Volodymyr Dahl East Ukrainian National University in a new reality
Due to the military conflict that began in the summer of 2014 on the territory of Luhansk and Donetsk regions the largest university of Donbass – Volodymyr Dahl East Ukrainian National University (V. Dahl EUNU) occur in critical situation. According to the complex social and political situation for preserve the life and health of students and academic staff and ensuring the constitutional right of everyone to adequate, safe and healthy working conditions, and studying, the V. Dahl EUNU according to the order of the Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine had to evacuate to Severodonetsk city where V. Dahl EUNU has its structural units – Severodonetsk Technological Institute (STI) and Severodonetsk chemical-mechanical college (SCMC). Academic staff and students were given just 15 minutes to gather their personal belongings and vacate campus. Till the end of the armed conflict in Luhansk V. Dahl EUNU since 01.09.2014r conducts its educational activities (according to the available license for educational activities and certificates of accreditation) at the Severodonetsk Technological Institute.
In that hard situation higher priority for administration of the V. Dahl EUNU was to provide health conditions for everyone. Therefore, it needs to minimize movement of participants of educational process, concentrating the bulk of training within the distance form of education. Situation required finding innovative approaches in organization of educational process, using new communication options for its implementation. To resolve such problem it was decided at Academic Council of V. Dahl EUNU to transfer education process in distance form of learning.
In the short term, within three months (September, October and November) was recovered e-learning system. In April 2015 the number of developed and implemented in the educational process distance learning courses has reached nearly 4,000.
Now V. Dahl EUNU has developed distance learning network on the MOODLE platform (Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment), which is required for the further development of the University in qualitatively new direction. It corresponds to global tendencies of higher education using on-line technologies (according to the forecast till 2020 2/3 of students will receive a degree through distance learning methods).
There are five structural units of the University in Luhansk, Antratsit, Krasnodon, Stakhanov and the Autonomous Republic of Crimea on the territory that temporarily uncontrolled by Ukrainian authorities. That’s more than 40 educational buildings, laboratories, dormitories, etc. One of the biggest losses of the University it’s a Scientific Library which had more than a million volumes. Terrorists made there their headquarters. Also harmed student dormitories as there lived terrorists. Students were not allowed even to take their personal belongings. In 6 months staff of Scientific Library could get into the library and what they saw there just shocked them as everything was scattered, broken, almost all books were burned. Server, where kept all the literature of the Library in electronic type was destroyed. Students tried to pick up personal belongings from the dormitories but it was nothing to take.
Summer 2014 was very hot in Luhansk in every sense, as shooting war began. There was no light, water, food, those who remained in the city all the time sitting in the basement. There were destroyed many buildings in the city, some of colleagues and students stayed without shelter, some were killed during the fighting. Most of the people left Luhansk, some, mostly older employees, remained there as they can’t see themselves in new places. People had lost in that war everything – dreams, ideas, perspectives, plans and even their lives… Life for those who went through the war divided for before and after, people try to live today and now trying to forget about the horrors of war.
Unfortunately now the University has a lot of problems with premises, laboratory equipment, that need in educational process for specialists in technical directions as all the equipment and laboratories remained in the occupied territory. Some of our employees even were at prisons of breakaway region as they tried to take the results of their work from Luhansk, diplomas of the students, basic records etc.
Currently, several promising research projects suspended. To solve these problems University submitted applications for funding to the European Union and the World Bank. One grant we have already received. V. Dahl EUNU also applied for acquisition of laboratory equipment mainly for technical and chemical laboratories as our scientists have accumulated a huge experience in engineering, instrument engineering, chemical engineering, foundries, metal forming, hydraulics, electrical and so on.
Hard times are not over yet. But we can state that the University "got to his feet." It is the most important now. V. Dahl EUNU, despite the evacuation, still among the flagships who present the public new progressive ideas that characterizes advanced universities. We are still among leading University as for the ratings. The basis of this – qualified, young, active and friendly staff.
Our academic staff and students are the true patriots of their country. And patriotism, solidarity, cohesion, commitment and belief allow us to achieve goals. We believe in successful future of Volodymyr Dahl East Ukrainian National University.
Believe – means to win!
Head of International Cooperation Department
V. Dahl EUNU