What should modern Ukrainian education be like, what are the main challenges it is faced with? These are the complicated issues analyzed on September 1 in Lviv within the FESTаcademy project by the bishop of the UGCC, the President of the Ukrainian Catholic University Borys Hudzyak. Here are the key ideas and statements from the speech.
Читай українською: ОСВІТА НИНІ: СЛУХАТИ, СПІЛКУВАТИСЯ, ШУКАТИ, УСВІДОМЛЮВАТИ
The bishop drew his conclusions through the prism of the definition given by a ‘promising leader in the Ukrainian education, first vice-rector of the UCU Taras Dobko’, from whom, as he stressed, he learns a lot himself: ‘Education stands not just for informing, but for forming and transforming as well. This is the process of gaining victory over your own faults and weaknesses, the process of opening up and coming to like values, revealing the fact that there is something more important than my ‘ego’, which is worth living and working for. One should teach a young person to appreciate and love something more than oneself. If a person can love, he will derive life energy from the things loved and will give life himself’.
— We feel again and again that we all want to be free. In the way to avoid stress, anger accumulation in the family and at work, for us to be able to look into each other’s eyes. One needs to work to have such happiness. And here the competences which education can provide you with are required.
Times change, therefore you already need to teach a different type of mathematics since many processes are mechanized. And you need to be able to read a text in a creative, critical, conscious way. That is what school should give. We already see that the world is changing. We work at projects. And one needs to teach children to understand the process.
The type of relations also changes. The teacher-pupil principle already does not work, and there is a principle of integral networks instead. Last week a historian from Harvard Neil Fergusson wrote why American war in Afghanistan is so unsuccessful. The point is that the hierarchical approach of the American army fights against an irregular network. And to fight against a network one needs to be a network himself.
Ability to listen
The first subject absolutely necessary for a happy life is ability to listen. Very many people remain not heard. We lack time to hear them. And the child not listened to will have problems with obedience. All our life is built on interpersonal meetings. Each moment information arrives that requires perception.
We appreciate initiative and courageous people, support those who are not afraid of standing up and saying things. However, I guess we have to also recognize those who are capable of listening, and help a child hear better since childhood. Deep spiritual principles stand behind it all.
Our spiritual life is not just an action, but a response to the initiative taken by God who speaks to us. When we realize at the deep level that there is something more than me, when we see something behind us and are capable of communicating with others — life becomes particularly full-fledged. Listening is extremely important in the family, at work, in child upbringing.
Several months ago we laid to rest a unique person having the luxury of unique respect in Ukraine and not just in Ukraine, — Lyubomyr Huzar — and he knew how to listen. People who had the honour of communicating with him left him in raised spirits. He never said a lot, but he listened a lot. What he said was very often particularly to the point.
Our schools and universities must be the place where we learn communication. The art of life is the art of communication. Now Ukraine needs people who can communicate well and are perfect at listening as never before. One may say that this will enable a person to express the things not said before. I don’t know how about you, but I felt in my confessions rather often that a good confessor helps us go deeper, to remote places.
My great wish is that our children be heard and get the example of virtuoso listening and communication. They should know how to communicate in an easy, serious, merry way, but without any poignancy. We are cut for communication, and our schools should become the place where we learn to do it better.
To preserve oneself
We now live in a unique period. Over the last 50 years more changes have taken place in the world than over 500 or even 5 thousand years before.
You flow in the dynamics of changes in this history, but don’t forget to have your own standpoint. I don’t have any clear answers for your generation which does not remember Shcherbytskyy, but knows Yosyf Slipyy. You are bombarded with telephone calls, you find it difficult to focus on something for more than 45 seconds, but you can catch 10 impulses simultaneously. You differ from me.
Hence, my piece of advice is as follows: school and educational establishments should provide you with the quiet and stability. Over that period you should create your own standpoint, have your own opinion, otherwise you will always keep being permanent observers.
To know oneself
Over the past two months I have changed places about 50 times, moving to a different country 20 times. That is extremely exhaustive. Now we approve spontaneity, creativity greatly. Right, that is original. But believe me, there is nothing more exhaustive than permanent spontaneity. Each individual needs roots.
Our school should be the place to make children calm. For everybody to know what he is: spiritually, ethnically, and nationally. For everybody to have some space in which he would feel confident.
To become better
From kindergarten to doctoral studies our educational establishments have to become the place where the teacher is a sample to follow. The teacher who readily devotes himself to the pupil and shows how joyful the whole process can be, reaches the child the way God approaches us.
We all in Ukraine need somebody to lift us. At the Divine Liturgy there is always a beautiful call for everybody to become better — ‘lift up your hearts!’. How nice it is when a child comes from school smiling and with his back upright, since somebody has shared joy with him, and he shares it in his turn.
I remember my studies with the Patriarch Yosyf Slipyy in Rome. At that time he was rather at a considerable age. I had a chance to have a walk with him near the university. Over a very short walk the Patriarch asked me five times how many seminary students we have. I understood that his memory was becoming weaker, and that he was approaching death. But in spite of that, three years later I came up to him when he went out to the street. And every time we had the same talk. Then I did not listen to words, concepts, preaching, but I was glad that I was staying side by side with the person who was brave enough to stand against the most serious challenge — totalitarianism, which tried to make a human into biomass, — and he managed.
Maybe, that is for this reason, that you know who Yosyf Slipyy is, but have already forgotten who Shcherbytskyy was.
Prepared by Nataliya PAVLYSHYN
According to the materials of zaxid.net
Photo: Tvoye misto