20 July 2012

Ukrainian high school students to participate in the International Chemistry Olympiad with support from Ostchem

P7210017_234x160Four high school students will represent Ukraine at the 44th International Chemistry Olympiad starting in Washington DC (USA) on July 21. Greetings and welcoming addresses to the Olympiad participants arrived from the US President Barack Obama, Nobel Prize winners Ahmed Zewail and Richard Schrock, as well from from William Carroll, Chairman of the Board of the American Chemical Society and Martin O’Malley, Governor of Maryland.

The list of participants from Ukraine was finalized in April 2012 based on results of the Ukrainian School Chemistry Olympiad in which 11-graders Irina Zaporozhets (Balakleya city, Kharkiv region), Dmitry Shibanov (Sevastopol), Igor Chernyuh (Lviv) and a 10-grader Andrey Stelmach (Lviv) performed best. The final round of the All-Ukrainian Chemistry Olympiad was sponsored by OSTCHEM Company, a part of Mr. Dmitry Firtash’s Group DF.


The 2012 International Chemistry Olympiad will be attended by 280 students from 73 countries. Two stages of ten-hour-long competitions will last for ten days. The first stage is a theoretical knowledge check, and the second stage is about a practical skills test. Theoretical and practical tasks cover questions of organic, inorganic, physical, analytical chemistry, biochemistry, and spectroscopy.

The highest score that competitors can get is 100 points. In total, about 30 gold medals, 60 silver and 90 bronze medals are awarded to the best-performing participants. One special award will go to the student featuring the unmatched highest score.


The students had passed a preparatory course at the special lab of Kharkiv V.N. Karazin University as winning prizes at a competition of such a caliber does require both a talent and excellent training using state-of-the-art equipment. Yuriy Kholin, a Vice-President of Kharkiv National University and an irreplaceable curator of Ukraine’s national Olympic team commented that in recent years, a capacity for training students to the Olympiads have improved dramatically: “The team has been very fortunate to have met with an entrepreneur who has financed acquisition of all the essential apparatus. What we had used before is an outdated set no longer employed at the competitions,” said Yuriy Kholin.


OSTCHEM company has volunteered to sponsor the Ukrainian Olympic team. Earlier in May, Dmitry Firtash funded acquisition of the entire set of equipment necessary to ensure the students’ adequate training for the competitions.


The Ukrainian national team has been taking part in the International Chemistry Olympiad since 1994. A record of our young chemists having participated in 17 Olympiads includes 66 medals – 10 gold, 29 silver and 27 bronze medals. In recent years, participants from Ukraine were among the top teams performing on a par with students from Germany and the UK.


The first International Chemistry Olympiad was held in Prague in 1968. The Olympiad is intended to stimulate students’ interest in chemistry all around the world. In pursuit of chemical education quality improvement and its popularization in Ukraine, Dmitry Firtash’s Group DF has been providing support to most gifted students and teachers featuring outstanding results in chemistry learning and teaching.


Group DF has been attaching great importance to equipping chemical labs of Ukrainian schools with material and technical resources. According to a survey of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, the technical and materials assets available at Ukrainian schools as of the start of the 2009/2010 academic year could only meet 29.3 % of the existing requirement while the needs of chemistry, physics and biology studies were covered to an extent of as low as just 10-15 %. This situation brings about two major problems. First, the high level of theoretical training appears offset with gaps in their practical skills. Second of all, the students’ interest in sciences is compromised as running experiments empirically is clearly a more compelling and exciting exercise than just taking notes.


Mr. Firtash’s Group of Companies has volunteered to acquire lab glassware and synthesis and analysis reagents sets for chemical laboratories of schools whose students win prizes at 2010/2011 and 2011/2012 Ukrainian Olympiads.