BEST&BRIGHTEST: Reform of Ukrainian education. How has the Ukrainian school changed and why are teachers the agents of change in the country?
The famous British chess player William Arthur Ward wrote the following phrase: “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” For a modern schoolchild, just a story on a topic is no longer enough – the cultural and technological context has changed, as well as the cognitive skills of students and teachers.
The educational environment is becoming more and more digital, giving preference to blending learning – a combination of online and offline formats. McKinsey research suggests that digital education fully meets the needs of Gen Z. The coronavirus has become the driver of these processes. In addition, in the future, the emphasis will be on the introduction of practice-oriented learning.
The World Economic Forum even developed the Education 4.0 program for this. Among the global trends in school education are changes in the assessment system (one is awarded for effort, the other for the result), the institution of mentoring, the introduction of augmented reality platforms, and the blurring of the line between learning and entertainment.
Zoya Lytvyn, head of NGO Osvitoria, founder of the the Novopecherska School, shared her thoughts on the present and future of school education with us.
PERSONALITY IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVALUATION
Over the years of independence, Ukraine has experienced and is still experiencing a difficult transformation – a departure from the Soviet system, which was centered on discipline and a standardized set of knowledge that a student had to master, to a modern, skill-oriented and development-oriented child’s unique personality.
This is what the main school reform of NUS, the New Ukrainian School, is about. Yes, it is implemented unevenly and requires time and resources, but at the level of inherent values and guidelines, this is the correct vector of movement: from person to person, and not the desire for high marks or the study of paragraphs.
EIT – STEP FORWARD
The introduction of external independent assessment (EIT, external testing) can be considered one of the key achievements of the country since independence. It is the entire country, and not just the educational sphere, because the EIT turned out to be the only effective tool in the fight against corruption in admission and a real social lift. Nothing has improved the chances of talented children for admission, and nothing has so much demonstrated the real level of universities.
AUTONOMY AND DIGITAL ARE KEY TRENDS
Decentralization and greater autonomy of schools led to the emergence of both private and public schools, flagships and innovators in different parts of the country. There are still few of them, but they set the bar for the rest.
Quarantine also gave impetus: teachers and schools in an emergency mode were digitized and mastered IT skills. In addition, the topic of education came to the fore in the information space, and society, more than ever, realized its importance.
TEACHER AS A MENTOR
Despite the global trend towards online education, it cannot replace a real teacher. The goal of a modern school is not only knowledge, but also real experience and skills. Creativity, collaboration and empathy develop only among other students and alongside mentors.
Therefore, the teacher changes his role, but remains the main agent of influence in education and in society, and the task of building high-quality training of future teachers is a key challenge for Ukraine.