EDUCATION DIPLOMACY

Ukraine offers affordable higher education

Expat Insider 2016 ranked Ukraine as the most affordable country in terms of living expenses and second-best in personal financial satisfaction.

In Summary
  • For prospective students interested in studying there, the Ukrainian State Centre for International Education offers a range of support services.
  • Students have the same rights, freedoms and obligations as citizens of Ukraine. These include medical care and insurance. 
Anthony Waiyaki, Simon Njinju, Teresa Pearl Wanjiru and Samuel Erumu in Kyiv, Ukraine, during their master's graduation.
Anthony Waiyaki, Simon Njinju, Teresa Pearl Wanjiru and Samuel Erumu in Kyiv, Ukraine, during their master's graduation.
Image: COURTESY

Life in Turkana is tough, as Samuel Erumu knows all too well. To acquire an education, he was forced to move to his uncle’s place, where he would help at his shop after school in return for his support.

He did well in his studies and was admitted to the University of Nairobi to study engineering. In his first year, he saw a newspaper advert offering a scholarship in Ukraine through the government of Kenya and applied. He was later contacted by the Ministry of Education and, as they say, the rest is history. He is now a computer engineer in Ukraine, where he undertook his undergraduate and master's studies.

Simon Njinju grew up in a humble background in Mathira, Nyeri county. His classmates described him as a genius.

 

Njinju was admitted to Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, where he came across a Ukrainian sponsorship opportunity one day while passing away time at the computer lab. He applied for the scholarship and qualified.

Njinju studied chemical engineering for his undergraduate and master's degrees and is now an automation engineer.  

Teresa Pearl Wanjiru had enrolled for an International Relations degree at the United States International University – Africa but “she wasn’t feeling it”. She wanted to study for her bachelor's in a different country.

Out of her various options she picked Ukraine. Why the Eastern European country? The fee was lower compared to the other countries.

Wanjiru is among 110 Kenyan students studying medicine in Ukraine. She is set to complete her degree, with a speciality in surgery, this year.

The other 12 students study finance and banking, IT, aviation, music and construction across 13 cities.

There are more than 75,000 students from 154 states studying in Ukraine. India has the highest number at 14,958, while Nigeria has the highest number of African students at 3,550.

Expat Insider 2016 ranked Ukraine as the most affordable country in terms of living expenses and second-best in personal financial satisfaction. In 2005, the country joined the Bologna Process, in a bid to integrate Ukrainian education into the European Higher Education Area.

Students have the option of undertaking their courses in Ukrainian, Russian or English languages.

For prospective students interested in studying there, the Ukrainian State Centre for International Education offers a range of support services.

Ukrainian State Centre for International Education director Dr Olena Shapovalova at her office in Kyiv during an interview with the Star.
Ukrainian State Centre for International Education director Dr Olena Shapovalova at her office in Kyiv during an interview with the Star.
Image: ELIUD KIBII

The centre director, Olena Shapovalova, says these include information support in career guidance and opportunities and conditions of studying there, the system of education and how it works, invitation letter, entry into Ukraine, airport pick up and consulting services during the stay in the country.

Students have the same rights, freedoms and obligations as citizens of Ukraine. These include medical care and insurance. 

While the government of Ukraine is looking forward to the signing of an education MoU with Kenya to open more slots and scholarship opportunities for Kenyans, Shapovalova says more information, support and campaign about studying in Ukraine is needed.

This, she says, will increase the number of prospective students.

Edited by Josephine M. Mayuya