Ukrainian University Educators Learn New, Innovative Civic Education Methodology

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Democracy Course to be Piloted at Eight National Universities and Empower Next Generation of Leaders

KYIV, UKRAINE — February 8, 2018 — A group of Ukrainian university-level educators completed the first in a series of trainings on civic education teaching methodology. These teachers will lead a semester-long, interactive course at their respective universities aimed at introducing students to the principles of democracy and human rights and empowering the next generation of democratic leaders.

I am happy to be part of this important initiative, one that will undoubtedly contribute to significant changes in approaches to education in Ukraine.” – Zoriana Zazuliak, Lecturer, Lviv Polytechnic National University.

The goal of the course is to strengthen the knowledge, skills and values that are associated with students’ effective democratic citizenship through interactive teaching methodology; student action projects—wherein students identify, analyze, and address issues in and beyond their communities; and customized course readers that focus on democratic principles, good governance, civil society, civic participation and human rights. From February 4-7, 2018, 24 university educators representing eight Ukrainian universities from five cities completed the continuous trainings on the interactive methodology. The training was organized by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), and was designed to prepare the participants to teach the IFES-developed, semester-long course titled, “Democracy: from Theory to Practice,” to be piloted at these eight universities during the 2018/2019 academic year.

Moving away from traditional, lecture-based, top-down approaches, teachers of the course receive continuous training on interactive teaching methodology that will translate into a strengthening of their students’ sense of civic responsibility as well as the development of skills such as critical and abstract thinking, team work, media literacy, consensus building, and fact-based argumentation.

Cross-cutting themes of the course include gender equality, elections, minority rights, inclusion of and accessibility for persons with disabilities, enfranchisement, good governance, rule of law, media literacy, digital participation, diversity, the role of money in politics, the role of youth, and, corruption.

IFES’ innovative, semester-long course was developed by Ukrainian and international experts, is tailored for Ukraine, and is based on IFES’ global university-level civic education methodology: Strengthening Engagement through Education for Democracy (SEED). Through SEED, IFES, in 2011 introduced an innovative, university-level civic education course in Georgia that is currently offered at the majority of accredited universities in the country. The universities that will offer the course during the 2018 academic year include Vasyl Stus Donetsk National University, Ivan Franko National University of Lviv, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, National University of “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy”, Lviv Polytechnic National University, Yaroslav Mudriy National Law University, Ivan Horbachevsky Ternopil State Medical University, and V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University.

“The objectives of IFES’ trainings for university-level educators and its civic education course are closely aligned with the Council of Europe’s Charter on Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education, as well as Ukraine’s Ministry of Education and Science’s vision to foster an education system that focuses on teaching students how to think, not what to think. The February training represents a significant milestone for the country, and positions Ukraine to take on a greater leadership role in the area of civic education for democratic citizenship in Europe.” – George Kobakhidze, IFES’ Senior Operations and Civic Education Officer in Ukraine.

This initiative is made possible with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Global Affairs Canada and UK aid.

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