Educational process in Kharkiv under constant shelling
Kharkiv mayor Ihor Terekhov on how the city's schools will work in the conditions of war
Kharkiv is not just a hero city, but also a martyr city: every day russian shells and missiles fall on its streets. And in these terrible conditions, the city continues not only to fight but also to live a life as ordinary as the war allows. Part of this ordinary life is the work of schools. Kharkiv mayor Ihor Terekhov talks about how it is going on.
Active hostilities are taking place in the territory of the Kharkiv region, and hostile shelling of residential buildings and infrastructure facilities, including educational institutions, is ongoing. Since missile attacks are carried out from the border areas of the russian federation, the missile flight time is 40-60 seconds, which is not enough to hide in a shelter. Therefore, according to the decision of the Defense Council of Kharkiv region as of August 15 this year on September 1, distance studies begin in all educational institutions of the Kharkiv region. This is the optimal and safest form of organizing the educational process under martial law. However, depending on the security situation, the form of the educational process may be changed during the school year. In August, employees of the State Emergency Service completed the inspection of buildings and territories of Kharkiv educational institutions for compliance of their shelters with the established requirements. And where there are comments and remarks, we carry out repairs, equip shelters with everything needed, etc.
War does not allow us to move to regular studies. As a result of enemy attacks in Kharkiv, 108 institutions (59%), or 112 buildings of general secondary education institutions, were damaged to varying extents. Our priority is to ensure the maximum possible safety of every child and every employee in the education system. Therefore, we will have, as I said, online studies. All general secondary education institutions of Kharkiv municipal form of ownership are ready to work in a remote format. To make this possible, we have provided them with a high-speed Internet connection. E-textbooks, which are used in the educational process in each class, are posted on school websites.
It is very important now that the parent community of the city understands that distance learning in educational institutions of our city is the only safe form of education for the period of martial law. Earlier in Kharkiv, an effective model of partnership pedagogy with the parental community was established. The position of the Kharkiv City Parents' Council has been active all the time. From the first days of the full-scale war, they have been involved in the common goal to defeat the enemy.
Being engaged in volunteer activities as part of the NGO "Viddzerkalennia", the parents provided the city residents and internally displaced persons with food, hygiene products, medicines, and animal feed; hospitals – with medical instruments and multifunctional beds, medical clothing, pharmaceuticals, and hygiene products; public utilities – with professional polyurethane boots; schools – with disposable medical masks. The Parent Council of our hero city also helps defenders. Several drones, walkie-talkies, medical kits and supplies, tactical backpacks, insect repellents, etc. were handed over to Ukrainian soldiers.
Parents are also preparing to apply for grants with their projects to attract investment in the city's educational sector.
The educational process has started in conditions of danger, and stress for all participants, as well as sadness and anxiety for those who live outside Kharkiv. This is a new challenge for children, families, and all teachers. Now, the task for Kharkiv educational sector is to organize an effective system of distance learning at the classroom, school, and city levels. A system that can preserve the educational traditions of the city, the high level of success of Kharkiv students and, most importantly, the life and health of students and teachers. Neither teachers nor children nor parents have faced such challenges before. They all should approach the organization of the educational process differently. They should take care of civil protection, fire and mine safety, and first aid, if necessary. The Kharkiv City Council Education Department has elaborated the Methodological recommendations for the organization of distance learning in the 2022/2023 academic year in general secondary education institutions of Kharkiv under martial law. We also plan to work with teachers during designated training and coaching sessions to solve problems that arise when organizing lessons remotely.
Out of 184 general secondary education institutions, 126 (68%) have shelters, in 101 of which (55%) it will be possible to organize the educational process offline when the security situation in the city allows. Thus, only those schools that are equipped with shelters meeting the standards and requirements will be able to host students for full-time educational process. Therefore, students of 83 schools that do not have shelters will be moved to institutions with such shelters available.
The Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine recommended determining the form of education for children based on their parents' decision and the ability of schools to provide shelter for all students. Children who are studying abroad at the same time will be able to continue their education in the city schools remotely, both in synchronous and asynchronous modes. Synchronous mode means the teacher and students are simultaneously online or communicate through audio and video conferencing.
The synchronous format provides quick feedback from teachers, organization of group activities, development of communication and cooperation skills, motivation to learn while communicating, etc. In the asynchronous mode, the teacher and students interact with each other with a time delay, but it is characterized by a flexible timetable, ability to learn at their own pace, availability of educational materials at a convenient time, development of self-organization skills and learning ability. So, every student will have the opportunity to study under any conditions.
Indeed, the full-scale armed aggression of the russian federation against Ukraine has led to the revision and updating of the content of general secondary education curricula. Therefore, considering the new historiographical developments, changes have been made to the curricula on the History of Ukraine and World History for grades 6-11, as well as to the integrated course "History: Ukraine and the World", which is taught in grade 10. The updated curricula offer a view of the USSR as an imperial state. Also, changes in the curriculum focus children on studying the tools of violence suffered by Ukrainians in the twentieth century and the tools of resistance to it.
Significant changes are proposed in the most recent history, especially the events related to the armed aggression of the russian federation against Ukraine. It provides a full review of the Russian-Ukrainian war, which began in 2014, as a separate academic module. The genocidal actions of the political leadership and the russian army against Ukrainians, national resistance against the aggression of the russian federation and international support for Ukraine are emphasized.
The list of terms has been updated, among which there are such terms as "appropriation of sovereignty" (means the Ukrainian SSR sovereignty seizure by the Soviet center), "russian world", "racism", etc. The notion "rusfication policy" (derives from Rus) was replaced by "russification policy" (derives from russia), which more accurately reflects the essence of the phenomenon and process; the context of the "collaborationism" concept was clarified.
Firstly, we have reinforced the military-patriotic component in the content of the curriculum of the subject "Defense of Ukraine”. The curriculum is supplemented with information about the modern Russian-Ukrainian war and the Heroes of this war, about the experience of combat operations. The topics of the sections on firearms training, pre-medical care and civil defense have also been revised and supplemented.
Within the curriculum of the subject "Fundamentals of Health Care", the content of the first section "Human Safety and Health" has been supplemented, which will now be studied at the beginning of the school year in each grade. Topics related to wartime risks have been added, including public warning signals, actions during air raid alarms, shelling, etc., reliable and unreliable shelter, mine protection and handling of explosive and unfamiliar objects, first aid and psychological self-help, etc. Ukrainians must learn to live in war conditions.
Out of 184 schools in Kharkiv, 128 institutions provide educational services to 654 internally displaced students (IDPs of 2022), with 441 students from the occupied territories. In 30 schools of the city, 91 IDP teachers were hired, of which 37 teachers came from the occupied territories. All of them will work remotely. Kharkiv will live, schools will work, and this work is also our resistance to the occupier, who hoped to destroy the Ukrainian education system as well. Our state will fight for its freedom! And we will win!
Writer: Dmytro Syniak
Photo: Open Sources