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Mikhail Khodorkovsky to set up university for Russians in Kiev

0 29 April 2014

In the recent “Ukraine- Russia Dialogue” conference, Mikhail Khodorkovsky has revealed that he intends to create a new teaching institution in Kiev. The online university will be founded on the basis of one of Ukraine's existing institutes, explain associates of the ex-oligarch.

Khodorovsky mentioned the foundation of a new university at “Ukraine-Russia Dialogue”, a conference of public figures convened at his own initiative, which took place in Kiev from 24th-25th April. Khodorkovsky's plans to create a new model for a higher education institution “were overheard by chance being discussed three months ago in Berlin,” by one of the interlocutors of RBC (Russian Business Consulting), a member of the conference who wished to remain anonymous.

Esteemed Russian teacher of History, Tamara Eidelman stated that, “the university should be founded with an emphasis on teacher training,” as the subject most in demand would likely be Pedagogical Education. Mikhail Khodorkovsky's own words on the university were predictably succinct, “Yes. Work will begin this Summer,” he remarked.

Editor in chief of “Russian Journal” Alexander Morozov, having read the final resolution, promised that it would be created as soon as possible by a “group working round the clock” which will “launch the programme for Russian students and teachers” on the “basis of an existing institute in Kiev”. The framework of this group would consist of members of the conference.

According to Khordovsky's press secretary Küllo Pispanen, the project will take the shape of an online university, “without any form of permanent base”. She revealed that teaching staff have not yet been decided.

To Valentina Varavva, research worker at the laboratory of pedagogical innovation in the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, the concept of creating a new university seems ideal, but somewhat utopian, “The university was spoken about in one of the sessions of the conference, but not in much detail- his speech mentioned an open university. It's unclear whether it will operate from a concrete platform. It would appear that someone proposed they create a 'mobile institute', so evidently, it will have to move around and provide student access to the best teachers in different places. However the subject hasn't yet been properly disclosed.” Varavva admits that when she heard the words “mobile university” she laughed, imagining some sort of “wandering exhibition”.

In Varavva's opinion, the potential success of the future institute is questionable, “These days, any education initiative in which one partner is Russia and the other is Ukraine will undoubtably collapse. It doesn't matter if there are three or even four countries involved, either Russia or Ukraine will simply drop out of discussions.” On the other hand, she hopes that “something good will come out of the project”, as Ukraine's new government has “a very sensible education minister, Sergei Kvit”, who previously held the position of rector at the Kiev-Mohyla Academy.

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