When a new generation IT school, 42 opened last year in Silicon Valley, few people in Fremont, California knew that a similar school had already been functioning in the capital of Ukraine under the name of UNIT Factory. Both of these schools implement the system of École 42, which has huge success in France.
Located in a newly-built complex in Kyiv center, UNIT Factory has no teachers, schedules, lecture notes, or traditional marks. It uses Peer 2 Peer pedagogy — a type of participatory learning that allows students to unleash their creativity through project-based learning. The program is based on gamification, as in role-playing computer games: students upgrade their skills, open new levels, and gain experience. Special attention is paid to self-education since this skill is vital for IT pros. And with all that, training at UNIT Factory is free of charge to graduates who agree to work in Ukraine for
the further three years.
"The program prepares our graduates for work on real commercial projects. And we do our best to ensure that students never lose their enthusiasm and desire to develop in the chosen profession," — said Valeriya Zabolotna, Head of UNIT Factory. The first wave of students has already been studying at UNIT Factory for more than seven months, showing rapid progress and excellent motivation.
The second enrollment has already started: by the end of 2017 the number of students will be increased to 800 from today's 280. Candidates are taking online tests and undergoing interviews, the next stage is trial periods (so-called "pools"). Students are selected not on the basis of their educational degree or programming skills, but solely on their talent and motivation. A year ago the selection campaign created quite a stir — more than 12,000 applications were received during the first month.
It is noteworthy that UNIT Factory is not a standalone institution, but the key elements of the ecosystem of the UNIT. City innovation park opened in Kyiv in April 2017. Both of these projects were initiated by Vasyl Khmelnytsky's K.Fund. In the future, the park promises to expand to a "city in the city," a hub of high-tech companies, investors, and talents.