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Supporting Ukrainian Higher Education in Science and Technology
On February 24, 2022, the war of aggression against Ukraine began, the end of which is currently uncertain. Universities in Ukraine were not spared from the war either. Students, teachers and researchers lost the opportunity to learn, teach, examine, and research within a short period of time.
Some of those who remained in Ukraine lost all institutional infrastructure, and even the refugees often do not have the means to adequately participate in higher education processes. In addition to technical equipment, they also need general information about studying in Germany, access to funding opportunities, language training opportunities, and knowledge about formal processes at a German university. Last but not least, the people from Ukraine are under a great deal of psychological strain and need support not only in arriving, but also in coming to terms with what they have experienced.
The universities in Germany have reacted within a very short time, created support programs and academic bridges. The systematization and consolidation of these emergency aid measures is the declared goal of the SURE:st project.
With SURE:st, RWTH Aachen University would like to make its contribution to enabling (refugee) members of Ukrainian universities to continue their studies and teaching with as little loss as possible. Simple and unbureaucratic ways are to be created to participate in courses and online offerings. In addition to language courses, the support of Ukrainian students by RWTH students is also of great importance. The offering should constantly be evaluated and dynamically adapted to the changing needs.
University members from the Ukrainian cooperating universities are also to be involved in the conceptual design. The RWTH has already been cooperating with universities in Ukraine for several years at various levels: with the Kharkiv Polytechnic Institute and, more recently, with two universities in the European ENHANCE project. On the student level, the mechanical engineering department has been organizing an Eastern European exchange with the National Aviation University Kiev for years. Under the leadership of Prof. Pich, Eastern European representative and Ukrainian, donations for medicine for Ukraine have been collected since the beginning of the war.
The target groups of SURE:st are Ukrainian students as well as pupils at the transition to university regardless of their location. Just like the researchers, they are to be individually supported as uncomplicatedly as possible with information, counseling, and support services during a flight event that can hardly be planned in terms of time and is highly stressful.