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Are scientific academies as needed as it was before?

Late last year, Parliament worked hard over the country′s adoption of the budget for 2015. The public just watched tensely this process, in particular, the scientific one. It can often be heard: for what so great science funding (although all spending on science in Ukraine is one of financing of the richest University of Europe or the United States)? Common sense and understanding of state interests prevailed - there was a reduction in funding that can be understood in the present circumstances, but it is not so to eradicate the perspectives of science.

The National Academy of Educational Sciences of Ukraine expenditures compared to the last year decreased by 25 percent, other academies - the same, or a smaller percentage. For example, a critical indicator that still encourages internal optimization. More than just a reduction would lead to the destruction and elimination of the system.

Before we started the textbooks were written in Moscow

NAES of Ukraine was established by decree of the President L. Kravchuk in March 1992. But its main scientific institutions operated for many decades in a row before that and did objectively necessary function of scientific, methodological and methodical support for the development of education of Ukraine. This function in the conditions of Ukraine′s independence has become even more important in response to that Academy has been created.

Take the Institute of Pedagogy of our Academy. It has existed for 90 years. And almost a century has been and remains the main institution that provides the definition of the content, methods and organization of general secondary education. The Institutes laboratories of mathematical and physical education, chemical and biological education, pedagogical innovations, rural school, integration of educational content, learning the Ukrainian language, literature, education and others, which on the basis of domestic and foreign experience, taking into account the development of specific sciences, develop standards, training programs and plans, other documents and submit to the Ministry of education and science for approval. After that the whole country uses them.

One of the major tasks of the Academy in the early 1990s was to determine the content of education and the creation of textbooks for schools in the independent Ukraine. The fact is that in Soviet times the textbooks for all subjects, except national languages and literatures, were written in Moscow, then translated into the language of the republic and issued. Ukraine was the first among the republics raised the issue of the original national textbooks in the 1980s, and the first steps have been made in writing and publishing textbooks for four-years primary school by scientists of the present Institute of Pedagogy of the NAES of Ukraine. Our scientists together with their colleagues successfully overcame the difficulties of formation of national textbooks, and now in Ukraine we have several generations of textbooks, most of which are prepared by scientists of the Academy of Educational Sciences of Ukraine.

Reform Scientific support

Now, when the Parliament, in particular the Committee on Science and Education, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Science is working on a new law on education, the need for scientific counselling of the legislative process, and then in determining the content of a new secondary school, becomes extremely important and responsible work.

We have established advisory working groups for all chapters of the future  law and offered their assistance to the Committee. We have conducted a thorough analysis of the content of the current standards of the general secondary school and prepared an Analytical report that will be published soon. This will help to avoid previous errors, overloading students, duplication of material, its  inter-objects imbalance and so on.

By the way, the shortcomings in the education policy was frequently determined precisely by the fact that executives of the Ministry of Education and Science did not listen to the recommendations of the Academy, and even acted against them. It happened with the rejection of the 12-years period of study and the transition to the new content of education, which was carried out in a voluntarist way after almost ten years of study in the 12-years period. As a result for several years children in the 11th grade are forced to learn the program with volume for two classes but mechanically reduced, which negatively affected their training.

Or take the primary school. At the end of the last year, the Ministry of Education and Science appealed to the Academy with a request to reduce the program for the 4th grade, the competition for textbooks to be announced before the end of the year. Scientists in time and, I think, professionally did this work, and the Ministry Board approved these changes. And why is there this problem? Because a few years ago, colleagues from the Ministry ignored scientifically balanced proposals to the content of elementary school, formed it unreasonably, based on subjective preferences. It is very important, especially during the radical changes that await our education, to avoid such voluntarism way and subjectivism.

The small staff of the Institute on the basis of fundamental research has developed the State primary education standard for children with special needs and according to it actually fully implemented the training and methodological support (programs, textbooks, manuals) of the elementary education of all categories of such children. In close cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine, NGOs developed and implemented in pedagogical practice modern technologies and education-methodical complexes of inclusive education, using sign language, psycho-pedagogical support of children with autism, disabilities, etc.

Currently, the Institute is working on the updated content of education and correctional components for preschool and middle school. Let me note that the users of the Institutes products are 338 special boarding schools, nearly 50 rehabilitation centers, 193 special preschools and about 1900 special groups in mass kindergartens, all inclusive education system, as well as all the teacher training institutions of the country and the parent community.

Institute of Higher Education, Institute of Vocational Education, Institute of Problems of Education, Institute of Information Technologies and Teaching aidsInstitute of Pedagogical Education and Adult Education have   their own fields of activity.

Each of them is unique in the country. They are, respectively, studying the state of their spheres in education, monitoring the development of education in Europe and the world, creating new software materials for further development of education of Ukraine with the fact that the country to have a future, and its citizens to be competitive.

NAES Psychologists helped the participants of the Maidan and victims of the ATO

At the NAES of Ukraine there are only two unique institutions of psychology in the country. H.S. Kostyuk Institute of Psychology founded in 1945, the scientific school of which is known in Europe and worldwide, as well as "Junior", but already well-known Institute of social and political psychology, sociological service of which, by the way, gives one of the most accurate predictions of social development, including the results of various election campaigns. Together, these institutions determine the state of psychological science in the country, provide not only psychological support of the education development and psychological studies of all the major problems in society.

