The Other Side of Education
September 22-23, 2011
On September 22, heads of European departments of education are coming to Kyiv, Ukraine, to specify their own goals and priorities for educational and cultural field during the next few decades. We all know what can be the outcome of these forums—commercialisation, budget cuts, strict centralisation—these things happen all over Europe, and this is their side of education.
No wonder the heads of educational departments come to Kyiv intending to decide the fate of education together. The probblems of Ukrainian students are similar to those of the students in most European and post-Soviet countries—governmental efforts to make education self-sufficient, putting obstacles in the way of the needy to get educated; cuts in financing of liberal arts, binding researches to commercial profit—all these aspects follow the neoliberal reforms, i.e. governmental cuts in social sectors.
We can see the other side of modern education, and it is far less attractive than the pretty picture the officials are trying to present us. Yet we are the other force, the only force that can change the situation.
As opposed to the official forum of the heads of departments students plan to hold an alternative forum in Kyiv, in order to draw attention to the other side of the problems discussed by the officials. If we don’t interfere, they will decide that the aim of education must be to produce narrow professionals for commercially profitable industrial areas, and the priorities in education must be focused on business!
We also know what hypocrites they are when they talk of fighting against xenophobia—because it is they who create the conditions for xenophobia: it is caused by the social and economic conditions that people experience. Educational politics makes education unavailable for the majority, which deepens social inequality and results in xenophobia—the psychological need of the oppressed to find some alien who sticks out and blame him for all evil. In contrast to liberal “fighting” against xenophobia, we act in real international solidarity, which is proved by our alternative forum.
On September 22-23, students from different countries are coming to hold an alternative forum. The forum will consist of a number of events, connected with common ideas of opposition to commercialization of education and prevention of xenophobia.
We will take advantage of the fact that the objects of our criticism will all be in Kyiv to tell them what we think education and culture must be like in the coming decades. We will take the opportunity to occupy the information space to tell European community what modern education is really like nowadays, to show the real reasons of xenophobia, and draw the way in which education can be different, the way it can promote equality and freedom of personality.
We can see the dark side of education, and we will bring the officials to daylight! Come to our side!