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Ministry of Education and Science Newsletter, October '16
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Ivanna Kobernyk, Advisor to the Minister of Education, Project Manager for Primary School Curriculum Reform

Forty videos helping teachers teach the new primary school curriculum have been uploaded to the EdEra online platform and are available in open access mode. Video recommendations and collections of additional materials are available for five subjects - Ukrainian language, Literary Reading, Maths, English language and Information Technology.

 
These videos which are available in open access mode are part of the project of Primary School Curriculum reform, carried out at the initiative of the Minister for Education and Science Liliya Hrynevych.

In late April 2016, the Minister initiated a review of existing primary school curricula on the basis of the existing State Standards. "Teachers, parents and children have all complained about the curricula, arguing that they are overloaded with non-essential facts, that certain requirements and facts are obsolete and do not correspond modern requirements while various subjects contain either significant duplication or inconsistencies. This overburdens children, leading them to loose interest in their studies as early as the 3rd or 4th grade Ms Hrynevych explained. She added that the ministry is working on an overall reform school education, the development of new State Standards and curricula: "But the children cannot wait - they start learning now. Therefore we need to remove inconsistencies and duplication in the programs of various subjects, removing outdated information that does not meet the realities of the 21st century." said the Minister.   

The first step towards reforming the curriculum involved making use of online technologies which allowed involving a large number of participants to the discussions and enabled the project to be implemented in a short time-frame.
 
The curriculum needed to be reformed before the beginning of the school year on 1 September 2016.For this MES called upon the cooperation of the open online platform EdEra. With the support of the International Renaissance Foundation, the platform provided a forum for open discussion available all interested persons following their registration on the site. Based on online forms and motivation letters, the Ministry of Education selected for each individual curriculum."The goal set for us by the Ministry of Education, was to simplify as much as possible the access of experts, teachers and parents from all over Ukraine to participate in discussions and submit constructive proposals" - explains Ilya Filippov, founder of the EdEra project.
 
The curriculum reform project began in June, usually the off season when teachers go on vacation. Despite this, during the month of public discussion, more than 8,000 comments were received from 4,000 users. 90% of these comments were made by practicing teachers and the vast majority of these were constructive proposals.
 
"The project shows how much civil society is interested in the changes and ready participate in dialogue and a modern concerted decision making process", Mr Filipov noted.
 
The project's interactive format made it possible to to attract professionals, process large amounts of proposals and make amendments to the curricula at short notice and within the set time-frame. On 4 August 2016 the MES Board approved amendments to all 13 primary school curricula (for years 1-4).
 
However another problem remains - How to quickly inform the teachers about the changes? The reformed curricula became a topic for discussion at the August conference of teachers. MES conducted seminars nationwide with senior primary school teachers from all regions with the involvement of professional development institutions for teachers. These measures showed support for teachers regarding curriculum changes. Moreover, many teachers admitted that they had already implemented certain changes in previous years, but did not wish to draw attention to this fact at the time, because this meant they were not following the curriculum then in force.
 
This shows it was right to rely on teachers' progressive attitudes, as they provided their own suggestions during the discussion of curricula and amendments thereto, thus becoming the main promoters of change in the school system. The question remains how the largest possible number of teachers can be drawn towards implementing the reforms. For this, the second phase of the project was launched at the initiative of Minister Liliya Hrynevych: The preparation of video recommendations for teachers on HOW to teach according to the new curricula.40 clips were prepared together with high-level experts and methodologists and made available to primary school teachers on the EdEra platform. According to statistics from the platform EdEra, these videos, have been viewed just under 100,000 times. According to information available to MES, the video recommendations are widely used by teachers as a preparation, or directly in the classroom. Therefore, let's take a closer look at them:
 
Five subjects were selected for the preparation of video recommendations: Ukrainian language, Literary reading, English and Mathematics.
 
