Education · August 28, 2021

Sergey Tokarev about the innovative computer science university in Ukraine, STEM, and gender equality in science

The interest in Ukrainian specialists from large companies from all over the world is increasing every year. Therefore, the issue of high-quality training of such employees based on innovative principles is more pressing than ever. Sergey Tokarev, an IT businessman and the founder of the technology company Roosh, shared his vision of an educational institution capable of training such specialists in Ukraine. The expert also spoke about the existing educational programs in the field of IT, STEM, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML).

This summer, a memorandum was signed on the establishment of a computer science university in Ukraine. It was initiated by the investor Sergey Tokarev and Tymofiy Mylovanov, the President of the Kyiv School of Economics. According to the businessman, the training process in the new university will be based on completely new principles according to the American model, where lecturers not only teach their students but are directly involved in creating startups, getting a cut in them. This approach not only motivates lecturers but also turns the educational institution into a real startup accelerator.

The project initiators also note that the university provides students with R&D laboratories, venture studios, and a campus that will be located in Kyiv. In addition, it will be accredited according to international standards, and the best specialists invited from different countries will teach there.

Sergey Tokarev has been working in the IT field for over 20 years. During this time, the businessman created several technological companies and invested in dozens of high-profile projects, including the sensational application Reface that has become popular among millions of people.

The expert is also the founder of the venture studio Pawa that aims to create and develop projects based on AI and ML. He also had a hand in the establishment of the technology company Roosh. In addition to several IT startups, Roosh also includes a venture fund and various educational projects. For example, in May 2020, Tokarev supported the initiative of the Ministry of Digital Information of Ukraine to hold the hackathon HackCorona. The goal of this event was to deal with the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, and almost 900 teams took part in it.

Sergey Tokarev is also one of the initiators of the project STEM is FEM that challenges gender stereotypes in the field of science and technology. This year, its authors held an art project SHE is SCIENCE, aimed to popularize STEM majors among girls, as well as tell a wide audience about female scientists from Ukraine. The organizers received more than 560 contest essays, and the prize fund obtained through the auction amounted to more than $40,000.

According to the businessman, Ukraine has great prospects for the development of the STEM education system and attracting investments to IT. He believes that Ukrainian IT specialists are incredibly diligent and therefore are so appreciated by companies from all over the world, even the large ones. And the high potential of Ukrainian personnel can attract investors, including such giants as Google, Microsoft, and Amazon, that have already opened their offices in Ukraine.

But despite this, the founder of Roosh believes that the IT sector in Ukraine is still developing. And therefore, the issue of reforming the education system, considering the needs of IT specialists, is becoming more and more pressing. According to Tokarev, the existing educational programs, although they provide a good basis, are constrained by bureaucracy, and therefore lag far behind the leading trends. To change this, another approach is required. As an example, the businessman mentions Stanford University, where students of STEM majors not only learn theory but also have an opportunity to launch their startups with their teachers being closely involved in the process.

Among other problems that need to be addressed, Sergey Tokarev mentioned a staff shortage and a brain drain. Quite often, qualified Ukrainian specialists leave the country because local companies cannot offer them a decent salary or working conditions.

According to the investor, with the establishment of the computer science university, the quality of STEM education will not only improve but the entire industry in Ukraine will also change. And this will become an impetus for developing projects that can attract millions of investments.

You can find out more about Sergey Tokarev in the source.