Here it should be mentioned the activities of the Ukrainian scientific-methodical centre of practical psychology and social work - the main institution of the education system psychological service and the system of psychological-medical-pedagogical consultations. Its work focuses primarily on methodological support of these two parts of the educational activity. The work meaning of the centre scientists  is the practical implementation of fundamental scientific and psychological research to the practical work of psychologists and social teachers of educational institutions of all types and forms of ownership.

From the first days of Maidan most scientists, psychologists of the Academy began to work as volunteers, providing direct assistance to those who needed it.

The Crisis centre of medical and psychological care is open at the Institute of Psychology, at which there is the three-channel helpline. According to the Agreement between the Institute of Psychology and the Institute of Medicine of work of the NAMS of Ukraine the medical and psychological rehabilitation of military fighters from ATO is provided.

Within the joint activity program entitled "The Road of healing" individual and group work is conducted.

Volunteers initiatives of the Institute of social and political psychology were consolidated to the activities of Methodical rehabilitation center, established at the end of February last year. During the year nearly 70 events, including ten multi-days and five-exits visiting (in particular, to the liberated areas of Donetsk and Lugansk regions) for a total duration of almost 450 hours. These trainings and educational-practical projects covered more than 560 people. Several programs of intensive trainings for specialists-psychologists, social workers and teachers are developed, appropriate manuals are preparing. A weekly evening group recovering resources for coaches and volunteers is working.

The Center volunteers has organized two active groups in the social network Facebook, the growing number of people join them to find the information support and the opportunity to discuss their needs in the group of experts. Group "Socio-psychological methodical rehabilitation center, the purpose of which is to highlight educational materials, e-books, videos for professional rehabilitation of victims (more than 160 hosted materials, with nearly 80 visits each of them). This group brings together more than 500 professionals. Group Maidan Information, the objective of which is to analyze the information space and promote effective ways to resist various kinds of manipulations, joins 366 people, monthly produces more than 50 analytical publications. 

In the last year the special attention of psychological institutes and the center was paid to the work of professionals working with victims of result of military operations in the East of Ukraine, resettled from AR Crimea and Sevastopol. In particular, for these needs a number of manuals and guidelines with the help of NGOs to be printed, published and distributed. Together with the UNICEF a series of training seminars were conducted on the problems of providing psychological assistance to the affected children. With the help of foreign specialists 400 ukrainian specialists were prepared to work with these categories of children in Donetsk, Dnipropetrovsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, Kharkiv regions. 

Let take the activity of our University of Educational Management. He leads the entire system of postgraduate pedagogical education in the country, and these are, in particular, institutes of postgraduate pedagogical education in each region. According to its scientific elaborations all the work on the professional development of teachers in the country is carried. And just at the University approximately six thousand education system managerial and pedagogical staff retrain annually. Until recently, within the University has successfully operated the Donetsk Institute of postgraduate education of teaching staff in vocational education. Every year there are training to three thousand teachers and masters there. Now it does not work in Donetsk for obvious reasons. But we are completing the process of its transferring to the city of Byla Tserkva and are grateful for the support the Kyiv regional administration and the city leadership.

Training materials should be tested

In the NAES was created and successfully operates the unique in the country for the purpose and directions the V.O.Sukhomlynskyi State Scientific and Pedagogical Library of Ukraine. Besides its scientific and scientific-informational activity, it supports methodologically and systematically activities the network of educational libraries, in Ukraine they are more than 18 thousand. 

Are institutions and the Academy in general operate as efficiently as possible? Unfortunately, no. And there are many reasons for it the lack of funding, especially with regard to the implementation of our developments. This is an unsufficient coordination of research in the country, although we have Council for the coordination, which examines topics of all future dissertations in pedagogy and psychology.

We see our task in all sorts of practical assistance to the work of the Ministry of Education and Science in education development. With this purpose, a Joint cooperation program for 2014-2017 was signed by the Minister S. Kvit and the President of the Academy. 

But practically cooperation could be even closer. Now, for example, we have a problem in education: all school textbooks in the country, with an edition of hundreds thousands of copies each are published almost without serious testing.  The manuscript and a large edition. Its wrong. Here we have to return to the experience of the Institute of Pedagogy, where experimental textbooks have been created, experiments have been carried out on the introduction and bringing them to stable. And all this in close cooperation with the Ministry. We are ready for experimental activity and might publish textbooks in small editions (150-300 copies) for experiment and testing. For this purpose it is necessary to legalize the possibility for experimental textbook. It was impossible to do previous years. It seems that the current Ministry is set to address this issue. 

Without an organized applied scientific work of implementing of basic research achievements to  the daily activity of school is nothing to talk about deep and systemic reform of the educational sector, qualified solving actual social and educational problems of society in general and education in particular.

The future of Ukraine depends on the personal development of its citizens, its capacity for innovative type of activity, society democratic development, high civil and patriotic feelings. Formation of such personality is the first of all the tasks of the educational sphere of the country that requires relevant modernization. Its impossible to make education as effective as possible without modern scientific support. In this the National Academy of Educational Sciences of Ukraine sees its central task.

The newspaper "Voice of Ukraine", 18, Tuesday, February 3, 2015, p. 1, 9

14:02 06.02.2015