USAID Helps Law Schools to Adapt their Operations to COVID-19 Pandemic Conditions

How to continue the processes of teaching, learning, and controlling results thereof under COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine conditions? Which form of education to choose for the future: online, mixed or in-class? How fast all necessary changes should be introduced? All higher education institutions faced such questions in the spring.

The well-established cooperation between the USAID New Justice Program and Ukrainian law schools enabled us to quickly identify urgent needs in new knowledge and skills required for working under quarantine conditions and in practical support when transferring to online teaching, learning, and testing.

In April 2020, the Program began to cooperate in this sphere with eight law schools, including the Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University, the National University “Odesa Law Academy”, the Yuriy Fedkovych Chernivtsi National University School of Law, the Vasyl Stus Donetsk National University School of Law, the  Ivan Franko Lviv National University School of Law, the Sumy National Agrarian University School of Law, the Lesya Ukrainka Eastern European National University School of Law, and the Maritime Law and Management Faculty of the National University “Odessa Maritime Academy” so that the Program could support the law schools’ efforts to transition to distance legal education and overcome challenges posed by the pandemic.

Between April and June, the USAID New Justice Program experts conducted a series of online events devoted to the use of modern approaches and tools of distance education for representatives from the said law schools. Over 150 administrators, teachers, and leaders of students’ self-governance bodies took part in 16 online events, including surveys, interactive webinars, and discussions. They identified key challenges posed by the shift to distance education and needs of all stakeholders; prepared recommendation and practical advice on efficient use of telecommunication online platforms; and developed action plans for each university for transferring to distance teaching, learning, testing, and students’ externships.

Thanks to these efforts, thousands of students from these law school will receive better education under new conditions whereas teachers will employ modern methods and technologies for teaching which will come in handy in the future.

Following implementation of the project, the Program experts prepared a report and relevant recommendations which are available here.