'If you are ready for challenges of the modern world - it's worth a try,' - said the Professor from Portugal on the Double Diploma Programme for Masters

'If you are ready for challenges of the modern world - it's worth a try,' - said the Professor from Portugal on the Double Diploma Programme for Masters

Lutsk National Technical University continues to expand the boundaries of cooperation not only with Ukrainian HEIs, but also with leaders among European universities. Every year, the number of foreign partners increases, and, as a result, young people from Lutsk are more likely to see the world, learn other cultures, make new acquaintances, acquire high-quality education, and successfully apply their knowledge.

The Lutsk NTU collaborates fruitfully with the Portuguese Polytechnic Institute Of Bragan?a. Louise Frolen Ribeiro, a professor from the European HEI and a Head of the Department of Mechanical Technology, paid a visit to Lutsk on June 27-28. The scientist has been dealing with renewable energy problems for more than 20 years. He coordinates the Double Diploma Programme and believes that the document on higher education does not give anything until a student himself/herself wants to reach the heights. Moreover, Luis Fr?l?n Ribeiro would willingly try himself as a teacher of Lutsk NTU.

About all this and a little more read in the follow-up interview.

Tell us about your activities and the purpose of your current stay in Lutsk NTU.

My name is Luis Fr?l?n Ribeiro and I am a professor of Mechanical Technology at the Polytechnic Institute of Bragan?a. I received an invitation from the National Technical University of Ukraine 'Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute' to participate in the international scientific and technical conference 'Progressive technics, technology and engineering education'. I came to Lutsk to present the results of the implementation of the Double Diploma Programme which had been launched during my previous visit. At one time, lecturers of Master Degree courses in Lutsk NTU submitted 9 proposals for a Double Diploma Programme in technical and economic specialities. 8 proposals have already been supported by the Portuguese university so far. One of them is still under consideration. Hence, Lutsk NTU students can begin their Double Diploma Master Programme from the next semester.

What research interests do you have and what are your achievements in your scientific area?

I have been dealing with renewable energy problems and have been working in this field for more than 20 years. I work with many research centers in Portugal, Denmark and the United States, and have a number of projects in this area. As a result, my achievements have been awarded by such international groups as the EDP Group, the Altran Group, the European and Middle East ETRERA Consortium. I won the first place in the field of wind energy and the second place in the innovation competition in the same field for the third time.

Tell us about the peculiarities of 'double' education, in particular at the Polytechnic Institute of Bragan?a. Why is it beneficial and even unique for our students?

Studying at our Institute means life full of travels and development for students. We can not restrict ourselves to one local closed space. Youth must develop, live in another reality for a while and see other countries, because it is a huge experience. In addition, Bragan?a is a town with 25,000 people, among them 7,000 - university students. In fact it is a student campus. Of these, 2,000 are applicants from more than 70 countries. This is a multicultural environment of an utmost interest to young people. Regarding some important facts about out Polytechnic Institute of Bragan?a, it has been taking the first place in the EU ranking among the Portuguese Polytechnic Educational Institutions for the past 5 years. What is more, we perceive all students for our own, and not just for visitors. They have the same rights as the Portuguese youth, that is, the right to high-quality education, access to all training bases, laboratories, bibliographic data, the right to receive insurance inside the university, etc.

How do our students in Portugal pay for tuition, accommodation, food, etc.? Do they pay the whole sum by themselves, or they get some support from the university?

Concerning tuition fees, the study costs € 1,090 a year and these costs are covered by the students themselves. The International Relations Office helps the coming students to find a place of living (e.g. a hostel, or an apartment) and solve other organizational issues. A student receives an ID Card to put money on, and receive student discounts within the city, the country and the EU as well. There is an exceptionally good dining room. For 2,30 euros, a student receives a full menu consisting of the first course, appetizers, various salads, other dishes of meat and fish, vegetables and fruits, desserts.

How long does the study last? How is the defense of master papers and receiving a diploma going?

The main idea of ??the Double Diploma Programme is a recognition of the student's study in one university by another and vice versa. The student must study one year in Lutsk National Technical University and complete the theoretical course. The Polytechnic Institute of Bragan?a recognizes all the disciplines studied by a student in Ukraine. Next year, the student can go to Bragan?a and, depending on the course, have an additional two to three subjects, practice and preparation of the thesis. According to the cooperation agreement, the results of the second year of study are recognized by the Lutsk NTU. The student should write a Master or Bachelor paper in English and has two supervisors both from the Polytechnic Institute of Bragan?a and the Lutsk National Technical University. Supervisors get in contact with each other and outline ways of cooperation. Thus, the student is actually coordinated on both sides, fulfilling requirements of two universities. Finally, a student defends one thesis. This experience has already been tested at the Business Faculty, as students from Lutsk NTU have already travelled to Portugal under a Double Diploma Programme. Currently there are two students in Lutsk NTU who this year received Double Diploma scholarships and can already go to Portugal.

