Post Date:
29 April 2022

Sumy State University has been working under the conditions of the war for 2 months now. In the interview with the STS TV channel, Rector Vasyl KARPUSHA commented on the situation with the resumption of the educational process, told about the organization of work with foreign students, told about the features of the admission campaign this year, shared plans for the future.

Was it difficult to resume the educational process after a significant number of students and teachers had left Sumy for other regions of Ukraine or abroad? Is it possible to provide comprehensive education?

On April 1, the educational process was resumed at the university. Only about 1% of the total number of students did not get in touch, the rest were actively involved in the educational process. The vast majority study online. Those who do not have the opportunity to regularly join the classes, can use the asynchronous format, that is, according to the lectures, the tasks are given, which can be performed by the students at the convenient time for them. The university also gives permission to follow the individual study schedule or academic leave. In fact, we did not have any difficulties in organizing the educational process, as the distance learning form was already well tested at the university during the pandemic of coronavirus infection COVID-19.

Some teachers who are currently outside Sumy also have stable access to the Internet, so they continue to work and receive full salaries. This year's master's and bachelor's theses will also be defended remotely, and we already have the relevant experience.

Thanks to innovative information and communication technologies (in the university there is the online studio and the virtual augmented reality studio), the university provides the highest quality distance education.

How will the admission campaign this year differ from the previous ones?

This year's admission campaign, given all the conditions and restrictions of wartime, has its own characteristics. The procedure for admission to higher education institutions is currently being worked out. We hope that it will be approved by May 1. This year's external independent evaluation will take place in the simplified format. The National Multidisciplinary Test (NMST) is being developed for entrants in three subjects: Ukrainian language, mathematics, and Ukrainian history. It will be the same for all specialties and will be held in specially equipped rooms. Although the possibility of holding it online is also being considered, the terms of the NMST have not been determined yet. In addition, the procedure for entering contract positions is likely to be simplified. As the universities in Ukraine are in different conditions (for example, SumDU is located in the border area), we hope that there will be some preferences in terms of additional budget places, as well as support for technical specialties, IT, and medicine. In any case, we expect the replenishment of the student community of SumDU.

What obstacles may stand in the way of this year's admission campaign? How do you plan to overcome these challenges?

Obviously, the main difficulty will be for the entrant to believe that the universities located in the city of Sumy are actively functioning. SumDU works and continues to provide quality educational services.

We have created many career guidance projects in which we tell about our specialties. The University offers free online courses to prepare for the National Multidisciplinary Test: Ukrainian Language, Mathematics, and History of Ukraine. These courses are attended by more than half a thousand students, not only from Sumy and the region, but also from other parts of Ukraine.

More than 2,000 foreign students from more than 50 countries study at SumDU. How is the education for those who stayed in Sumy organized now?

Currently, there are few foreign students in Sumy. Only a small part of them have returned so far. They live in university dormitories. Classes for them are held remotely, as well as for other foreigners who are outside Sumy, in different parts of the world. It is nice to note the almost 100% presence of foreign students study online. In this way, they are satisfied with the quality of educational services, as the university has provided the most favorable environment for everyone.

Was it so difficult to organize the safe evacuation of foreign students? Who helped with this?

At that time, 1,735 foreign students out of more than 2,000 stayed at the university. We took care of the safety of their residence and the availability of shelter. They were provided with food, medical and psychological assistance. At the same time, the issue of organizing evacuation for foreign students was discussed at the government level, with the involvement of diplomatic officials, embassies and consulates of other countries, humanitarian missions. It became most urgent after the bombing in Sumy, when electricity and water were cut off and there were power outages. Of course, the students were scared.

the evacuation, especially the Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine Iryna VERESCHUK, who directly coordinated the creation of the humanitarian corridor, the regional military administration, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Education and Science and his first deputy because there were, indeed, many difficulties. Human resources were limited, but we managed to accomplish this mission and conduct a safe operation to evacuate foreign students.

What are the plans and prospects of the university for the future?

The priority is to work even harder than before a full-scale military invasion. In particular, it concerns the implementation of scientific agreements for research, creation of scientific and technical products, and provision of services in the field of scientific and technical activities on behalf of enterprises, institutions, and organizations of various forms of ownership, including international projects. There are prospects for the development of international grant activities. We feel the support of the world educational and scientific community. Foreign higher education institutions offer numerous opportunities for academic mobility with a scholarship fund, open access to the use of modern teaching and research developments. In recent weeks, SumDU has received requests from almost 100 partner institutions from more than 30 countries.

So, the university is looking to the future with confidence and we are doing everything we can to continue to be successful.