Civic groups slam the introduction of new conditions for getting into university
The Civic Network OPORA and the Committee of Voters of Ukraine [CVU] consider that the new conditions for getting in to a higher educational institute discriminate against those applying in 2010 and violate citizens’ rights to equal access to education.
During a press conference on 19 April they assessed the risks and gave practical advice to applicants and their parents on defending their constitutional right to equal access to higher education, and also announced the beginning of a civic campaign “For Honest Entry!”.
According to Natalia Lynnyk from KVU, one of the most acute issues is the introduction of assessment according to a 200-point system. She says that the logic is clear with the aim being to raise the authority of teachers and students’ motivation to enhance their general educational level. However the weighting in terms of percentage that this is worth is contentious. Most problematical, however, is the fact that this has been introduced at the end of the academic year. After all, at the beginning of the year, students were concentrated primarily on the external assessment exams [ZNO].
According to the Head of OPORA, Olha Aivazovska the new Conditions for Entering Higher Institutes have created an unprecedented situation where a number of items directly violate the norms of the Constitution regarding equal access to education. While in previous years there were some preferential conditions for a number of social groups who did not have to compete for places, at present this list has been greatly increased. The most vulnerable group are those who will finish school in 2010. Unlike them, those who finished in 2008 and 2009 have been given the right to submit previous years’ certificates, and potential external students who finished school before 2007 did not go through the tests at all. Ms Aivazovska cited a number of such problems, and also mentioned that the grading is unfair for those who finished school according to a 12 point system as opposed to those who went through the 5 point. For example, a person who received a “5” is perceived as having received “12” which was not the case, since it was also possible to get 5+.
The only solution she sees is control over all stages of the process and rectification of the errors in the Conditions for Entering Higher Institutes.
According to Volodymyr Kovtunets from the Programme for Promoting Independent External Assessment, the new system of assessment makes it possible to achieve comparative ratings only for the students taking ZNO at the end of a specific year. It is impossible to fairly assess students together when some have taken ZNO, and others have had leaving tests, etc.