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WHY do Universities want to be "NATIONAL"?
WHY do Universities want to be "NATIONAL"?

Before the "Day of Knowledge", Viktor Yanukovych, the President of Ukraine, by his Decree provided the Kremenchuk Mykhailo Ostrohradskyi State University the status of "National". Some critics try to offset the significance of this event, because lately many Universities became National. They say that rectors have arranged the fashion competition.

- Is it really is so? - asked we Professor Mykhaylo Zagirniak, rector of Kremenchuk University.

- For our educational institution, such a high status means the recognition of our significant achievements. As to the main stages of our 50-year history, we have much to be proud of. Only in the last ten years we made a rapid step from the Polytechnic Institute to the National University. Four times in recent years at the government level there were considered and endorsed, important for our University, decisions. It also indicates the achievements of the University in the sphere of Higher education.

- Mykhaylo Vasylyovych, what advantages does such status bring to the University?

- The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine grants the National higher educational institution the powers by which it had been limited previously. For example: to make proposals as to transferring some University property under the control of other agencies authorized to manage state property or under the control of municipal ownership; to make proposals as to transforming some communal property into the state property or University property; to conclude contracts with government procurement agents as to the needs of higher educational institution; to make decisions about establishment, reorganization, liquidation of enterprises, institutions, organizations, belonged to the University; to lease the University real estate.

The University is authorized, as to the certification decision of the University Academic Council, to establish and assign Academic Degree of Associated Professor or Professor of Kremenchuk Mykhailo Ostrohradskyi National University. We also can determine and establish our own forms of moral encouragements and material incentives. I mean not posts but titles, which may be valid only within the University. Previously, we did not have such rights, because titles were assigned by the Examination Board of Ministry of Education.

But the most significant advantage of the National University can be considered the fact that we have to pass the general certificate accreditation once in 10 years instead of 5 years. It is rather difficult bureaucratic process, because of great number of departments, specialties, spheres of researches and complexity of this procedure. Status of the National University doubles the duration of the obligatory documents. It means that our Government has a high vote of confidence to the quality of educational in such University. It should be mentioned that the certificate of IV accreditation level our University got in 2006, so we must pass the accreditation process next year, but with the status of National University.

Another advantage - rector of the National University must be elected every 7 years, not every 5 years as it was previously. - Will National University has any advantages as to public educational order?

- Now about 10 000 students, of all forms of education, study at our university. It is more than enough to be named the Classical University. Officially we became Classical University last year, and now we have the right to expand our training capacity, depending on the scientific school of our University and the needs of the region. Also we have the legal right to defend the state order for the humanities. But the new status is not affected the state order. Meanwhile, the University has sufficient licensed volume, which should not be increased due to the demand for specialists.

-Will the status of National University promotes the introduction of new specialties?

- There is so a wide range of specialties at the Kremenchuk University. However, the main requirement, of course, is a wide range of training activities in various fields of education. Today, we train our students within the 17 branches of education, 26 spheres of education, 35 specialties for 23 Master degree programs. None of the Universities in Poltava, Kirovohrad or Cherkassy regions doesnt have such a range of training courses. The main task of the University is to provide the quality of students training, improving the level of training in those spheres that already exist and create the proper conditions for graduates to continue their research activities with the purpose to overcome the way from entrant to the professor. However, all branches of education can not develop equally. Therefore, the priority will be given to those branches where we have leading scientists and powerful scientific schools. We want, at least, to create opportunities for such branches to reach the top level of international achievement. - Today, at the highest government level there are many discussions about poor qualification of University faculty staff, which are not able to train highly skilled graduates. Does the Kremenchuk Mykhailo Ostrohradskyi National University have some arguments to disprove this statement?

- The main argument is the fact that our University has its own Doctor Academic Council, which is a sign of high rank. As you know, such Academic Council can be founded, under the guidance of the Higher Attestation Commission (HAC) of Ukraine. Also this Council can be founded at the scientific and technical establishments, at the higher educational institutions of III-IV accreditation levels and other organizations, known for its scientific achievements, able to conduct basic and applied research. Such establishments, institutions and organizations must have the sufficient level of staff and logistics basis for training the highly qualified scientific personnel. The Central executive authorities, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine and different Profile Academies control the fulfillment of the requirements as to foundation of Doctor Academic Council. In accordance with the HAC of Ukraine our University has Doctor Academic Councils in two specialties: "Electric machines and apparatus" and "Electrotechnical complexes and systems". It was difficult achievement because of territorial identity of the University. It is not a secret that in our country a provincial University hardly can compete with more powerful capital or regional Universities. But the scientific achievements of Kremenchuk University in the "Electric machines and apparatus" and "Electrotechnical complexes and systems" spheres are so obvious, that it is impossible not to recognize them. During six year-work of our Academic Council, 12 candidates defended their dissertations, eight of them - from the "Electric machines and apparatus", and four - from the "Electrotechnical complexes and systems". As the result, we appealed to the HAC of Ukraine as to establishment in our University Doctor Academic Council. It was a big problem. We faced stiff competition and reluctance to recognize the achievements of the provincial University. This problem was solved only because of our persistence. It should be motioned that in last 3 years the Department of Electrical machinery and apparatus, within the scientific school of Professor Mykhaylo Zagirniak, became the host institution for the second phase of Ukrainian student research competition and Ukrainian Olympiad. It is nonsense for the city of regional subordination, but it is true. The Department of Electrotechnical complexes and systems, headed by Professor Dmytro Rodkin, also is the host institution for the International Conference, National Conference of young scientists in this sphere and for the second phase of Ukrainian Olympiad. Both Departments have international cooperation agreements and real orders of enterprises for scientific inventions.

Our University did not have any problems as to the membership of Doctor Academic Council. According to the requirements Doctor Academic Council must include six doctors - two thirds of the University and one-third - involved with other Universities. There were found even eight "ours" doctors: four from each specialty. Also, in our University, there are two Scientific Councils for candidate work defense. One of them is very powerful, headed by the first town professor, an honorary citizen of Kremenchuk, Vitaliy Komir. He has grown up more than 30 candidates. Another academic council is headed by also famous person, Professor Alexander Maslov. We plan to found two another Scientific Councils on Environmental safety and Economy. I should recall the famous words of a great and brilliant mathematician Mykhailo Ostrohradskyi that "science is growing up in the province".

- Mykhaylo Vasylyovych, this year the Kremenchuk Mykhailo Ostrohradskyi National University celebrates its 50th anniversary. But lately our government intends to reduce the number of Universities in Ukraine. Does it concern Kremenchuk University?

- It is true that we have too many Universities in Ukraine, that is why our government is preparing great changes in the educational sphere. They will affect the whole Ukraine. Let us hope for the serious and balanced system of future improvements.

However, Kremenchuk may be the University town. The Kremenchuk Mykhailo Ostrohradskyi National University was and remains the basic educational institution in our town. By the way, Kremenchuk Mykhailo Ostrohradskyi National University is one of three universities in Ukraine, which have status of National University but is not situated in the main city of its region. In addition to this, our University is a single Classic University in Poltava region. As to the will of town and region communities our University can be saved as a regional institution of higher education, because industrial capacity of Kremenchuk comprises 60 percent from the regional one, so our town also may be cultural and educational center of Poltava.

So we hope that the anniversary of the Kremenchuk Mykhailo Ostrohradskyi National University, which was celebrated on October 7, will be only the beginning of its modern history. We should not only confirm the name of the famous scientist Mykhailo Ostrohradskyi and our new status, but also fill it with new content.

Vira Ilkova,

Member of National Journalist Union of Ukraine