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Ukrainian Baptist Theological Seminary removes tuition fees for students

by Kelly Valencia

The Ukrainian Baptist Theological Seminary (UBT) has announced it will not require students to pay this year's tuition fee. 

"Our lives have changed a lot in the last six months. There are things we cannot control. But we can definitely invest in ourselves, in other people and in the Church," a message on UBT's Facebook page read. 

"We do not want the financial problem to hinder learning. Therefore, it was decided to cancel tuition fees for the next academic year 2022-2023 for undergraduate, bachelor's and master's degree students of all courses."

Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February, UBT became the only operating theological seminary during the war with some of its students becoming refugees in Poland and in Czech Republic.

The centre, located in the western city of Lviv, also received many people fleeing the war, including pastors from other baptist churches. 

Before the war started, the seminary had 1,300 students, 600 of them graduated this summer.

Speaking to Premier Christian News, the president of UBT, pastor Yaroslavl Pyzh said they have 150 new applicants for their master's and bachelor's courses already. 

"We have another 100 that are on certificate level, and we expect another 500 on other certificate programs and we have a group of students in Poland, about 110 students that are already studying because those groups are among the refugees and Ukrainians in Poland and Czech Republic. So I don't expect any kind of shortage of students." 

For this academic year, the seminary will be implementing new subjects around trauma to its curriculum. 

"We'll be starting this new year with what we call 'debriefing'. So, the first two hours [students] will go through this specific process. It's a very old process where we will ask them for different questions and let them kind of reflect on it," pastor Yaroslavl explained.

"But we did not go through like any theological topics, yet, but we will go into future for sure. I mean, that's because this war revealed a couple of weaknesses, big time." 

According to UN figures, at least three million people have fled Ukraine since the conflict started.

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