Videos for Literary reading were the first to become available and continue to be the most popular with users. Tetyana Stus was an active participant in the curriculum reform program. In the introductory video she tells viewers about the changes to the curriculum for Literary reading. Outdated Soviet authors (whose works do not correspond to the realities of the 21st century, have no artistic value and have long been out of print) were removed from the curriculum and were replaced by more than 40 contemporary Ukrainian writers who create, print and importantly are alive now: "This is no longer a joke, but a sad truth: because of how the reading program was previously compiled, children genuinely thought that there was no such thing as living writers. A a result, they are very surprised when they learn that, for example, Lina Kostenko is alive today.
 
“There are dozens of wonderful contemporary children's' authors living and working in Ukraine. It was important to us, that these authors be included in the school curriculum, so that children can read about modern life in modern language. Or even that it would be possible to write a letter to the author or invite them to a meeting at the school. This is what contributes to the desire to read and makes the process interesting for the child", Tatyana Stus explains. Videos of 12 contemporary writers, where they talk about themselves, their work, how and why they started writing have also been posted to EdEra. Feedback from teachers, who have shown the videos in class, show that they leave an almost magical impression on children. After the lesson, pupils begin to imagine themselves as authors themselves, begin creative writing work themselves and more actively ask their parents to buy them books.
 
For example, Ukrainian language recommendations were useful for teachers' preparation at Kiev Novopechersk school in Kyiv. It is important to emphasize that their video recommendations go far beyond just the subject "Ukrainian language", because they share technologies and techniques that can be used for other school subjects. The techniques "writing for yourself", "daily five", "RAFT" and "critical analysis" are explained in plain accessible language by practicing-teachers Marina Prystinskaya and Inna Bolshakova. Feedback from teachers show that these are recommendations whcih can be "immediately implemented into teachers' daily work with pupils".
 
Video recommendations for English language on EdEra are presented by the project's moderator Tetyana Belyaeva. They were developed in cooperation with several practicing teachers, whose collection of materials are presented on EdEra. They will help teachers make learning English in school closer to real life. Under the reformed curriculum, emphasis in the first years of primary schooling has been shifted from writing and memorizing grammar to focus more on everyday situations and developing speaking skills. The video recommendations explain how to teach a 1st grade oral-based introductory course, how to attract a greater number of children to participate in dialogue as encourage children to learn English.
 
Video recommendations for mathematics are presented by one of the authors of the current curriculum, Svitlana Skvortsova. It is divided into methods for teaching children mathematics using a competence-based approach. As a result, rote learning is replaced with teaching children how to apply mathematical knowledge in everyday life.
 
Video recommendations for Information Technology were prepared by teacher and Google trainer Nataliya Sarazhynska. She was also the moderator of curriculum reform discussions for Computer Science. The new curriculum for the subject has been significantly modernized because, unfortunately, it was previously more similar to a history of computing devices. In her video, Nataliya Sarazhynska explains how to teach Information Technology in primary school, in order to accustom children to constructive make constructive use of computers and information technology as part of the learning process. Ms Sarazhynska's recommendations also go far beyond the scope of the subject of "Information Technology" alone and include comments which are useful for teachers of other subjects.
All videos of the curriculum reform project are available under the following link https://www.ed-era.com/mon.html
 
It is no exaggeration, that the first years of schooling have an effect on the rest of pupils lives. This is because at this age, primary school education prepares the foundation for conscious cognitive activity of the individual. Therefore, in most developed countries, the main goal of primary school is not seen as sum of knowledge, information and numbers. On the contrary, the main task of teachers is to instill a love of learning in their pupils. Pupils should learn to enjoy reading, solve everyday problems using knowledge obtained at school, enjoy finding information independently, learn to communicate with others, find their place in the team and work with others to achieve common goals.
 
We remind readers, that the detailed reform project "New Ukrainian School" has been presented by Minister Liliya Hrynevych. This systemic reform project will be implemented beginning with the year 2018, but work on it has already begun. The primary school curriculum reform project and preparation of video recommendations for primary school teachers show the direction of the changes that Ministry of Education and Science is planning. These are only the first steps. Systemic reform of the whole school system is yet to come, and work on this has already begun.

