Progress on Work Package 2 of RE-DIRECTION Project: Identifying Skill Gaps in Ukrainian and Georgian Higher Education Systems - GIU
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The RE-DIRECTION project partners have successfully completed the first task of Work Package 2 (WP2), focusing on identifying skill gaps in the higher education systems of Ukraine and Georgia. This collaborative effort involved detailed desk research conducted by five Ukrainian universities and five Georgian universities. The primary aim was to pinpoint deficiencies within three critical domains: Digitalization, Inclusivity, and Sustainability. The findings from this extensive research provide a comparative analysis of the educational landscapes in both countries and pave the way for targeted improvements. This press release outlines the general findings and provides a detailed analysis of each domain.

General Analysis and Comparison of Findings

The research conducted under WP2 reveals a concerted effort by both Ukraine and Georgia to align their higher education systems with contemporary global standards. Despite facing numerous challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic and socio-political disruptions, both countries have shown resilience and adaptability. The collaborative research highlighted both the progress made and the areas needing improvement within their educational frameworks.

The key focus areas of the research were Digitalization, Inclusivity, and Sustainability. These domains are critical for modernizing education, ensuring it is accessible to all, and preparing students for future challenges. The research findings provide a comprehensive overview of how these domains are addressed in Ukrainian and Georgian higher education institutions, highlighting both the strengths and gaps in their current approaches.

Digitalization

Ukraine:

The Ukrainian educational system has made notable strides in digital transformation, driven by several decrees from the Ministry of Education and Science. Regulations support digital and distance education, leveraging platforms like Google Classroom, Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex, and Zoom. These tools aim to enhance knowledge accessibility, time management, and critical thinking skills among students.

However, several challenges remain. Technological gaps among staff, unstable connections on some platforms, and a lack of up-to-date equipment hinder full implementation. Additionally, there is a significant “technological gap” between teachers and students, with some educators lacking motivation and competencies to adopt modern teaching methods.

Georgia:

Georgia’s approach to digitalization is characterized by strong support from national strategies that align with European standards. The government has initiated reforms to enhance e-learning opportunities and recognize remotely acquired qualifications. The focus is on equipping students and staff with digital skills to improve patient care, clinical outcomes, and healthcare delivery.

Despite these efforts, gaps persist, particularly in equitable access to digital resources for disadvantaged groups and remote areas. The lack of sufficient digital opportunities for fulfilling the mobility of learners and staff, as well as insufficient knowledge and facilities for working with digital environments, remain significant challenges.

Sustainability

Ukraine:

Sustainability in Ukrainian medical education is guided by national decrees aimed at improving the quality and accessibility of learning. Medical higher education establishments focus on equipping students with skills necessary for sustainable development, including resilience, problem-solving, and ethical awareness. However, there are notable gaps, such as a lack of critical thinking and interdisciplinary interactions within the curricula.

These deficiencies hinder the ability of medical professionals to work effectively in diverse healthcare environments. The absence of leadership skills training in education programs further exacerbates the problem, compelling graduates to seek additional qualifications for executive positions.

Georgia:

Sustainability is embedded in Georgia’s national educational strategy and supported by EU-funded projects. These initiatives aim to foster innovation and commercialization of scientific projects, aligning educational and entrepreneurial activities. The business administration programs in Georgia, however, need a more explicit focus on sustainability, with a clear integration of green competencies and skills.

The gap in emphasizing sustainable development within academic programs means that students might not be fully prepared to address environmental and societal challenges in their professional careers. More comprehensive curricula that incorporate sustainability as a core component are necessary for better preparation of future professionals.

Inclusivity

Ukraine:

Inclusivity in Ukrainian medical education is supported by various national regulations that provide opportunities for disabled students and those affected by social factors. However, the implementation faces challenges such as language barriers for foreign students and inadequate representation of diverse patient populations in medical training.

The need for more comprehensive inclusivity measures at the higher education level is evident, including better infrastructure and support for students with disabilities. The provision of inclusive education must go beyond legislative support to practical implementation in classrooms and clinical settings.

Georgia:

Georgia has made significant progress in inclusive education, with increased funding and support for students with special educational needs. The national strategy aims to provide equal access to inclusive and quality education for all. However, the focus has predominantly been on secondary education, and higher education institutions need to enhance their inclusivity measures.

Challenges include adapting physical environments, teaching methodologies, and providing adequate support for students with disabilities. The inclusivity efforts must extend to higher education to ensure that all students, regardless of their physical or socio-economic backgrounds, have equal opportunities to succeed.

The findings from WP2 of the RE-DIRECTION project highlight both the achievements and challenges in the educational systems of Ukraine and Georgia. Addressing the identified skill gaps in the domains of Digitalization, Sustainability, and Inclusivity is crucial for aligning higher education with global standards and preparing students for future challenges. These insights will guide future initiatives to bridge the gaps and enhance the quality of higher education, ensuring it is inclusive, sustainable, and digitally proficient.

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). Neither the European Union nor the European Education and Culture Executive Agency can be held responsible for them.

More details about the project: https://re-direction.org/

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