Recently, the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine announced the release of an interesting document - the Vision of the Future for Public Education and Science , which caused a number of discussions.
It is worth noting that from the very beginning, this document was conceived as a signpost for Ukraine - in what vector should our education system develop, and what should be improved in it. However, reality has made its own adjustments.
Who wrote the vision?
At one time, the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine announced a gathering of Ukrainian educational experts in order to prepare a successful strategy for the development and improvement of the level of education in Ukraine together with them and the public. The number of involved experts was considerable, and several stages of remote work awaited them.
The experts had to determine what problems the educational industry of Ukraine has and suggest ways to solve them. The field of education really has many problems and requires the development of the right vector for reform. It is especially important at this stage to study successful cases, which certainly exist in Ukraine. It is for this that, logically, experts should be gathered so that they can share their best practices.
However, unfortunately, the organization of working groups by the Ministry of Education turned out to be somewhat strange. Imagine a Zoom Facilitation session with 80 experts at the same time. There is one moderator who has no suggestions for organizing the discussion process. Add a document that experts see for the first time. It contains 16 clusters of problematic issues of 4-5 each, that is, more than 70. The group must prioritize the issues, give a description and suggestions. After 60 minutes.
As a result, for about 50 minutes everyone was arguing about how we should build the work, and the rest of the time, 10-15 minutes, some of the experts simply put plus signs in front of some questions. At this pace, it is impossible to prioritize and develop a common vision.
The situation became clearer when the PWS gave the group of experts from above its own Vision - a document that already spelled out the key problems and possible ways to solve them. It seems that the experts only had to coordinate it among themselves. A rhetorical question arises: why then was it necessary to create an expert group and involve people, if everything has already been done by someone else? Experts began to wonder more and more often whether their names are simply used to legitimize this Vision and its further promotion.
Looking at the Vision in more detail, one can easily find a number of problems that this document has. I propose to consider them in more detail.
How to change the education system of Ukraine not only on paper?
The document consists of 29 pages of text , calling for profound and versatile changes in our education system: improving the standard of living, the level of science, cooperation with Europe, practice, social security...
At first glance, everything looks dignified and promising, however, upon further consideration and a closer study of the document, we notice that none of these improvement points is disclosed specifically and in more detail. It seems that the title of the document should be “For all that is good, against all that is bad. At the same time, it is inclusive. The following is a direct quote from the document:
"We will build an ecosystem of respect, development, inclusion and accessibility that takes into account the needs, interests and talents of each person."
Sounds reassuring. However, every student knows that the vision a la "We need to take over the world and make our organization the best in the world" is doomed to failure. Since taking on everything at the same time, without a specific focus of attention, this is a mistake. What should be the end result? What is our overall goal?
What education system are we building and why? How does this correlate with Ukraine's place in the world? What kind of people do we need? What should be their competencies and why? Where can we find out the results of the work done? No answer. And, unfortunately, most of the points of the proposed reform look somewhat utopian. Another quote from the document:
"It is important to transform the educational space so that it stimulates development and innovation, it is accessible, so that the activities of the institution contribute to the prosperity of the community, region, state" . And it’s hard to disagree with this – these are indeed important steps. But what is behind this?
Currently, this Vision represents the desire to act on the principle of "all good against all bad". Conceptually, it resembles the idea of young entrepreneurs to make the best company in the world, which will break all the markets on the planet and become the most successful. But how exactly? For what?
Vision is still about focusing on something and that focus must be defined. The document also spells out the desire to improve all areas and aspects of education as best as possible and preferably, as quickly as possible. It seems that the Ministry of Education does not have a clear vision of the image of the future education in Ukraine and therefore is trying to improve all areas of the educational process at once. At least it declares it.
Visions of the development of education in other countries. Focus of attention.
We decided to consider what educational visions and priorities other countries have and compare their vector with the vector of Ukraine. For example, the main goal of Finnish education policy is the same: a happy child.
Regardless of age, place of residence, property status, gender or native language. This is the absence of discrimination, and the European vector of development, and an individual approach, and worthy opportunities for inclusive education, and much more. However, the focus of attention can be concentrated and expressed in one clear word: happiness .
Another example: education in Germany. It is a classic of world education, because it has its own focus: the availability of education (including in terms of cost). In Germany, even for foreigners, it is quite easy to enter the university: all that is needed for studying is knowledge of the German language. Which, by the way, can be learned there, in special German courses.
It is thanks to this clear outline of the vector of movement that the German education system is a model for building education for the whole world. For many years, only minimal adjustments have been made to the structure of education in Germany, while leaving the general principles and charter unchanged.
In Japan, they rely on another factor - a very high quality of education (not for nothing that Japan is the second economic state in the world). The United States is a classic example of the decentralization of the educational system, where the state governments manage the educational process.
And what vector to choose for Ukraine? Where is our strength and how can we stand out from others and be useful to our own citizens? Currently, the Ukrainian Vision of Education, published by the Ministry of Education and Science, aims to improve literally all areas of education, immediately, in a short time.
It looks quite idealistic and out of touch with reality. After all, in order to become successful, we, as a state, must choose our priorities in education and stick to them. What exactly? For this, it is necessary not to hold incomprehensible discussions in a format for show, but to look at real successful cases that can be implemented today. Fortunately, there are enough of them in Ukraine.
What should Ukraine do and where to go next?
In addition to the popular idea "Education for the sake of UPE", there are many others that are being implemented by leading private schools and universities. The cargo cult around exams in this context looks a little strange: is the philosophy of the whole system really just about memorizing information in 3-4 subjects? What about the horizon? Personal growth? Ability to solve complex problems? Soft skills in the end?
You can look at educational spaces that are already far ahead of the average. Vladimir Spivakovsky successfully implemented the idea of integrated case lessons that use schools around the world in the learning process. Lyceum "Globe" teaches children according to the programs of Cambridge, as a result, in the 11th grade, children have an English level of C1 and can easily enter foreign universities.
Unicorn Distance School was the first in the world to make a platform in the format of a computer game, which significantly increases student engagement in learning and their results. It is not in vain that the school has become the best distance learning school in Ukraine twice in a row.
And this year, based on the Unicorn platform and the IT Step network of schools, blended learning, the Unicorn Hub, was introduced for the first time: twice a week, the child attends a school where he has interesting lessons in the integrated learning format, and the rest of the time he completes tasks on a gamified platform. And this is also a Ukrainian innovation, and it is already available in 7 cities of the country (Kyiv, Kharkiv, Zaporozhye, Dnipro, Poltava, Zhytomyr and Lutsk).
And there are also excellent cases of CISC (Creative international school for children), A +, Midgard and many others. It is these approaches that have already been put into practice that should be based on the formation of any visions and strategies in education, because they already have positive results and can be put into practice. At the same time, the state, represented by the Ministry of Education and Science, continues to imitate the processes of generating meanings. The main thing is that they will be legitimized by the community of educators through pseudo-involvement in the discussion.