 
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What is practice EIT and why is it carried out?

Who can participate in practice EIT?

How to register for the practice EIT?
Each year, a trial EIT is conducted in order to familiarize all interested participants with the procedure of the EIT, the structure and content of test papers and access to the testing centers and locations of the national and regional centers for education quality assessment. In 2017, trial testing will be held on 1 and 8 April.
 
Participation in the trial EIT is an important part of preparation for the test. Test papers are created in the form of subject tests, which correspond to the EIT program and adhere to the structure and characteristics of the certified papers as well as recreating the procedure of conducting EIT as closely as possible.    

Participants can register for trial EIT on the websites of regional centers for educational quality assessment. Registration is open from 10 to 31 January 2017.
 
Each registered participant can participate in one of the subjects on offer for a given day, according to the schedule following schedule: 1 April - trial-EIT for Ukrainian language and literature, 8 April - the following subjects - History of Ukraine, Mathematics, Biology, Geography, Physics, Chemistry, English, Spanish, German, Russian and French.
 
Participation in the trial EIT is a paid service for participants, which does not generate a profit for organizers and is conducted at the expense of individuals and legal entities. The cost of per test for participants is stipulated separately by the Regional Center for Educational Quality Assessment. This information is available on the websites of regional centers for educational quality assessment.
 
Please note that registration to undergo trial testing does not result in automatic registration to attend the main EIT session.
The results of the trial EIT are not counted as a score for the state final attestation and are not used to participate in competitive selection for admission to higher education.
 
More information about the trial of the EIT is available on the websites of regional centers for educational quality assurance .

Information on the UCEQA website
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The curriculum for pupils in years 1-4 were reformed at the beginning of this academic year. As a result, the reformed curriculum takes into consideration the age-characteristics of pupils at each year level, gives teachers more freedom by reducing excessive regulations detailing how to teach each subject and changes the approach to testing acquired knowledge and skills (e.g. the standard requiring reading speed of a specified number of words read per minute was abolished).
Since the process of changing textbooks and bringing their content in line with the updated curriculum takes time and money, the Ministry of Education in conjunction with the online platform EdEra and with the support of the international charitable foundation "Renaissance" has prepared video materials that should help teachers work according to the reformed curriculum. Video materials for 5 subjects are already online and in the public domain: Ukrainian language, Literary reading, English language, Mathematics and Information Technology. These videos contain recommendations on teaching methods and practical advice. The videos are also intended to interest a greater number of teachers in new techniques and teaching methods.   

For example, a video section with recommendations on teaching English in primary school includes such methods as the use of large-format or illustrated reading books, to enhance clarity when learning new words, using puppets as a "speaker" of English during class and creating simple projects such as English-language posters. All videos for the subject "English" are thematically divided into the following sections:
 
  1. Introductory video (Duration - 6 minutes 25 seconds)
  2. Video on key changes to the primary school English speaking course (Duration - 3 minutes 53 seconds)
  3. Videos on the introduction of the speaking course in year 1 (Duration - 5 minutes 49 seconds)
  4. Video on phonetic focus as part of English learning (Duration - 5 minutes 49 seconds)
  5. Videos about writing in English (Duration - 3 minutes 41 seconds)
  6. Video on creating mini-projects (Duration - 5 minutes 41 seconds)
 
Videos with recommendations on teaching methods and specific advice on teaching Ukrainian language and writing contain information about such modern techniques as: "Daily 5" , RAFT (Raft - role, audience, format, theme) and "Story telling". These methods and techniques are designed to teach children the ability to express their thoughts in writing, and the ability to report on and describe an event or occurrence, develop an affinity for writing and understanding creative writing as an art form. 
All video materials available on the platform EdEra, are short and organized thematically, making them more convenient to use, or select the desired unit.

