Civil society needs to actively engage in education reform – Deputy Minister for Education and Science of Ukraine

Kyiv, December 22, 2015. Ministry of education and science of Ukraine is drastically changing approaches to reforming educational sector and is calling upon civil society to engage in this process so that the school meets up-to-date requirements and provides skills and knowledge to students that are sufficient to meet the future challenges, said Oleh Derevyanko, Deputy Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. “Drastic transformations of the existing school system are required so that the Ukrainian educational system becomes capable of preparing children and youngsters for successful adult life in modern world. The transformations in question foresee new content of education (new programs), preparing teachers of a new type who would be ready to work using these programs and different approaches, renewal of facilities and resources the schools possess as well as decentralization of the school system,” noted Deputy Minister of Education and Science.

Oleh Derevyanko said that the Institute for Education Content Upgrading will be implementing the mission. The institution subordinates to the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine and is formed based on former Institute for Innovative Technologies and education content. The latter was supposed to ensure compliance of Ukrainian educational trends with the international ones. However, it failed to achieve this and instead of stimulating progress in educational sector turned into its brake. Thus the Ministry of Education and Science changed management and structure of the Institute and is now optimizing the staff number, which has been reduced by 23 percent – from 600 to 462 people. “The Institute’s structure is rearranged according to the key needs of the concept ‘education of tomorrow’. Thus the departments of e-learning, entrepreneur skills, informal education for adults, promotion of languages learning, STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education etc. have been introduced,” said Natalia Vyatkina, director of the Institute for Education Content Upgrading.

She noted that the child-centered approach and child’s needs will remain key principles regardless of the developments. Vyatkina sees the Institute’s mission in building an educational system with a capacity of “preparing a young person to life and work challenges, to be a citizen.”

As over the past two years the civil society has proved its efficiency in resolving complex tasks of state importance the Ministry of Education and Science made cooperation with civil activists its priority. Maria Bohuslav who has been the coordinator of the “Academy of skills” social project will join the Institute for modernization of education as deputy director. “Academy of skills” is the first online platform in Ukraine that enables everyone eager to increase their educational level in various sectors on the non-paid basis. “We were the first to suggest basics of civic education. It was quite difficult first of all because there were no ready-made models and we did everything from scratch. We conducted a public opinion poll to discover what skills and knowledge Ukrainians need to become conscious and proactive citizens. Then we created educational targets. As a result citizens received a chance to access over 100 video lectures and a thousand tests for free. We see such approach as one of the effective instruments to form active civil society in Ukraine,” said Maria Bohuslav emphasizing that the experience gained will be useful to formulate the vision of what the Ukrainian education of the future should be like.