Supplementary tests and assessments provide openings for corruption
The civic network OPORA and the Committee of Voters of Ukraine [CVU] welcome the stated intention of the new Minister of Education Dmytro Tabachnyk (as expressed during the talk show “That’s what I think” on Channel 5) to continue improving the system of independent external assessment [ZNO] and entry into higher educational institutes according to ZNO results. Consistent State policy in this sphere reduces social tension in society and forms confidence in State institutions.
At the same time, Mr Tabachnyk also spoke of a modified model for entry into higher institutes according to which ZNO will not be the sole determining factor. The accumulated rating of an applicant will be formed by the sum of the marks from ZNO, from his or her school certificate and the results of tests in higher educational institutes of national significance according to profile entry exams. The logic of the proposed model is clear since the previous version of ZNO to some extent removes students’ motivation to master disciplines which will not be required when trying to get into an institute. The system of independent external assessment does indeed need to be improved. On the other hand, the model proposed by Mr Tabachnyk partially reinstates the possibility for secondary schools and institutes for corrupt dealings.
Since the first nationwide introduction of independent external assessment in 2008, CVU and OPORA have been carrying out public monitoring over its running. The results of this monitoring enable us to confidently assert that the system of ZNO at a high level safeguards the constitutional right of citizens to equal access to higher education.
If the model for entry proposed by the new Minister of Education is brought into effect, it will be impossible for the public to monitor the process for applying to institutes since it is impossible to monitor all stages of the process (independent testing, tests for institutes, marks in the school certificate).
We are therefore adamant of the need for legislative affirmation that ZNO should have determining status with regard to entering higher educational institutes and for public monitoring over the transparency of the process. This will provide confirmation that anti-corruption reforms are irreversible and will strengthen confidence among the public regarding sincerely intentions by the new authorities to move further along the path of civilization towards reform of education in Ukraine.