News section on the MES website
Video materials for reformed curricula on the EdEra website
EdEra's YouTube channel, dedicated to primary school curriculum reform

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Beginning on 1 September 2017, the admission of students to the preparatory and first years of special schools (boarding schools) will come to an end and conditions will be established allowing for such children's' education in special or inclusive classes within the general school system. The corresponding decree was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine on 26 October 2016.
 
This decree provides that by 2022 all Ukrainian children enrolled in special schools (boarding schools) for children with intellectual impairment will gradually be transferred to study in the general school system. This will help ensure equal access to quality education for children with special educational needs and contribute to their successful learning, development and socialization.

In addition, an extremely aspect of transferring children with special needs from special schools and boarding schools to the general school system, is that such an arrangement allows children to live with their own families rather than in boarding houses.   

Before being transferred to general schools, these children will study in special preparatory classes and then move to special and inclusive classes where the will develop alongside other children. The organization of the education of special needs pupils in schools will be based on specific teaching methods, taking into account the specific nature of the teaching and learning process with such children.

Experience worldwide shows that such policies not only contribute to the development of tolerant and open societies, but also result in better educational results for children with special educational needs. The combination of remedial developmental work and the creation of a compulsory preparatory class will provide these children with a sufficient number of classroom hours to fully complete the curriculum.

The Ministry is also currently preparing an explanatory note and teaching program describing the organization of the educational process, taking into account the conditions of inclusive education of children with developmental and behavioral disorders in the general school system.

News section on the MES website
CMU Decree
Feature article in Life Section of Ukrayinska Pravda website

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The Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine has repealed the approval given by the Scientific and Methodological Commission for a textbook entitled "Family values", the content of which had become a subject of public debate and media attention. This incident became an occasion to review the policy under which MES awards classifications and recommendations for academic literature.
The Ministry of Education noted that cases of discriminatory norms in educational literature have increased significantly in recent times and require a systematic solution. MES is currently preparing an administrative order on raising the quality of relevant literature, which will include a review of all textbooks that have been published over the last 5 years and have received the Ministry's stamp of approval. In addition, it will create a working group to study new provisions on granting MES approval.

Currently MES approval for textbooks is awarded by respective commissions that approve related curricula and educational materials. The Ministry of Education lacks the institutional capacity to read all the books, which is why this function is performed by a commission at the Scientific and Methodological Council (SMC) for educational affairs.      

Due to the increasingly frequent cases of educational literature of poor or with discriminatory content, the composition of all SMC committees will be reviewed and their membership augmented with independent experts and reviewers, who will provide pre-approval of curricula, elective courses and educational materials.

News section on the MES website
MES Circular on cancellation of approval for a textbook for the course entitled "Family values"


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Article 5 paragraph 3 of the framework law "On education", which has been approved in its first reading, declares that "State policy in education is formed and implemented on the basis of research and comparisons, international obligations and international experience taking into account forecasts , statistical data and indicators of development to meet the needs of individuals, the economy and society at large".
For state educational policy to be effective, it must be based on reliable data, which requires data collection, processing, analysis and forecasts on the basis of these results. For example, in order to plan school policy, policy makers need accurate information on all schools in Ukraine (the number of students and the number of qualified teachers, size and facilities, specializations of the institution, etc.). Furthermore, this information should be collected and centralized nationwide.

Last year, the Ministry of Education established an institute of educational analysis, the purpose of which is to collect educational statistics for use in formulating future MES policy. This year, the World Bank has decided to provide grant assistance to Ukraine to put in place quality educational statistics.    

The World Bank grant will be used to enhance the institutional capacity of the MES Institute of Educational Analysis, develop an integrated education management information system (EMIS) and provide support for Ukraine's participation in the PISA international comparative study.
The Program for International Student Assessment or PISA is carried out every three years. Ukraine joined the program this year, giving it access to one of the best examples of reliable data for policy-making in education. Information obtained as a result of participation will allow policy-makers to identify weaker and stronger points in the education system resulting in better planned education policy. Ukraine will receive Initial results from its participation in the PISA international comparative study beginning in 2018.

