A change of mind­set:

Mostly dis­cussed for its reg­u­la­tion of the lan­guage of in­struc­tion in schools, the new law of­fers more over­looked in­no­va­tions in­tended to change the qual­ity and the con­tent of ed­u­ca­tion in Ukraine

The Ukrainian Week - - CONTENTS - Hanna Tre­hub

How the new law in­tends to re­form Ukraine's ed­u­ca­tion

Leg­is­la­tion is a field where reg­u­lar up­dates are needed to make sure so­ci­eties catch up with the con­di­tions dic­tated by their time. The adop­tion of the new Law of Ukraine On Ed­u­ca­tion is not an ex­cep­tion to the rule.

In 1991, the newly-in­de­pen­dent Ukraine adopted a law on ed­u­ca­tion to re­place the old Soviet one. 26 years ago the so­ci­ety and the mar­ket had dif­fer­ent de­mands for their ed­u­ca­tion. On Septem­ber 5, af­ter much public de­bate and pres­sure to re­form the na­tion’s out­dated ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem, the Rada adopted the new law that of­fers some in­no­va­tions and changes. Its best-known sec­tion, Ar­ti­cle 7, de­fines the lan­guage of in­struc­tion and is cur­rently de­bated in Europe. How­ever, the law is also about the func­tion­ing of the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem in Ukraine, the qual­ity changes to it and the im­prove­ment of its per­for­mance. In the fu­ture, the re­formed ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem is ex­pected to gen­er­ate high-qual­ity pro­fes­sion­als, as well as ed­u­cated and com­pe­tent cit­i­zens.

Ac­cord­ing to Ar­ti­cle 3 of the new law, all cit­i­zens of Ukraine are guar­an­teed equal right to ed­u­ca­tion. It clearly states that this guar­an­teed right is pro­vided re­gard­less of age, sex, race, state of health, dis­abil­ity, ci­ti­zen­ship, na­tion­al­ity, po­lit­i­cal, reli­gious or other be­liefs, place of res­i­dence, lan­guage of com­mu­ni­ca­tion, ori­gin, so­cial and prop­erty sta­tus, prior con­vic­tions, and other cir­cum­stances. In ad­di­tion to that, ev­ery­one has the right to ac­cess public ed­u­ca­tional, sci­en­tific and in­for­ma­tion re­sources, in­clud­ing on­line re­sources, elec­tronic text­books and other mul­ti­me­dia teach­ing re­sources, in the man­ner pre­scribed by the law. Thus, the em­pha­sis is made on in­clu­sive ed­u­ca­tion for all with­out ex­cep­tion, guar­an­teed by law.

Ar­ti­cle 5 de­scribes ed­u­ca­tion is a pri­or­ity of state pol­icy that en­sures in­no­va­tive, so­cio-eco­nomic and cul­tural devel­op­ment of so­ci­ety. The fund­ing of ed­u­ca­tion is de­fined as an in­vest­ment in hu­man po­ten­tial and sus­tain­able devel­op­ment of so­ci­ety and the State. The State must cre­ate the con­di­tions for ob­tain­ing civic ed­u­ca­tion aimed at form­ing the com­pe­ten­cies nec­es­sary for ex­er­cis­ing the rights and obli­ga­tions of cit­i­zens and un­der­stand­ing the val­ues of a civil (free demo­cratic) so­ci­ety, the rule of law, and the rights and lib­er­ties of the cit­i­zen. Com­pe­tency, a term that was ab­sent from the 1991 Ed­u­ca­tion Law, is a dy­namic com­bi­na­tion of knowl­edge, skills, ways of think­ing, views, val­ues, and other per­sonal qual­i­ties. It de­ter­mines the abil­ity of a per­son to suc­cess­fully so­cial­ize and en­gage in pro­fes­sional ac­tiv­i­ties and/or fur­ther ed­u­ca­tion.

