War … Education: Complex Syntax or Prepositions Do Matter

Ukrainian Educational Research Association is doing her best to deliver information from Ukraine to the world.

On May 17, the UERA President prof. Oksana Zabolotna gave a CERC talk (CERC stands for Comparative Education Research Center of the University of Hong Kong) as part of the cycle of Post-Soviet Studies with Anatoly V. Oleksiyenko. 

The talk drew the attention of people from different countries: China, Indonesia, Lithuania, Poland, and others.

The talk concerned the following ideas:

The words 'war' and 'education' are abstract notions, but if connected by different prepositions, they acquire real meaning and require action to save humanity. The presenter looked at different prepositions that might connect the words ‘war’ and ‘education’ and reinforced the phrase with examples from Ukrainian higher education during the current Russian-Ukrainian war.

In the War AGAINST Education part, the presenter produced some evidence of the damage to Ukrainian universities inflicted by the 2022 full-scale Russian-Ukrainian war. She unfolded the situation Ukrainian academics and students are facing today. Here, she focused on the data gathered by the Ukrainian Educational Research Association from its members. 

In the Education FOR War section, the presenter drew attention to the role of education in propaganda targeted at inhuman actions. She showed examples demonstrating that universities can play an infamous role if they are led by a distorted purpose that has nothing to do with development, critical thinking, academic integrity, and independence.   

On the contrary, Education AGAINST War, or, to be more positive, Education for Peace, is driven by the need to promote the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that help people live in peace. The presenter pointed at it as the principal purpose of primary, secondary, and higher education which had not been paid proper attention to. It had been overlooked as if a priori the good had had sufficient strength to fight down the evil.

 However odd it might seem, there is a lot that War FOR Education has done. To be more exact, because of the war, people worldwide have learned a lot about Ukraine and its legacy and about Russia and its natural face. Moreover, the war has helped Ukrainians understand who they really are and act accordingly by self-organizing, distributing functions, and supporting each other.

The video of the CERF talk is here.