23 SES 03 C, National Politics of Education
Underachievement among national minority group students in places of their compact residence in Ukraine makes them vulnerable to educational failure. This problem is noticeable in Chernivtsi Region of Ukraine where the multicultural character causes peculiar behavior in politics, migration, economic and cultural activities as well as in educational strategies. Owing to the fact that in some districts (Hertsa and Novoselytsia) the Ukrainian Language is not the mother tongue for most residents who are ethnical Romanians and Moldavians, about 60 % students fail in Independent External Testing after secondary school. This issue was taken into account in Article 7 of Ukrainian Law on Education (2017) which presupposed gradual significant growth in school subjects with Ukrainian as the language of instruction. The Article underwent an active protest on the part of Romanian minority groups who demanded that Article 7 should be changed as it contradicts human rights. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry sent the education law for examination by the Venice Commission which did not support accusations of narrowing the rights of national minorities in the article on the language of instruction in Ukraine’s law on education. So, the research question is: What can be done to harmonize the state interests and preserving the minorities’ national identity?
This actualized the need in formulating evidence-based language policies in Ukraine. With the purpose of answering the need, Ukrainian Educational Research Association carried out the grant project “Facilitating an Intercultural Dialogue about National Minorities’ Learning the Ukrainian Language in Chernivtsi Region” (№ РФР-38-2018 dated 02.05.2018) (02.05.2018 – 31.07.2018) as part of ‘Reforms to the Regions Project’ realized by the Institute of Economic Research and Political Consultations and the European Truth newspaper (funded by European Commission and International Renaissance Foundation). Within the Project, the UERA team analyzed historical and cultural background to the current language-related situation in Chernivtsi Region (Hertsa and Novoselica Districts and the City of Chernivtsi as sites of compact national minorities’ residence).
The purpose of the research was to contribute to the promotion of Ukrainian language as state language among national minorities in Chernivtsi Region. It was to support the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine in raising awareness and positive attitudes towards the school reform and its benefits among national minorities in the target regions in Chernivtsi Region in particular. It also was to help to facilitate interactive communication, create an active flow of information between all relevant stakeholders and media, and maintain transparency of cooperation and results.
The purpose-related objectives were:
- to design and carry out a public perception survey using focus groups with high-school students and their parents, school teachers, local and regional policy-makers in education, local authorities, and national cultural societies
- to carry out dissemination and promotion of the survey results through roundtables with the main stakeholders
- to deliver evidence-based analysis with the UERA recommendations to the Ukrainian Ministry of Education and Science to be taken into account for planning further steps that would not contradict the state interests and preserving the minorities’ national identity.
The authors draw their conclusions from the qualitative research based on 70 in-depth interviews with the main stakeholders. The statistical population is the project target groups, namely school principals, school administration team, high school students, high school students’ parents, University students, national cultural NGO representatives, political parties, and local authority representatives. The sample units are the mentioned above categories who live / work in 2 districts of Chernivtsi Region where Romanian population compactly reside (Hertsa and Novoselytsia), as well as Chernivtsi. A sample of a target group is broken down by mother language and the region of residence. All the in-depth interviews were recorded and their transcripts are available. The prevalent method was content analysis. The research was carried out with all the ethical norms and the respondents were coded.
The authors have developed recommendations for policy-makers taking into account the importance of reaching the balance between necessity to speak Ukrainian as the state language and national minorities’ striving to preserve their identity. The recommendations are focused at state, university, regional, local, and school levels. At the state level they suggest that school students with mother tongue other than Ukrainian should be considered students with special needs. If accepted, this provides the schools with the right to employ teacher assistants helpful in creating a bilingual learning environment. The recommendations for universities deal with training teachers for work in bilingual settings which can be possible by introducing some courses and training programs, namely: the course “Teaching in Bilingual Settings” at BA level; the training program for teacher assistant in bilingual settings; the in-service course for teachers within their professional development course. The research has shown that the key problem does not lie in teaching and learning Ukrainian as a school subject. As the experts state the main focus should be on teaching Ukrainian as the Language for Special Purposes, and the approaches to this are quite different from teaching Ukrainian for General Purposes which may raise the teachers’ interest as they see the direct relation to their subject. Nevertheless, the authors realize the challenge of teaching Ukrainian separately to different categories of teachers, and the lack of teachers of Ukrainian ready to do it. Thus relevant modules should be introduced into pre-service and in-service training of teachers of Ukrainian. At the local level, it is suggested that teacher training for work in bilingual settings take place in resource centers in United Rural Communities in the sites of compact national minority residence. It is stressed that mother tongue should also be paid proper attention to as it helps to preserve national identity.
1.Kostashhuk, I. (2004) Do py`tannya pro etapy` formuvannya nacional`nogo skladu naselennya Chernivecz`koyi oblasti [About the stages of forming ethnicity in Chernivtsi Region population]. Istoriya ukrayins`koyi geografiyi [History of Ukrainian Geography], № 2 (10), 76-81. – in Ukrainian 2.Kotvicz`ka, K. (2017) Osvitnij maksy`mum: yak zminyuyut`sya shkoly` u selax i chomu ce vazhly`vo [Educational maximum: how are schools changing and who takes advantage of it]. Available at: https://hubschools.platfor.ma/osvitniy-maksimum/ (acces date 05.09.2017). – in Ukrainian. 3.Pro kil`kist` ta sklad naselennya Chernivecz`koyi oblasti za pidsumkamy` Vseukrayins`kogo perepy`su naselennya 2001 roku [About the number and composition of population in Chernivtsi Region in 2001]. Available at: http://2001.ukrcensus.gov.ua/results/general/nationality/chernivtsi/ - in Ukrainian 4.Regional`ni dani ZNO-2018. Ukrayins`ky`j centr ocinyuvannya yakosti osvity` [2018 Regional data of Independent External Testing. Ukrainian Center for Quality Assurance]. Available at: http://zno.testportal.com.ua/stat/2018. - in Ukrainian. 5.In-depth interview transcripts (2018) 6.Shevchenko, S. (2016) Organizaciya navchal`nogo procesu u shkolax nacional`ny`x menshy`n v umovax nezalezhnoyi Ukrayiny` (1991-1997). [Educational process organization in national minority schools in independent Ukraine (1991 – 1997), Zbirny`k naukovy`x pracz` Kam'yanecz`-Podil`s`kogo nacional`nogo universy`tetu imeni Ivana Ogiyenka [Research Article Selection of Ivan Franko Podillia National University]. Seriya pedagogichna [Educational Sector], 21 (2–2016), 205-215. 7.Gee, J. (2004). Situated Language and Learning. London: Routledge, https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203594216 8.Brisk, M., Burgos, A., Hamerla, S. (2004). Situational Context of Education. New York: Routledge, https://doi.org/10.4324/9781410609847 9.Lemberger, N. (1997). Bilingual Education. New York: Routledge, https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315045054 10.May, S. (Ed.). (2014). The Multilingual Turn. New York: Routledge, https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203113493
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