Ar­ti­cle 6 de­fines the hu­man cen­tric ap­proach to ed­u­ca­tion, en­sur­ing equal ac­cess to ed­u­ca­tion with­out dis­crim­i­na­tion on any grounds, in­clud­ing dis­abil­ity, as one of the fun­da­men­tals of state pol­icy in the field of ed­u­ca­tion. The law speaks of de­vel­op­ing an in­clu­sive ed­u­ca­tional en­vi­ron­ment, par­tic­u­larly in schools that are the most ac­ces­si­ble and close to places of res­i­dence of per­sons with spe­cial needs, in Ar­ti­cle 20. It says that ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions may form, as ap­pro­pri­ate, in­clu­sive and/or spe­cial groups and classes for the peo­ple with spe­cial needs. If re­quested by peo­ple with spe­cial needs or their par­ents, the for­ma­tion of such groups and classes is manda­tory. Schools should pro­vide stu­dents with phys­i­cal, men­tal and in­tel­lec­tual dis­or­ders, as well as sen­sory im­pair­ments, aux­il­iary means for ed­u­ca­tion. It re­quires state au­thor­i­ties and lo­cal self-gov­ern­ment bod­ies to form in­clu­sive re­source cen­ters in or­der to en­sure the right to ed­u­ca­tion and psy­cho­log­i­cal and ped­a­gog­i­cal sup­port for chil­dren with spe­cial needs. Ex­ist­ing school premises should meet the ac­ces­si­bil­ity re­quire­ments in ac­cor­dance with state reg­u­la­tions, and new ones should be de­signed for univer­sal and rea­son­able ac­com­mo­da­tion.

The new law man­dates that the lan­guage of in­struc­tion in ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions is the state lan­guage. The state guar­an­tees ev­ery cit­i­zen of Ukraine the right to ob­tain ed­u­ca­tion at all lev­els (pre-school, gen­eral sec­ondary, vo­ca­tional (tech­ni­cal), pro­fes­sional pre-higher and higher ed­u­ca­tion), as well as out-of­school and post­grad­u­ate ed­u­ca­tion in the state lan­guage in state

and public ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions. Per­sons be­long­ing to na­tional mi­nori­ties and indige­nous pop­u­la­tions of Ukraine are guar­an­teed the right to study in public ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions to ac­quire preschool and pri­mary ed­u­ca­tion in the lan­guage of the re­spec­tive na­tional mi­nor­ity, along with the state lan­guage. This right is ex­er­cised through the es­tab­lish­ment of sep­a­rate classes (groups) with in­struc­tion in the lan­guage of the re­spec­tive na­tional mi­nor­ity, in ad­di­tion to the state lan­guage. Na­tional mi­nori­ties are also guar­an­teed the right to study their lan­guage in public gen­eral sec­ondary schools or through na­tional cul­tural so­ci­eties. This setup, as well as a num­ber other ed­u­ca­tional in­no­va­tions, are meant to act as a mech­a­nism of in­clu­sion, al­low­ing the rep­re­sen­ta­tives of na­tional mi­nori­ties and indige­nous peo­ples to en­joy the same ben­e­fits as the rest of Ukrainian cit­i­zens. This in­cludes ac­cess to ed­u­ca­tion in Ukrainian uni­ver­si­ties and to public of­fices that is im­pos­si­ble with­out flu­ency in Ukrainian as the state lan­guage.

The new law fo­cuses on the role of science in ed­u­ca­tion. It makes au­thor­i­ties and in­sti­tu­tions in­volved in ed­u­ca­tion ac­count­able to so­ci­ety, and sep­a­rates the func­tions of con­trol (su­per­vi­sion) and op­er­a­tion of ed­u­ca­tional es­tab­lish­ments into dif­fer­ent in­sti­tu­tions. It out­lines ed­u­ca­tion as a field in­te­grated with the la­bor mar­ket. A sep­a­rate para­graph is in­cluded on non­in­ter­fer­ence of po­lit­i­cal par­ties and reli­gious or­ga­ni­za­tions in the in­struc­tion process. Stu­dents are to be pro­vided di­verse and bal­anced in­for­ma­tion on the is­sues of pol­i­tics, ide­olo­gies and reli­gions.

