Participants of the international project Erasmus + KA2 MultiEd "Foreign Language Teacher Training Capacity Development as a Way to Ukraine’s Multilingual Education and European Integration" are actively working on developing of strategies for multilingual education. Recently, the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine (MESU) as a partner of the MultiEd consortium initiated an advisory seminar to exchange experience and ideas on the way to creating these strategies. The project Manager Oleksandra Golovko (University of Tartu, Estonia) moderated the event.
Marina Mruga, State Expert at Analytics, Expert Group on Higher Education and Adult Education, Directorate of Higher and Adult Education represented MESU at the seminar. Regarding the role of the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine in the process of developing strategies of multilingual education, Ms. Mryga said: “The task of the Ministry is to expand the study of foreign languages, especially English, because it is the language of communication in higher education. Our goal is to assist HEIs in making English the second working language in academia, after Ukrainian language. There should not be a formal approach to studying the language. It should be used in teaching process and for communication purposes. The general idea is that every student and teacher should be able to use English as a language of free professional communication."
Maryna Mruga presented to the seminar participants a document developed by the MESU and British Council in cooperation with the National Erasmus+ Office in Ukraine "Guidelines for ensuring the quality of learning and use of English in HEIs of Ukraine". These guidelines describe principles and tools for creating an English-speaking environment, the culture of language teaching in the academic process, establishing appropriate conditions for teaching English. In the context of the MultiEd project, it resonates with the methodology of content and language integrated learning (CLIL). There is a recommendation in this document, which is currently proposed as a requirement in other MESU documents - for example, there is a proposal that in order to obtain a license, a HEI must introduce English language teaching courses. The MultiEd project can complement the guidelines with recommendations for the development of multilingual education - the use of languages other than English. The Ministry of Education and Science will have the opportunity to expand the MultiEd work and dissiminate positive practices of multilingual education in Ukraine.
Ms. Marina told the participants about the general principles of education in foreign languages in Ukraine and explained the basis of state policy in this area. She emphasized the following points:
̶ enhancement of foreign language competence of graduates at the level of B2 and faculty - at the level of B2-C1,
̶ strengthening the role of Englis
h as a language of universal communication in education and research,
̶ introduction of professional English language courses that meet the needs of students,
̶ creating a community of people who are ready to implement changes,
̶ increase the mobility of both students and academic staff.
On the way to the implementation of the relevant state policy, the Ministry and Science introduced the current conditions for entry exams for HEIs applicants (necessity of certificates in English) and requirements for a single entrance exam for a master's level applicants - a foreign languagefluency on B2 level.
Oleksandra Golovko thanked Ms. Marina for presenting the report and in turn explained the vision of the MultiEd project in the field of multilingual education in Ukraine. Ms. Golovko drew attention to the following points: “In the above-mentioned guidelines the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine makes emphasis on the development of English language teaching. The main goal in our projects is the development of multilingual education. First, there is no preference of spreading of Engli
sh in the EU, there is a concept of "multilingual education". Europeans learn several languages from an early age. As a rule, the first language studied in many countries is the native language, the second is English, the third language is often a language of a neighboring country. Secondly, we are updating study programs that train teachers of various foreign languages (English, German, French and other languages). Therefore, in the project we use the term "multilingual education", although indeed more emphasis is placed on the English language. "
Ms. Golovko pointed out that the basic approach to language teaching used in projects is exploiting the CLIL methodology (language support for students while learning content in order to improve understanding of a problem). It helps t
o develop knowledge of the language and subject at the same time, so it is not just learning of English language. It shows the difference between typical approaches to language teaching in the UK and a vision of this process in the light of using the CLIL methodology.
The seminar was attended by representatives of Zaporizhzhia National University, Head of the Department of Theory and Practice of English Translation, Associate Professor Svitlana Zapolskykh, Associate Professor of Journalism Department, Deputy Dean for International Affairs of the Faculty of Journalism Katerina Sirinyok-Dolgaryova, Associate Professor of Sociology Department Igor Kudinov. Representatives of ZNU also pointed out that the results of the survey "Multilingual Education in Ukraine" are currently being processed. Eight universities partners of the project conducted this research over the summer 2021. This study involved about ten thousand people - students, teachers and administrative staff of the universities. Currently, each higher education institution analyzes its data in order to use these results later in developing its own multilingual education strategies. Svitlana Zapolskykh, in particular, noted: “When each university analyzes its results, we will see if our students and teachers are ready to be introduced to multilingual education - in terms of languages of instruction, new courses, extracurricular activities. Everything we do is really more focused on foreign language faculties. If we talk about other faculties, there is not such a wide audience. We hope that if we launch the e-course “CLIL Methodology”, the audience will increase. We will take into account the methodological guidelines of the Ministry of Education and Science. We will see what we have in common and what we can add."
The participants of the seminar discussed possible ways of dissemination of the future strategies to be used by other HEIs of Ukraine. MESU expert Marina Mruga noted that the results of the data analysis of such a large-scale survey would be of interest to the general public. The partners discussed the need to disseminate these results in the form of scientific publications and reports, which potentially can be presented at international Ukrainian and foreign scientific conferences, disseminated through information resources of the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine, other communication channels. Therefore, work on the development of multilingual education strategies continues.