News section on the MES website
Statistics and analysis from the Ukrainian Center for Educational Quality Assurance (UCEQA)
Education Management Information System (EMIS)

 
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What is Erasmus+ and for what purpose was it created?

Who can take advantage of Erasmus+?

How to find out more about specific opportunities and programs available to higher education institutions as part of Erasmus+?
Erasmus+ is a European Union program which aims to support projects in education, training, youth policy and sports. Erasmus+ aims to reduce unemployment, especially among young people, reducing the rate of school drop-outs, assisting with adults education with regard to the changing demands of the labor market, strengthening ties among young people in the EU and the partner countries and providing support for innovation, international mobility and reforms in education.

Participation in Erasmus+ is open to private individuals including students, lecturers, staff of higher education institutions and entire organizations such as higher education institutions and educational organizations. Separate programs are available to each of these two categories within the framework of the Erasmus+ program.    

Ukraine hosts a "National Erasmus+ Office" (NEO), which carries out activities to support, promote, monitor and disseminate information on the Erasmus+ program, particularly in higher education. NEO is a contact point for all interested potential participants in the program, both individuals and organizations.

To learn about the opportunities offered by Erasmus+ for Ukrainian higher education institutions concerning cooperation with educational institutions in Europe and partner countries of the program, including joint projects on academic mobility, European Studies or joint masters' degree programs, please visit NEO in Ukraine - http://erasmusplus.org.ua / . The site also contains information for individuals (students, lecturers, university administration staff) who wish to participate in individual exchange programs or internships: http://erasmusplus.org.ua/erasmus/ka1-navchalna-mobilnist/indyvidualni-hranty. html

From 14 to 18 November 2016 the national Erasmus+ program week will be held in Kyiv, including measures to support those universities that are already carrying out projects to extend the potential for their higher education programs as well as those planning proposals and Eligibility Erasmus +. Also planned activities for individuals planning to apply for scholarships for education and professional development.

The program of activities for the national Erasmus+ week in Ukraine includes:

November 14: Workshop for participants in currently ongoing Erasmus+ Jean Monnet projects.

November 15: International Erasmus+ information day

November 16th: Part 1 - Workshop for Universities with winning projects in the two Erasmus+ CBHE capacity building in higher education competition; Part 2 - Workshop and advice for Tempus IV (5th and 6th competition) projects including financial management and reporting

November 17: Workshop presentation on "Capacity building in higher education with Tempus and Erasmus+ structural projects: current achievements"

November 18: Information day for the Erasmus+ academic mobility program:
-     Part 1: cooperation between Ukrainian and other European higher education institutions;
-     Part 2: Individual possibilities for students, alumni, faculty and administrative staff of higher education institutions

The National Erasmus+ Week in Ukraine is organized by the National Erasmus+ Office (NEO) in Ukraine and the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine with the support of the EU Delegation to Ukraine and the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA - Brussels).

News on the MES website: Opportunities and projects within the framework of the Erasmus program
News on the MES website: List of events during national Erasmus week in Ukraine
Official website of the Erasmus+ program
Website of the National Erasmus+ Office in Ukraine

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October 19, 2016 the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine adopted Resolution number 724 , according to which the net profit (income) received the results of financial and economic activities of research institutions and scientific-technological complex is fully at the disposal of such institutions.
This decision is an important step in the implementation of the Law of Ukraine "On scientific and scientific-technical activity" adopted in November 2015, which provides for the financial autonomy of academic institutions. In particular, the law stipulates that government business enterprises whose main activity is scientific and (or) scientific-technical activities as well as scientific technological complexes based on state property shall be exempt from the obligation to transfer income from its financial and economic activity to the general fund of the state budget of Ukraine.     

Previously, the proportion of net profit (income) paid by research institutions to the state budget amounted to 75 percent. Now proceeds from scientific institutions and complexes can be used to fund the respective institutions' own scientific activities, to improve equipment and premises as well finance innovative projects. - The Law requires that at least 50% of net profits (income) to be reserved for this purpose.
 
News section on the MES website
Read the text of the CMU resolution

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