THE ALL-UKRAINIAN AUGUST CONFERENCE «EDUCATION DURING THE PANDEMIC: HOW TO ORGANIZE THE SCHOOL YEAR OF 2020–2021» (Kyiv, August 18, 2020)
The traditional annual educational forum – All-Ukrainian August Conference «Education during the pandemic: how to organize the school year of 2020–2021» was held on August 18, 2020. The main organizer of the event was the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine (hereinafter – MES). The Ministry of Health of Ukraine, the UNICEF Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia, and a number of educational projects joined as co-organizers of this year’s conference, that are now being implemented in Ukraine (Swiss-Ukrainian project DECIDE – «Decentralization for the Development of Democratic Education», Finnish-Ukrainian project to support the reform of the New Ukrainian School «Learning Together» and others).
For informational and analytical support of the work of the conference, the SSI «Institute of Educational Analytics» together with the departments of the MES prepared an informational and analytical digest «Education in Ukraine: challenges and prospects» which has become a good tradition on the eve of the new school, based on the results of the educational institutions’ activities in the previous year. Thus, the collection «Education in Ukraine: challenges and prospects» presents a detailed analysis of the functioning of all components of the education system, outlines the main trends in the development of the education sector, achievements, problems, and challenges facing the educational community in the school year 2019/2020, particularly in terms of the COVID-19 pandemic. The collection includes a section devoted to the peculiarities on the functioning of the education system in the context of modern challenges, identifying current educational problems that need to be addressed quickly.
The conference «Education during the pandemic: how to organize the school year of 2020-2021» was opened by the greeting from the Acting Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine Serhiy Shkarlet, who outlined the main objectives of this year’s сonference, namely «to give educators a clear explanation of the features of preparation for the new school year in today’s challenges, including the pandemic and the need for quarantine restrictions». His speech provided information on the initiatives of the MES on a concise and safe organization of the educational process for the school year 2020/2021 in kindergartens, schools, vocational schools, colleges and universities during the pandemic.
The international partner-speakers of the conference shared the European experience of organizing the educational process in educational institutions during the COVID-19 pandemic caused by the coronavirus disease SARS-COV-2. In particular, Eileen Hofstetter, Senior Advisor at the Embassy of Switzerland in Ukraine, delivered a report on «Why it is important for everyone to have equal access to education during a pandemic».
Parmosivea Soobrayan, Regional Advisor on Education in the UNICEF’s Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia, gave the presentation on «Living in New conditions: 10 rules for educational institutions during the COVID-19 pandemic», and spoke about the main activities of the UNICEF in Ukraine during the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, he focused on the study conducted jointly with the SSI «Institute of Educational Analytics», which is a survey of the principals of general secondary and preschool education institutions. The main purpose of this study is to obtain information on the state of the educational process in general secondary and preschool education institutions during the outbreak of COVID-19 and information on the basic needs and readiness of these institutions to organize the learning process during the pandemic. It should be emphasized that the survey was conducted in early July 2020 using the tools of the educational information and telecommunications system «State Information System of Education», which is administered by the SSI «Institute of Educational Analytics». The results of the research can be found in the above-mentioned informational and analytical digest «Education in Ukraine: challenges and рrospects».
The Deputy Minister of Health of Ukraine, Chief Public Health Officer of Ukraine Viktor Lyashko in his speech «Education during the pandemic: how to organize the school year of 2020-2021» detailed key aspects of the rules of anti-epidemic measures in educational institutions, depending on the epidemiological situation, as well as voiced recommendations on the activities of educational institutions during the quarantine period.
The Deputy Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine Lyubomyra Mandziy spoke about the features of the secondary education under quarantine and presented an online course on distance and blended learning formats, developed by the MES together with the online education studio EdEra with the support of Switzerland. She also presented the results of monitoring the implementation of the reform «New Ukrainian School», the first stage of which took place in 2019.
The Deputy Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine Andrii Vitrenko focused on the features of education in the HEIs and professional pre-higher education institutions under the quarantine. He provided precise recommendations on the schedule of the learning process, in particular in regards to the beginning of the school year, the restrictions and prohibitions in the HEIs for the duration of the quarantine.
In the presentation «Recommendations for the activities of preschool institutions during the pandemic», Anna Gryshchenko, a state expert at the Directorate of Preschool, Out-of-School and Inclusive Education of the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine spoke about the features of the organization of the learning process and activities of preschool education institutions for the school year 2020/2021. Continuing this topic, Natalia Sofiy, the First Deputy Director of the Ukrainian Institute for Educational Development, during her speech on «The activities of preschool education institutions during the pandemic», among other things, reinforced her thesis by the results of the above-mentioned survey conducted by the SSI «Institute of Educational Analytics» together with UNICEF.
Iryna Shumik, the Director General of the Directorate of Vocational Education of the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine, spoke about the main problems of the organization of the learning process for the school year of 2019/2020 under the quarantine in vocational education and training (hereinafter – VET) institutions and the best practices to solve them, and presented the recommendations «Training in VET institutions under the quarantine: challenges and solutions».
Other speakers submitted the «New standard for basic education: the matrix of academic freedom», and the «Roadmap for implementation for 2020–2021» was also presented.
The video of the conference and all presentation materials are available at the MES site at the link.