July, 13

Admission campaign for residents of the occupied territories: conditions and benefits

06/11/2024 04:29:00 pm
Total views 279. Views today — 8.

In Ukraine, the admission campaign for residents of temporarily occupied territories started on June 1. It operates under a simplified procedure and lasts longer than for other applicants.

Since 2016, the rules for school graduates from the occupied territories to enter Ukrainian universities have been simplified. They only need to contact the educational centers "Crimea-Ukraine" or "Donbas-Ukraine", which operate based on Ukrainian higher education institutions (about 200).

Applicants are not required to have results from the school External Independent Testing (EIT) or the National Multi-Subject Test (NMST), a school diploma, or even a Ukrainian passport. Moreover, the entire procedure can be completed online without leaving the occupied territory.

However, there are certain requirements for admission: to enter a university, it is necessary to pass three exams: Ukrainian language, Ukrainian history, and a specialized subject (or a creative competition).

"Since 2016, we have had the educational center 'Donbas-Ukraine', followed by 'Crimea-Ukraine'. The number of institutions and educational centers has expanded... The main goal is for young people to move from those territories... We provide support to everyone. The main questions are: 'Can I apply? How do I apply? What do I need to pass? How do I take the exams? What quotas are available?' Many are concerned not only with the admission procedure because it's clear that people on those territories have lost a lot, so the question often arises about studying either at the state's expense or their own... There is significant support from educational institutions, and we provide all necessary consultations", - said Yevhen Maznev, the responsible secretary of the admission committee at Volodymyr Dahl East Ukrainian National University.

At the same time, several factors complicate the process for residents of temporarily occupied territories to enter Ukrainian educational institutions. These include the accessibility of information (especially under conditions of blocking Ukrainian official resources), difficulties in traveling to controlled territory, recognition of documents issued in the occupied territories, the dominance of russian propaganda, and more.

Educational centers

The educational centers "Donbas-Ukraine" and "Crimea-Ukraine", operating at 195 Ukrainian universities, will be open from June 1 to September 30, 2024.

Experts advise prospective students from the temporarily occupied territories to first choose the educational institution they wish to attend. Next, they should check if the institution has an educational center and then reach out to it with any questions. These centers:

- Provide consultations and assist in filling out the applicant's declaration;

- Offer guidance on annual assessments, including sample test tasks, online courses, and in-person consultations;

- Facilitate the applicant's annual assessment and state final certification in Ukrainian language and history of Ukraine, and issue state-recognized documents of complete general secondary education (conducted by an authorized institution of general secondary education);

- Organize the preparation of documents, entrance exams for university admission, and, if the applicant passes the competitive selection, provide recommendations for admission.

- Assist in arranging accommodation in a dormitory during the annual assessment, state final certification, and entrance examinations;

- Help applicants obtain identity documents;

- Offer consultations on the possibility of attending preparatory courses.

Simplified procedure

The simplified procedure allows admission without undergoing the External Independent Testing (EIT) and the National Multi-Subject Test (NMST). Instead, it is based on an educational declaration and entrance exams.

Residents of the temporarily occupied territories can apply for both state-funded places (under "quota 2") and contract-based education under general conditions.

"Quota 2" provides state-funded places for applicants from temporarily occupied territories or areas classified as zones of active hostilities.

Document submission and assessment can be conducted either in person or remotely.

Applicants can seek consultations and clarifications at the "Crimea-Ukraine" and "Donbas-Ukraine" centers starting June 1. The deadlines for submitting applications to universities are as follows:

- For state-funded places: July 19 to July 31, 2024 (by 18:00),

- For contract-based places with the possibility of transferring to vacant state-funded places: July 19 to September 23, 2024.

List of documents required for admission under the simplified procedure:

1) Application for admission based on EIT/NMST results or an application for an individual oral interview;

2) Educational declaration;

3) Ukrainian citizen passport or birth certificate (birth certificate can be submitted by both minor applicants and adult applicants without a Ukrainian citizen passport);

4) Identification code (if available);

5) Certificate of registration as an internally displaced person (if available);

6) State-standard document of secondary education or a certificate of successful completion of the state final certification;

7) EIT or NMST certificate (if available);

8) Four 3x4 cm photos.

All documents can be sent via email to the chosen educational center.

To be admitted under the simplified procedure, applicants need to pass two exams on territory controlled by Ukraine: Ukrainian language and history. Currently, these exams can be taken online via Zoom if the student is on occupied territory and unable to leave.

"Regarding simplification – there are these two exams and the entrance exam. Additionally, due to the difficulty of leaving, the exam can be taken online. The simplified procedure also provides the opportunity for admission under 'Quota 2' – each university has a certain number of places allocated for applicants from temporarily occupied territories. Thus, they have a good chance of entering top universities on a state-funded basis", – said Violetta Artemchuk, Chief Director-Coordinator of the NGO "Donbas SOS", during a press conference on June 1.

She explained that support schools operate at universities for taking the two mandatory exams (Ukrainian history and Ukrainian language).

"To complete the high school program, they must pass two exams – Ukrainian history and Ukrainian language. Imagine how challenging it is for a graduate from a Donetsk school, who hasn’t effectively studied these subjects, to take these exams. It would be quite difficult for them to take these exams under the general conditions of the NMST. Therefore, a system is in place for them to choose an educational institution that has a support school where they can take these two exams. I can’t judge the difficulty of the questions on these exams; opinions vary. However, those kids who contacted us – I don’t know how they studied for it, but they score high marks", – explained Violetta Artemchuk.