Ar­ti­cle 12 pre­scribes anew and in de­tail the mean­ing and con­tent of com­plete gen­eral sec­ondary ed­u­ca­tion in­tro­duc­ing new com­po­nents that were ab­sent from the 1991 ver­sion. Ac­cord­ing to the new law, the pur­pose of com­plete gen­eral sec­ondary ed­u­ca­tion is the com­pre­hen­sive devel­op­ment, ed­u­ca­tion and so­cial­iza­tion of a per­son ca­pa­ble of life in a so­ci­ety and civ­i­lized in­ter­ac­tion with na­ture, striv­ing for self-im­prove­ment and life-long learn­ing, ready for con­scious life choices and self-ful­fill­ment, re­spon­si­bil­ity, pro­fes­sional life, and civic ac­tiv­ity. This goal is achieved by shap­ing the key com­pe­ten­cies nec­es­sary for ev­ery mod­ern per­son to suc­ceed: flu­ency in the state lan­guage; abil­ity to com­mu­ni­cate in one's mother tongue (if dif­fer­ent from the state lan­guage) and for­eign lan­guages; com­pe­tence in math­e­mat­ics; com­pe­tence in the field of nat­u­ral sciences and tech­nol­ogy; in­no­va­tion; eco­log­i­cal com­pe­tence; in­for­ma­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion com­pe­tence; and life-long learn­ing. Th­ese are com­ple­mented by civil and so­cial com­pe­ten­cies re­lated to the ideas of democ­racy, jus­tice, equal­ity, hu­man rights, well-be­ing and healthy life­styles, with the aware­ness of equal rights and op­por­tu­ni­ties, cul­tural com­pe­tence, en­trepreneur­ship, fi­nan­cial lit­er­acy, etc. All com­pe­ten­cies in­clude the fol­low­ing com­mon skills: read­ing and un­der­stand­ing, abil­ity to ex­press in­di­vid­ual opin­ion both orally and in writ­ing, crit­i­cal and sys­tem­atic think­ing, abil­ity to log­i­cally jus­tify a view­point, creativ­ity, ini­tia­tive, abil­ity to con­struc­tively man­age emo­tions, eval­u­ate risks, make de­ci­sions, solve prob­lems, and co-op­er­ate with oth­ers.

The new law in­tro­duces ed­u­ca­tion dis­tricts. The pur­pose is to set up the in­fras­truc­ture for ob­tain­ing com­plete gen­eral sec­ondary ed­u­ca­tion with sub­ject-ori­ented in­struc­tion, com­pre­hen­sive per­sonal devel­op­ment, ra­tio­nal and ef­fi­cient use of avail­able re­sources, and the buildup of ma­te­rial and tech­ni­cal base of ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions, as well as their mod­ern­iza­tion. An ed­u­ca­tional dis­trict will en­com­pass a set of ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions and their branches, in­clud­ing out-of-school in­sti­tu­tions, cul­tural es­tab­lish­ments, PE and sports in­sti­tu­tions that pro­vide ac­cess to ed­u­ca­tion for the res­i­dents of the re­spec­tive dis­trict.

Adult ed­u­ca­tion is cov­ered in a sep­a­rate ar­ti­cle. Be­ing part of life-long ed­u­ca­tion, it is aimed at en­sur­ing the right of adults to con­tin­u­ous ed­u­ca­tion tak­ing into ac­count their per­sonal needs, so­cial devel­op­ment pri­or­i­ties, and the needs of the econ­omy. Adult ed­u­ca­tion is com­posed of post­grad­u­ate ed­u­ca­tion; pro­fes­sional em­ployee train­ing; re­train­ing and/or ad­vanced train­ing cour­ses; con­tin­u­ous pro­fes­sional devel­op­ment; etc. Post­grad­u­ate ed­u­ca­tion in­volves the ac­qui­si­tion of new skills and the im­prove­ment of those pre­vi­ously ac­quired in the process of higher, vo­ca­tional (tech­ni­cal) or pro­fes­sional ad­vanced ed­u­ca­tion and prac­ti­cal ex­pe­ri­ence.

The specifics of re­la­tions be­tween ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions and po­lit­i­cal par­ties, as well as reli­gious or­ga­ni­za­tions, are out­lined in Ar­ti­cle 31. It re­quires that state and public ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions are sep­a­rated from churches (reli­gious or­ga­ni­za­tions) and are sec­u­lar. Pri­vate ed­u­ca­tional es­tab­lish­ments, in par­tic­u­lar those founded by reli­gious or­ga­ni­za­tions, have the right to de­ter­mine the reli­gious ori­en­ta­tion of their ed­u­ca­tional ac­tiv­i­ties. Po­lit­i­cal par­ties have no right to in­ter­fere in the ed­u­ca­tional process of schools. No po­lit­i­cal party cells or po­lit­i­cal as­so­ci­a­tions can be formed and func­tion within school premises. An im­por­tant para­graph of this ar­ti­cle pro­hibits school ad­min­is­tra­tion, ped­a­gog­i­cal and aca­demic staff, state au­thor­i­ties, lo­cal self-gov­ern­ments and their of­fi­cials to en­gage stu­dents and pro­fes­sors in events or­ga­nized by reli­gious or­ga­ni­za­tions or po­lit­i­cal par­ties, ex­cept for events pro­vided for by the ed­u­ca­tional pro­gram. An anti-dis­crim­i­na­tory clause also sets forth that stu­dents can­not be re­stricted in their right to ac­quire ed­u­ca­tion in state and public ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions based on their be­long­ing or not be­long­ing to any reli­gious or­ga­ni­za­tions or po­lit­i­cal par­ties.

