RatER(http://www.globaluniversitiesranking.org/ ) which was founded by the Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska.. Mr. Deripaska graduated from Moscow State University and this may explain the fact that his alma mater stands higher in the Global Universities Ranking drawn by RatER than Harvard, Stanford or Cambridge Universities:

 

1 Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA

2 California Institute of Technology, USA

3 University of Tokyo, Japan

4 Columbia University, USA

5 Lomonosov’s Moscow State University, Russia

6 Harvard University, USA

7 Stanford University, USA

8 University of Cambridge, UK

9 Johns Hopkins University, USA

10 University of Chicago, USA

 

I have no doubt that Mr. Deripaska decided to “reward” the pro-Russian Ukrainian government with the first ever listing among the top 500 universities just for their being “pro-Russian”. How many Ukrainian professors are cited the world over? What is the practical application and the financial return of scientific projects done at Ukrainian universities? How many research papers are published in English (which would make them more accessible for scholars in other countries)? For that matter, how many “kandidats” and “doctors” in Ukraine can fluently communicate in a foreign language? Before claiming high places in international ranking, Ukrainian universities must get rid of corruption at every stage of higher education – from students’ admission to graduation. You are to write a year paper or a diploma paper? Or a dissertation? I give only one URL (there are hundreds): http://kursak.cepbic.com/

A year paper is sold at UAH120 (USD 15), a diploma paper (bachelor’s degree) – at UAH 500, a research paper for obtaining the master’s degree will cost you USD 75. Interestingly, most of the paid research papers are written by university professors themselves. First they set themes of research papers and then cooperate with respective agencies who call them “our experts”.

 

Judging by the educational level of our president, in his time he must also have turned to “experts” while “writing” his dissertation. However, prices quoted in those days might have been different: the inflation in this country is in double digits.

 

Incidentally, a competition for the best cheat sheet (see the picture) has been announced in Ukraine. The competition is going to last until 1st June 2011. The site http://www.osvita.com/news/04-03-2011/1299238480/ invites professors to participate.

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