In addition, during this time the student gets two diplomas, writing and defending only one scientific work. Moreover, he/she is awarded a graduate diploma not only by Lutsk NTU and the Polytechnic Institute of Bragan?a, but also by three universities that form a consortium with Polytechnic Institute of Bragan?a: the Instituto Polit?cnico do C?vado e do Ave, the Universidade do Porto, and the Viana do Castelo Institute of Philosophy. The courses are conducted in English. Although, we do not require a certificate of English language skills, it is necessary to know it in order to study normally. Additionally, students are provided with free basic Portuguese language courses and during this time they can get a certificate of at least A2 level.

What opportunities does a double diploma give in the future?

It all depends on the student. No diploma gives anything to a person until he/she exerts himself/herself. However, this document is European and it is recognized automatically by all EU countries. Our diploma is a testimony to high-quality European education, because the university has EU quality honors. Above all, it is a part of the consortium of the best HEIs. If a student has approved himself/herself during his/her studies, he/she may receive an invitation and a scholarship to practice in the company. In addition, the internationalization of education increases due to students exhange, the quality of the academic work of teachers improves, and the results of research papers are published in scientific journals indexed in Scopus, Web of Science, etc. There are about 300 scientific works already published in such abstract and citation databases.

Do you teach our students in Bragan?a?

I don't conduct classes, because I finished technical school. I am a mechanic. Students from the Business Faculty and the Faculty of Accounting and Finance have come to study in Portugal from the Lutsk NTU so far. My colleagues are very happy with your students and say they are all well trained and very diligent. That is why we decided to expand cooperation, bringing young people of technical specialities to our Institute. I hope that the professors of these subject areas will be even more active.

And would you like to teach in Lutsk NTU?

I would be pleased to. After all, I have already held a workshop and a short course in renewable energy for master students at Lutsk National Technical University. I really enjoyed this experience. Students were satisfied, because my classes were not just a mere presentation of the material, but an incentive to think, to express oneself, to express one's view and initiative.

It is known that you are engaged in double supervision of postgraduate papers. Would you, please, tell us more about it?

Postgraduate double supervision is prescribed in the cooperation agreement and authorized by the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine. Two years ago, one student expressed initiative of this kind of supervision, and we began to put it into life. But, due to certain bureaucratic inconsistencies, cooperation, unfortunately, has stopped. However, such an opportunity for postgraduate students exists and doubles the opportunities of young people. In addition, there has already been practiced a double supervision of master students in speciality 'International Economic Relations' regarding the use of new energy technologies in international tourism. It was a pretty good experience.

We know you are engaged in another project. What are its peculiarities and main purpose?

One of the areas of cooperation among the universities is also the project activity, so the Polytechnic Institute of Bragan?a invited Lutsk NTU to become partners of the newly created project 'Dream'. It is aimed at retraining teachers and improving their qualifications. The Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine, 5 universities of Ukraine, the University of Denmark, 39 companies (4 - from Lutsk and 2 associations from Volyn) are involved in the project. Among them - TM 'Zabiiaka', 'Teremno Khlib', 'Restpark', 'Alfainterplast', Volyn Regional Council, and Volyn Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

What do you think is the difference between the educational process in Ukraine and Portugal? What should our and your university borrow from each other?

From my experience of working with Ukrainian universities, I can say that you have a high level of basic training. Instead, we pay a lot of attention to practice. However, as far as I am concerned, Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine also introduced a strategy of dual education with the involvement of manufacturing enterprises. At the same time, we get acquainted with universities and their educational systems of all countries, do not criticize them, but make decisions about recognition. Our main task is to understand and recognize the levels of education.

Finally, I suggest that you should advertise the Polytechnic Institute of Bragan?a by contacting potential entrants and students. Why should students choose your university for Double Diploma Education?

You should determine what you want in life. If your choice is easy life, staying in a small town without changing anything, a life with no travels and no seeing the world, you should not even try to apply for this programme. But if you want to grow, to get to know another level of life, to see another culture, if you are ready for challenges of the modern world, it is worth trying and strengthening your knowledge, gaining new experience and expanding your outlook.

Ilona Karpiuk, the Information Department of Lutsk NTU

Anna Verbytska (translation), the International Relations Office