According to her, besides the two exams that provide eligibility for the high school program, applicants from temporarily occupied territories must also pass a professional entrance exam (or a creative contest) at the chosen university.

In addition to the simplified admission procedure, residents of the occupied territories are granted other benefits (such as social scholarships, free textbooks, etc.). Furthermore, they can stay in dormitories both during the admission campaign and while studying.

For those applying online, it is important to note that after the admissions committee recommends enrollment, applicants must personally provide the original documents.

"In case of circumstances that objectively make it impossible for the applicant to personally submit the originals, they should send scanned copies of the relevant documents to the email address of the Educational Center", – noted the Ministry of Education and Science (MES).

However, even in this case, the original documents must be submitted to the admissions committee within three months after the start of studies. If the documents are not submitted and/or the enrollment agreement is not signed within the specified time, the admission order is canceled.

"An obligatory visit is still necessary. We expected this requirement to be lifted this year, but as of now, the situation remains the same", – said Violetta Artemchuk.

For all questions regarding the admission of applicants from temporarily occupied territories, you can contact the MES at 0-800-50-44-25. Additionally, there is a government hotline available at 15-45 and a 24-hour hotline of the Ministry of Reintegration for crisis issues at 15-48.

Fewer students from Crimea and Donbas

An analytical report by the "Almenda" Center, published in May 2024, indicates that applicants from Crimea and the parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts occupied since 2014 are increasingly opting not to pursue education in Ukraine. This is attributed to their prolonged stay under temporary occupation, exposure to russian propaganda, pressure and intimidation from occupying authorities, assimilation processes, and the loss of civic and national identity among children and their parents.

OstroV spoke with several residents from the occupied territories of the Donetsk oblast and Crimea about how the simplified admission system could facilitate leaving the occupation and enrolling in Ukrainian educational institutions.

Kateryna from Mariupol, who in 2022 considered leaving the occupation to study at a Ukrainian university, ultimately decided to stay and enrolled in a local institution.

"They offered admission to a budget-funded spot, a good scholarship, social programs, free trips around russia, and the competition was purely symbolic since there weren't many people left. Regarding going to Ukraine, I thought about it as there are more opportunities there, but when I looked into it in detail, I realized I couldn't take on such risks. There are very few budget places for displaced people, plus you need somewhere to live before enrollment, and the travel expenses are significant since you can only leave through Europe or via roundabout routes. It's very complicated", - she told OstroV.

Mykhailo from Crimea, who had been planning for several years for his son to move to Ukrainian-controlled territory and enroll in a Kyiv university, ultimately decided to stay on the peninsula.

"Firstly, the journey has become very complicated, it's long, expensive, and unsafe. Secondly, the horrors of mobilization that we see do not encourage young people to move. If he leaves and enrolls in a university, he will automatically become non-eligible to leave Ukraine. Thirdly, there are issues with electricity and security concerns. Fourthly, the admission program is difficult. Despite the simplified system, we looked at the exam questions on Ukrainian history and language, and it's unrealistic to get good scores if you haven't studied these subjects for several years", - he noted.

Svitlana from Sevastopol says that the full-scale war and the lack of opportunity to move to Ukrainian-controlled territory have almost nullified her friend's desire to consider Ukrainian universities for her daughter's admission.

"We talked about this even before the big war. There were thoughts and doubts. Her daughter wanted to apply to the University of Culture in Kyiv and then go to Europe; she has acquaintances in the capital, they were gathering information and staying in touch. Now most of her friends are either in Europe or say that there's nothing to do in Kyiv, with constant air raid alerts and power outages. And when we tried to find information directly on the internet about the admission process for Crimean residents, all Ukrainian websites were blocked. I feel that the time has already passed. If in the first years after russia came here it was still possible to entice children to Ukraine, the current generation doesn't understand the Ukrainian language and doesn't remember life in Ukraine. And add to this the propaganda and the war", - she told OstroV.

In the past two years, the number of applicants from territories occupied before February 24, 2022, has significantly decreased, notes Yevhen Maznev, the responsible secretary of the admission committee at Volodymyr Dahl East Ukrainian National University.

"The number of applicants from long-occupied territories (before 2022 – ed.) is decreasing. There is propaganda, and the people who are applying there are completely unaware of our environment. Our main audience in recent years has unfortunately been from territories where very active combat is currently taking place or which have been occupied in the last two years. We provide support to everyone", - he said at a press conference on June 1.

Violetta Artemchuk believes that the current system for admission to Ukrainian educational institutions for residents of temporarily occupied territories needs improvement.

"Firstly, the rule about delivering documents within three months needs to be changed, at least to allow for different time frames. Secondly, for many residents of temporarily occupied territories who haven't studied Ukrainian language and history for 10 years, it is difficult to find suitable platforms to study these subjects. There is a lack of a good and well-developed online preparation system", - she told OstroV.

Analysts at the "Almenda" Center also note that the state policy for attracting youth from temporarily occupied territories to study in Ukrainian educational institutions requires significant improvement and consideration of the following factors: the complication of physical relocation, limited access (lack of internet, blocking of websites, etc.) to both formal and informal Ukrainian educational fields, and the low level of proficiency in the state language.

By Andriy Andrieyev, OstroV