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The Ukrainian-Polish forum «Technical education for the future of Europe» at Lviv Polytechnic National University is over

It was a joint meeting of the scientific and educational elite. 25 Ukrainian and 25 Polish Rectors of the Universities on the forum at Lviv Polytechnic National University presented the Association of Rectors of higher technical educational institutions of Ukraine and the Conference of Rectors of technical universities of Poland.

The forum was opened by the Rector of Lviv Polytechnic National University, the Chairman of the Council of Rectors of Lviv Region the Professor Yuriy Bobalo. Having Welcomed the guests in the oldest higher educational institution in Eastern and Central Europe, he presented those who were invited to the presidium of this honourable assembly.

The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Polish Republic in Ukraine Khenryk Litwin welcomed the forum participants. He recalled that being a part of the European Union Poland three times increased its GDP. In the opinion of the Ambassador, the higher education is the driving force which will accelerate the movement of Ukraine into Europe. The Association agreement with the European Union is not a panacea. Khenrik Litvin emphasized that, figuratively speaking, their experience is the autobahn in Europe we should move. But efforts, work and «fuel» should be ours.

Welcoming the guests the Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovyy said that he dreams about the time when the Ukrainian universities will be included in the top hundred best universities in the world. That is a beautiful dream. None of the Polish Universities has been included to the top 100 best universities yet. The higher education, especially technical one, cannot be cheap, because it requires appropriate laboratory facilities. If an annual budget of Lviv Polytechnic National University is approximately 500 million UAH, then universities of Germany, England, and USA have budgets up to $ 1 billion.

The Deputy Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine Maxym Strikha wished fruitful work to the participants of the forum. He made an emphasis on the importance of the Polish experience in the reform of higher education in Ukraine. The cooperation of scientists of the two countries in strengthening the defence of Ukraine and Poland may be useful in the conditions of growing threats posed by the Putin regime.

The Chairman of the Association of the Rectors of higher technical educational institutions in Ukraine, the Rector of the National Technical University of Ukraine «Kyiv Polytechnic Institute», the Academician of the NAS of Ukraine Mykhaylo Zhurovsky cited disappointing statistics on our economy, focusing on the need to increase the production of high-tech products. Its part in the annual GDP is only 4% whereas in China it is 36%. Only joint efforts of business and advanced science, of the engineers with innovative thinking can radically change this situation.

Famously, Michaylo Zhurovsky was one of the most active developers of the new Law on higher education. At a press conference he said that during its development they borrowed a lot from Polish colleagues, first of all, the autonomy of universities. Only the free University can produce innovative projects and new knowledge. In his opinion, the fact that all graduates receive the same state diplomas somehow disorients the labour market. According to the new Law, universities of Ukraine will soon be able to issue their diplomas.

The Head of the Conference of Rectors of Polish technical universities, the Rector of Wrocław University of Technology the Professor Tadeush Vyentskovski, said that 15 thousand students from Ukraine are currently studying in Poland. According to this indicator, Poland outran Germany. He assured that he will do his best to increase the number of Ukrainian students in Polish universities, who will study for free. The Polish government has provided the undergraduate and graduate students from Ukraine, primarily the youth from Donbass, with 550 scholarships. He noted that both Ukrainian and Polish high school are equally concerned about the issue of prestige of engineering work. For example, Poland lacks 50 thousand engineers.

he forum was divided into four thematic sessions. The participants reviewed, in particular, connection problems of technical universities and industry in terms of modern requirements to the European engineer model, quality assurance of higher technical education, and European accreditation of technical universities. They also talked about the prior directions for joint projects of Ukrainian and Polish scientists to participate in such programs of the European Union as Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+ and about the innovative direction of scientific-technical cooperation between scientists of the two countries. The moderators of these sessions were Mykhaylo Zhurovsky, Tadeush Vyentskovski, the Rector of Kharkiv Polytechnic University Leonid Tovazhnyansky, the President of the Polish educational Foundation «Perspektywy» Waldemar Siwinski, the Rector of Lviv Polytechnic National University Yuriy Bobalo and the Rector of Opole University of Technology Marek Tukendorf.

Yuriy Bobalo presented the report entitled «The international scientific-technical cooperation experience of Lviv Polytechnic National University with scientific, educational and innovative system of Poland». He noted that Lviv Polytechnic National University cooperates with Polish universities since its inception. Now there are 41 agreements on cooperation in scientific and educational spheres. There are joint projects in such areas as architecture, design, construction, nanotechnology and new materials, biotechnology, media and telecommunications, radio electronics, medical equipment, engineering methods of environmental protection, etc. In recent years, the program of receiving the dual diplomas of bachelors and masters has been successfully implemented. Lviv Polytechnic National University in cooperation with Polish universities also performs a number of international agreements to order of the leading companies in the world. Yuriy Bobalo also mentioned the implementation of well-known Ukrainian-Polish project «Search, identification and scientific study of the oldest Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, built in the Hill by the King Daniel of Galicia».

The collocation «IT-technologies» was frequently used by the participants of the forum. The centers of IT development are Kyiv, Kharkiv, Lviv, Dnipropetrovsk. But Ukraine is still far from the advanced computerized countries in the world. The Director of the Association «Information technologies of Ukraine» Viktor Valeev gave such facts: on the world market for software development Ukraine’s share is only 1%. Even Morocco outruns us. Only 37 percent of IT graduates are working in the specialty, because they do not have practical skills. But in the next year in the EU will be 1 million vacancies for the specialists in computer science.

The forum participants identified the areas of joint cooperation of scientists from the technical universities of the two countries within the programs of the European Union. These are, in particular, information and communication technologies, «green» and alternative energy, nanomaterials and nanotechnology, aviation and space technology, program «Universytetskyy suputnyk» etc.

In the framework of the forum the agreements on cooperation between the Ukrainian and Polish technical universities were signed. But one of the Polish Rectors stated that these agreements will remain just a piece of paper, if there is no personal contact between lecturers of the two countries.

Among the forum participants there was the Vice-Rector for science of the Donbass State Technical University the Professor Victor Semiryahin. This University was constantly in Alchevsk, which is now occupied by the separatists. Some teachers and students moved in Lysychansk. According to Viktor Semiryahin there was no seizure of the management, the material-technical base is saved. He stated that the technical education has no political colour; but we were and will be a Ukrainian University. Donbass University signed the Cooperation Agreements with the universities of Łódź and Białystok.

The German guest — Rector of one of the leading higher educational institutions of Germany, the Würzburg University (Bavaria) Alfred Forkhel also took part in the Ukrainian-Polish forum. By the way, the Polish universities are actively cooperating with German universities and contribute to the inclusion of Ukrainian higher educational institutions in this process.

In the end, the leaders of the technical universities of both countries adopted a joint final document.

The forum participants honored the memory of Lviv Professors, fusilladed by Nazis on July 3 in 1941 on Vuletski hills, laid flowers to the monument and lit the lamps.

The next Ukrainian-Polish forum on engineering education will be held next year in Ivano-Frankivsk on the basis of local National Technical University of Oil and Gas.