International project activity is one of the priorities in the development of Zaporizhzhia National University. International vector has been fully encouraged and supported by the management of the university, in particular, Rector Mykola Frolov. Gennadii Vasylchuk, Vice-rector for scientific research, and Yurii Kaganov, Vice-rector for scientific and pedagogical work, provide general coordination and support for HEI’s scholars in the implementation of their plans. As a result, ZNU has proved once again its potential internationally: consortium of Ukrainian and international HEI partners is among project-winners of the call 2019 in the field of Development of Higher Education Potential of the European Union Program, Erasmus +, that will implement the program «Foreign Language Teacher Training Capacity Development as a Way to Ukraine's Multilingual Education and European Integration »(610427-EPP-1-2019-1-EE-EPPKA2-CBHE-JP).
It is worth highlighting that it is already the second ZNU project as a part of the international Erasmus+ KA2 project in a consortium as well as the fifth ZNU project. It is being implemented in the framework of the EU Erasmus + program, which opens up extensive prospects for the progressive development of the Ukrainian education system.
Recently, The Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) announced the 2019 competition results for Capacity Building in the field of Higher Education of the European Union Erasmus+ Program. In all, 163 projects were selected, in particular - 8 projects with Ukrainian participation, which start its performance October 2019, or January 2020 and will be implemented by 51 HEIs and other Ukrainian organizations. The total budget is more than € 7 million.
It is noteworthy that 51 partners all over Ukraine participated in the contest: 38 higher-education institutions, 2 research institutes, 4 private and 2 state-owned enterprises, 4 public organizations, as well as the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine.
University of Tartu (Estonia) is the сoordinator of Erasmus + project KA2 “Foreign Language Teacher Training Capacity Development as a Way to Ukraine's Multilingual Education and European Integration/MultiEd”. It has been fruitfully collaborating with Zaporizhzhia National University for a long time, in particular in the field of training and improvement of professional skills of school teachers.
The consortium partners are as follows: Pädagogische Hochschule Heidelberg (Germany), Aston University (the United Kingdom), Interlink Academy for International Dialog and Journalism (Germany), Zaporizhzhya National University, V.O. Sukhomlynskyi National University of Mykolaiv, Bohdan Khmelnytsky National University of Cherkasy, Poltava V.G. Korolenko National Pedagogical University, Donbas State Pedagogical University, V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University, Ternopil Volodymyr Hnatiuk National Pedagogical University, Vasyl Stefanyk Precarpathian National University, English Teachers' Association “TESOL-Ukraine” and Ministry of Science and Education of Ukraine.
Alexandra Golovko, Associate Professor of the Department of Theory and Practice of Translation from English of the Faculty of Foreign Philology, is the coordinator of the project from ZNU. Furthermore, Svitlana Zapolskykh, Associate Professor of the same department, and Katerina Sirinyok-Dolgaryova, Vice-Dean for the International Cooperation and Project Management of the Faculty of Journalism, Associate Professor of Journalism Department, have taken part in the project. All of them are successful participants of well-known grant programs, in particular those aimed at improving teachers’ education level and contributing to the education sector reforms. Katerina Sirinyok-Dolgaryova, in particular, is an active participant of another Erasmus + project, which has been successfully implemented at ZNU since 2018 - Erasmus+ KA2 DESTIN (“Journalism Education for democracy in Ukraine: Developing Standards, Integrity, and Professionalism”), that focuses on systemic changes of Ukrainian journalistic education. Its Project Coordinator is Bath Spa University (UK), and it will last until 2021. With regard to the new project, Alexandra Golovko, ZNU coordinator, reports that it is expected to run from 11/15/2019 to 11/15/2022. About 900,000 euros will be allocated for its implementation. The priorities are education (renewal of the curriculum and introduction of the new teaching methods in the educational process Specialty “Teacher of Foreign Language”), internationalization, and lifelong learning. According to Alexandra Golovko, the main stages of the project implementation are the renewal of Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree programs in the specialty of “Teacher of Foreign Language” (English, German, French, Spanish)”, based on the European Qualifications Framework. The stage of curriculum renovation will be followed by the development of recommendations for the programme design in compliance with the legislation of Ukraine and European standards.
Particular attention is paid to the issue of tailoring and implementation of advanced methods of teaching foreign languages in educational process in Ukrainian HEIs, including interactive methods, student-centered learning, communicative approach, CLIL methodology (content and language integrated learning aimed at teaching subjects through a foreign language using special approaches) and curriculum subject update using these methods. In turn, it will facilitate the implementation of selected disciplines in English by universities for Bachelors, Masters, and Ph.D. students, including “Introduction to CLIL Methodology”, “CLIL Methodology”, “Second-language Acquisition”, “Cultural Anthropology and Linguistic Diversity”, “Scientific Research and Academic Writing”, “Media Literacy”. Furthermore, the development of a Strategy for multilingual education by Ukrainian HEIs and courses in English offered will contribute to the process of efficient professional training of highly qualified graduates, fluent in English as well as strengthen the level of internationalization of partner universities and the potential of higher education in general. This strategy will be the first step towards faster internationalization and European integration. Moreover, it will raise Ukrainian universities ranking all over the world and stimulate internationalization of higher education. One of the events planned as part of the project implementation plan – “International Week” for 80 participants from different Ukrainian and European HEIs. It will allow them to get to know each other and establish links for further international cooperation. Moreover, it is planned to improve further training for teachers through numerous workshops on various methodological aspects of teaching foreign language and through workshops for school administration in order to disseminate European experience in the area of adopting multilingualism and teaching certain subjects in English/German (1900 participants), etc.
Svitlana Zapolskykh, a member of the ZNU project implementation team, notes: “We were sincerely amazed and happy to know that our project is a winner. It so happened, that we were developing and putting finishing touches to the project in challenging deadlines. Therefore, I am very grateful to Alexandra Golovko for her inspiration and energy. I am re-reading the project now and it seems that it was written not by three different scholars, but by one person. It is an evidence of being a team on the same wavelength, that is very important as the project is global both in geography of the participants and in its purpose. I hope that it will give an impulse to education reform, in particular training and improvement of professional skills of foreign language teachers. Of course, it is an immense challenge, but we know we can always rely on our foreign partners to support us”.
Vice-Dean of Journalism Department, Associate Professor Katerina Sirinyok-Dolgaryova, one of the activists of project design, adds: “The MultiEd project is essential for Ukraine, and I am happy that it was ZNU who initiated and developed the concept together with our Estonian colleagues from the University of Tartu. The idea of multilingual education and development of the English language competencies of our students has been around for a long time. This project, that involves 8 Ukrainian universities, the Ukrainian Association of Teachers of Foreign Languages, the Ministry of Education and Science, and, of course, European partners, should develop guidelines for higher education in our country to effective English teaching as a language of communication in the workplace. The project aims to change the curriculum of philology students, future English teachers, who will subsequently join new Ukrainian school and improve English language competencies of our youth. Moreover, this project is really interdisciplinary! It is brilliant that we are finding the ways of interaction that enrich the teaching potential of our university! The Faculty of Journalism and the Faculty of Foreign Philology of ZNU have been engaged for several years in fruitful cooperation. First of all, the new project Erasmus + KA2 will have a media literacy module. Training is also planned for teachers who develop and deliver courses in English. We have got a lot of interesting, valuable, although difficult work ahead of us, however, our goal is worth it. Multilingual education in Ukraine is possible!”