Ar­ti­cle 42 of the law ad­dresses the is­sue of aca­demic in­tegrity. It refers to a set of eth­i­cal poli­cies and statu­tory rules that the par­tic­i­pants in the ed­u­ca­tional process should abide by in the process of learn­ing, teach­ing and con­duct­ing sci­en­tific or cre­ative ac­tiv­i­ties. This should en­sure con­fi­dence in the out­come of the ed­u­ca­tion process. Ad­her­ence to aca­demic in­tegrity by the ped­a­gog­i­cal and sci­en­tific staff im­plies pro­vid­ing ref­er­ences to the sources of in­for­ma­tion used for ideas, in­ven­tions, state­ments and in­for­ma­tion. Copy­right norms should be met, and re­li­able in­for­ma­tion should be pro­vided on the meth­ods and re­sults of re­search. For the stu­dents, in­tegrity pro­ce­dures reg­u­late in­de­pen­dent com­ple­tion of school tasks, the pro­vi­sion of ref­er­ences to the sources of their in­for­ma­tion, ad­her­ence to copy­right rules and more. A wel­come change comes from the def­i­ni­tion of what con­sti­tutes vi­o­la­tions of aca­demic in­tegrity in the new law: aca­demic pla­gia­rism, self-pla­gia­rism (i.e. pub­li­ca­tion of own pre­vi­ously pub­lished sci­en­tific re­sults as new sci­en­tific re­sults), fab­ri­ca­tion, fal­si­fi­ca­tion and cheat­ing. All th­ese have long been a se­ri­ous prob­lem in Ukraine’s ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem, in­her­ited from Soviet prac­tices and nur­tured fur­ther by the in­ten­sity of school ed­u­ca­tion and a lack of so­cial cen­sor­ship for such prac­tices. The new in­tegrity pro­vi­sions are aimed at chang­ing the ap­proach and mind­set on ed­u­ca­tion.

Sanc­tions for the vi­o­la­tion of aca­demic in­tegrity pro­ce­dures by school staff can in­clude re­fusal of aca­demic de­grees or ti­tles, abo­li­tion of de­grees awarded ear­lier, re­fusal of the right to par­tic­i­pate in statu­tory bod­ies or oc­cupy statu­tory po­si­tions. Stu­dents may have to go through a rep­e­ti­tion of tests or the com­po­nents of ed­u­ca­tion in which the vi­o­la­tion took place, de­prived of schol­ar­ships or al­lowances.

Ar­ti­cle 45 of the new law in­tro­duces a mech­a­nism of in­sti­tu­tional au­dit, a com­pre­hen­sive ex­ter­nal re­view and as­sess­ment of ed­u­ca­tional and ad­min­is­tra­tion pro­cesses in schools. The pur­pose is to en­sure its ef­fec­tive work and sus­tain­able devel­op­ment. The law in­sti­tutes the po­si­tion of Ed­u­ca­tion Om­buds­man, an of­fi­cial ap­pointed by the Cab­i­net to pro­tect in­di­vid­ual rights in the field of ed­u­ca­tion.

The Euro­pean so­ci­ety is based on the ed­u­cated so­ci­ety prin­ci­ple, high cul­ture and equal op­por­tu­ni­ties for all. This is the pur­pose of the re­form launched by the re­cently adopted Ed­u­ca­tion Law, one of the nec­es­sary tools for chang­ing Ukraine for the bet­ter.

Fu­ture cit­i­zens. The State must cre­ate the con­di­tions for ob­tain­ing civic ed­u­ca­tion aimed at form­ing the com­pe­ten­cies nec­es­sary for ex­er­cis­ing the rights and obli­ga­tions of cit­i­zens

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ukraine

© PressReader. All rights reserved.