Students studying online.

People in Ukraine will be able to improve their English using an online learning platform specially developed by the University of Cambridge, in collaboration with Cambridge University Press & Assessment, and technology companies Amazon Web Services and Catalyst IT.

It is part of the new Future Perfect programme – initiated by the President of Ukraine and being launched by the Ukrainian government – which aims to make English the official language of international communication in Ukraine and open up new professional and personal opportunities for Ukrainians.

The organisations combined their expertise following a request for help from the Ukrainian government to support Ukraine’s education sector and enhance foreign language learning for both teachers and students, many of whom have been displaced by the war.

As well as helping Ukraine grow international relationships and enable Ukrainians to make better use of other support they have received from the international community since Russia invaded in February 2022, the Future Perfect programme aims to contribute to the rebuilding of the economy after the war.

Thousands of college and university students are among the adult and young adult learners who Ukraine hopes will benefit from the English language learning platform, the first project under the umbrella of Future Perfect and based on Cambridge University Press & Assessment’s Empower course which provides a mix of engaging classroom materials and online learning.

Cambridge is committed to doing all it can to assist teachers and learners in Ukraine, making its educational excellence available to colleges and universities, and enabling students to continue their studies despite the unprecedented challenges Russia’s illegal invasion has created.

Professor Kamal Munir, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for University Community and Engagement at Cambridge University, said: “The University – as part of its Help for Ukraine package of educational support – acted as soon as the Ukrainian government asked for support with English language learning, drawing on expertise from across our departments.

“Key to creating a platform for such a specific audience, learning in such challenging circumstances, was the technical skills of teams within the academic University, and the knowledge and experience of colleagues at Cambridge University Press & Assessment. They have produced in months a resource that would normally take years to deliver.”

The first-of-its kind project saw Cambridge teams – in partnership with e-learning experts Catalyst IT – combine academic expertise from the University, and curriculum expertise from Cambridge University Press & Assessment to create the online platform and provide learning course materials.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) will host the platform on its cloud infrastructure. By using AWS Cloud, the platform will have the ability to dynamically scale to meet future demand for the course, enabling the course content to be available to users anytime from anywhere, all delivered from a highly secure environment. Leveraging the cloud means innovation can be a continuous cycle, ensuring the platform can accommodate future technology developments.

Cambridge will support the launch of the platform – which is being supplied free of charge - before it is handed over to the Digital Ministry of Ukraine.

Fran Woodward, Global Managing Director for English at Cambridge University Press & Assessment, said: “Future Perfect reflects a great ambition for Ukrainian education. This will open doors for Ukrainians who want to improve their English language skills, and will support new global economic opportunities. We are delighted to support English language education in Ukraine and we wish Ukrainian teachers and students every success.”

Valeriya Ionan, Ukraine’s Deputy Minister of Digital Transformation for European Integration, said: “The full-scale invasion re-emphasizes the importance of developing the skills of our people, and the value of inclusive education. We believe in the transformative power of education to facilitate the skills that can reduce the unemployment rate as English language proficiency is directly correlated to GDP. The Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine expresses gratitude to Cambridge University and Amazon Web Services along with Catalyst IT as the technology leaders for the strategic support”.

Dmytro Zavgorodnii, Deputy Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine, for digital development, digital transformations and digitalization, said: “Speaking English multiplies opportunities for literally every citizen in Ukraine. For some, it is a chance to find a dream job and for others it is a tool to connect with people or events around the world. Regardless of your future or current occupation, English is essential. Thanks to Cambridge University, Amazon Web Service and Catalyst IT, we now have a well-timed approach to develop our population’s skills”.

Joey Murison, Managing Director of Catalyst IT, said: “It has been our pleasure to support this great initiative for the students of Ukraine. Our expertise as world leaders in the maintenance and management of online learning platforms for the higher education sector has enabled us to deliver the platform in record time. We look forward to providing our ongoing support now and into the future for the benefit of the students of Ukraine."

Liam Maxwell, Director, Government Transformation, at Amazon Web Services said: “We’re pleased to collaborate on this initiative that will give Ukrainians the opportunity to enhance their English language skills. Building the Empower platform on the cloud will give the Ukrainian Government the flexibility to dynamically scale the environment to meet the demand for the course, and enables the content to be made available remotely and securely to students. We look forward to seeing the course launch, and hope it has a positive impact on the professional growth of the Ukrainian students who take part.”

Cambridge University Help for Ukraine

Cambridge University Help for Ukraine is a developing package of support announced by the University last year. It has also created fully funded residential placements in a wide range of subjects for students and academics, clinical placements for medical students, and help for academics still working in Ukraine.

About Cambridge University Press & Assessment

Cambridge University Press & Assessment supports millions of English language learners worldwide, working with tens of thousands of organisations in more than 130 countries and territories. Last year it was announced that other English language teaching and learning resources were being made available at no cost as part of Cambridge’s support for the Ukrainian education sector.

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