The National Aviation University is being reorganized into two institutions. This will affect the production of drones

Anhelina Sheremet

The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine adopted a resolution on the reorganization of the National Aviation University (NAU) into two institutions of higher education: the Kyiv Aviation Institute and the Ukrainian State Flight Academy in Kropyvnytskyi.

This was reported on October 13 by the Deputy Prime Minister for Innovations, Development of Education, Science and Technologies Mykhailo Fedorov.

He explained that this is an important decision for the development of Ukrainian air piloting, the production of drones, the development of defense-tech and the national security of Ukraine. According to Fedorov, NAU was supposed to become a center for the development of air piloting and the development of drones, but the university has not demonstrated efficiency and has not developed a single drone since the beginning of the full-scale war.

The Ministry of Education received letters many times from the staff of the Flight Academy of the National Aviation University of Kropyvnytskyi with a request to separate their institution from NAU. The Flight Academy has drone production workshops that can work for defense capability, but under the leadership of another institution of higher education, their capabilities are limited.

The Minister of Education Oksen Lisovyi noted that most specialties at the university today are in no way related to aviation or drones. Instead, the institution produces political scientists, sociologists and managers, and a third of NAUʼs educational programs have only conditional accreditation.

Now educational institutions will have new leaders and should become centers where they will create "technologies of victory." Fedorov emphasized that students and teachers continue to work and study. The reorganization will not change the working conditions or salary levels of teachers, and students will continue to acquire knowledge at the Kyiv Aviation Institute and the Ukrainian State Flight Academy.

The Kyiv Aviation Institute will have a supervisory board with expanded powers. The Council will control the spending of funds of the institution, the education system, the appointment of rectors and deans during the transformation of the university. The council will be joined by representatives of business, state bodies of all levels, local self-government, and graduates of NAU.

The National Aviation University itself announced that it is preparing a lawsuit over the "liquidation of the NAU". "This decision contradicts the current legislation, grossly violates the principles of autonomy of higher education institutions, and also causes irreparable damage to the aviation industry of the state and the image of Ukraine," the NAU added.

What is wrong with NAU? (or rather with his leadership)

On January 28, 2021, the National Aviation University (NAU) held rector elections. Maksym Lutsky — the former first vice-rector of the university, ex-Deputy of the "Party of Regions" and godfather of Dmytro Tabachnyk, won by a large margin (the election was marred by scandal).

The position of rector at NAU has been vacant since October 2020, when the Ministry of Education and Science dismissed the previous rector Volodymyr Isaenko. Officially, the reason was a violation of fire safety rules at the university, but Isaenko considers this reason to be absurd. According to him, for several years he asked the Ministry of Education and Culture for money for major repairs, but he was refused. Isaenko said that Lutskyʼs struggle for power at NAU lasted for about 15 years: as a vice-rector, he built up the territory of the university with residential buildings and was going to lead NAU in the 2015 elections. But after the Revolution of Dignity, then Minister of Education Serhiy Kvit released both Lutsky and his supporters. He got a chance to return only for Minister Serhii Shkarlet, with whom he has good relations (and they are both godfathers of Dmytro Tabachnyk).

Dmytro Tabachnyk and Maksym Lutskyi.

In May 2023, journalists of the "Bihus.Info" project published an investigation into the leadership of the National Aviation University. Journalists found out that a residential complex was built on the territory of NAU with the assistance of the current rector Maksym Lutsky. Ten percent of the total area of the apartments plus another 7 000 square meters of built-in administrative space was to be the so-called "compensation of the university." Later, the promised area was reduced to 4 percent, and about two dozen apartments in the housing complex now belong to the rector Lutsky himself and his formally ex-wife.

In the summer, the Minister of Education and Science Oksen Lisovyi signed an order announcing a reprimand to NAU rector Maksym Lutsky — his report on the universityʼs annual activities did not contain information about the level of achievement of the institutionʼs performance targets.

On October 3, Maksym Lutsky informed that he was going to serve in the Armed Forces of Ukraine and plans to serve in the Air Defense Forces.