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Innovative education on the “contact line” - how to inspire teachers to work with new eyes

Nov. 15, 2018, 11:19 a.m.

On the eve of Teacher's Day, on October 5, teachers from the town of Rubizhne, Luhansk region, visited Kyiv and took part in a press breakfast at Art Hub of the Ukrinform Information Agency, which was organized by the Open Policy Foundation on the topic “Innovative Education without Borders: For students and teachers from the east of Ukraine affected by the military conflict”. Despite the fact that their schools are located nearby the “contact line,” these teachers keep up with the times and teach students according to STEM/STrEAM methods and attract children with robotics and 3D modeling.

 

These are Nataliya Sarana - a teacher of geography, biology, chemistry, and natural science at the Rubizhne Municipal and Educational Complex “School-Kindergarten,” Olena Geiko - a Director of the Rubizhne Secondary School I-III levels №3, a teacher in health education, Victoriya Zadorozhnia - a teacher of primary classes in the Rubizhne secondary school I-III levels № 3, Nataliya Zhytlova - a deputy director for educational work, teacher of geography of the Rubizhne secondary school I-III levels № 4.

 

The participants of the press breakfast discussed the main problems regarding access of teachers from schools along the “contact line” to the New Ukrainian school and innovative education of children, teaching educators innovative methods, project management, creating high-quality content for distance education for students from the non-government controlled territories of eastern Ukraine, results and important calls for an information campaign on the entry of young people from the east into Ukrainian universities and vocational schools. The work of the Foundation’s hotline with the support of UNICEF and the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine was also discussed.

 

After all, what are the dreams of children who have suffered from a military conflict?

 

Demyan, 12 years old, dreams of flying to Mars. Last December, when the children dreamed of gifts from St. Nicholas, battles were waged in his village.

 

Mariya, 12 years old, believes that the most important right of a child is the right to LIFE. The streets of her native village of Verkhnyotoretske, Donetsk region, are divided in half by the front line. The explosions are still heard.

 

In the summer, these and other children from the east became participants of the charitable session in the International Green School in the village of Kosmach in Ivano-Frankivsk region, which was founded by the Open Policy Foundation 6 years ago. Along the way, Iryna Zhdanova thanked diaspora representatives from Rochester, USA, in particular, Eric Lewis for financial support for teaching children from the east of Ukraine in the International Green School and presenting a gift - MakeyMakey STEM set.

 

“Every child, no matter where he or she lives, either in the mountainous region of the Ukrainian Carpathians or in a remote village or in the east, suffering from a military conflict, needs a high-quality innovative education,” noted executive director of the NGO “Open Policy Foundation” Iryna Zhdanova. - However, now not only students need new knowledge but also teachers. Therefore, today we propose to discuss the problems of access and prospects for the development of innovative education for children, youth, and teachers affected by the military conflict in the east of Ukraine - in the region that needs the greatest support from the country's civil society and international partners.

 

This year we began a series of training courses for teachers from Luhansk and Donetsk regions. The teachers who attended the press breakfast among other educators from Luhansk and Donetsk regions were active participants in the first training of the Open Policy Foundation “Education for everyone! Open Green STrEAM” conducted with the support of the Embassy of the Lithuanian Republic in Ukraine. They learned the innovative STEM/STrEAМ methods, project management and fundraising, the formation of a creative educational space, innovative training with the help of cheap and renewable materials.

 

Now we are presenting a new project of the Open Policy Foundation titled LET'S OPEN GREEN STREAM for teachers from Luhansk and Donetsk regions to improve distance learning because we see a great demand for secondary education on the part of the students from the non-government controlled territories in eastern Ukraine. After all, we believe: quality education will become the bridge of peace and unite Ukraine.”

 

Teachers were congratulated by the following officials who also participated in informal communication:

 

Pavlo Hobsey - Deputy Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine, Candidate of Physical and Mathematical Sciences

Iryna Zhdanova - Executive Director of the NGO “Open Policy Foundation”, Ph.D. in History, founder of the International School named after Klim Churyumov

Nataliya Kyyak - Head of Educational Programs at UNICEF in Ukraine

Lidiya Kuzmenko - Associate Legal Officer at UNHCR

Viktoria Ivanishcheva - British Council Educational Project Manager

Anna Khomutkova - press officer of the Austrian Embassy in Ukraine

Viktor Lytvynov - Head of Sector of the Ministry of Information Policy

Tetiana Stepykina - Communication Coordinator of the Norwegian Refugee Council

other representatives of international organizations.

 

On October 7, the teachers went to Ivano-Frankivsk, where, together with other teachers from Luhansk and Donetsk regions, took part in the training on inclusive education, which is conducted by the MASHAV Agency for International Development Cooperation (Israel) in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine and the Open Policy Foundation. Then, teachers from Luhansk and Donetsk regions took part in the second training on project management and conducting an information campaign as part of the Lithuanian project, which was organized by the Open Policy Foundation at the International Green School in the village of Kosmach, Ivano-Frankivsk region.