The rich program of the first year of the implementation of the UNICOM project continues with research in focus groups of Ukrainian universities on the implementation of the Third Mission and a fruitful discussion at the round table “University and Inclusion”, which was organized by the coordinator of the project in Ukraine Dragomanov Ukrainian State University and Bohdan Khmelnitskiy Melitopol Pedagogical State University  (October 30, 2023, Melitopol, Kyiv and online).

The welcoming words of professor Guido Amoretti, the coordinator of the UNICOM project, addressed to more than 130 participants of the round table discussion and emphasized the relevance of the issue of inclusiveness in higher education institutions of Ukraine, especially in post-war times.

Professor Zhanna Talanova, who represented the Erasmus office in Ukraine at the round table discussion, spoke about the importance of the project for higher education in Ukraine.

The participants of the round table discussion straight from the horse’s mouth of Tetyana Lomakina, the authorized Counsilor to the President of Ukraine on Barrier-free Accessibility, got acquainted with the results of the government’s actions to create a barrier-free society in Ukraine.

The councilor noted the importance of the role of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in the development of barrier-free access in urban communities and spoke about international support centers in the development of a barrier-free Ukraine.

Mrs. Tetyana presented the research on the accessibility of urban spaces, a barrier-free handbook, educational courses such as “Youth resilience in crisis conditions” and even the educational series “State without barriers”, etc., answered the questions of the participants of the round table.

In continuation of the topic, Diana Spulber, professor of the Faculty of Pedagogy, at the University of Genoa (Italy) spoke about “Inclusion in the focus of the third mission of the university”. Mrs. Diana emphasized the need to implement inclusion in the education system throughout life, starting from school. On the example of educational institutions in Italy, the speaker emphasized the need for legislative support for inclusive education and the importance of the role of universities in the process of its implementation.

Tetyana Konovalenko, the Vice-rector for Scientific, Innovative Work and International Cooperation of Bohdan Khmelnitskiy Melitopol Pedagogical State University, addressed the issue of social inclusion in universities in wartime conditions. The vice-rector spoke about cooperation with the authorities and international structures, outlined support for displaced persons in communities, volunteer activities and cooperation with non-governmental organizations. Identified vectors of social support of the city community by the university in the field of media literacy and highlighted the role of the Center for Sociological Research during wartime.

Iryna Markus, the Dean of the Faculty of Special and Inclusive Education, at Dragomanov Ukrainian State University, devoted her speech to the peculiarities and difficulties of the functioning of HEIs, as well as the reconstruction of an inclusive environment in them in post-war times. The associate professor emphasized the experience dissemination, the importance of teachers training for working conditions in an inclusive university environment, and general staffing. The conclusion of the speech was the substantiation of the connection between the inclusiveness of HEIs and the accessibility and quality of education in Ukraine’s efforts towards European integration.

The result of the session of questions and discussion of the participants of the round table discussion led by the professor of Dragomanov Ukrainian State University Marja Nesterova was a proposal to develop an inclusion Policy for HEIs in Ukraine.

Stay tuned for project’s updates!