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Only educated citizens can transform Ukrainian society

February 26, 2015
By Orest Lesiuk
(Excerpts translated from the Ukrainian original article:

Today Ukrainian society is tenaciously and, perhaps, somewhat chaotically looking for ways to develop further. (…)

(T)here are three foreigners working in the Ukrainian government already – an American, a Georgian and a Lithuanian; and more foreigners are holding positions of deputy ministers or other high ranking officials.

Ukrainian society gradually arrives at the idea that to run the country one must select managers not from a native village (neighborhood, farm, the town of Yenakievo etc.), but from any country of the world, so long as the candidate’s professional and moral qualities match the requirements of the position he is to hold.

But of course, it’s worthwhile to keep in mind Ukrainian potential candidates too. “No man is prophet in his own country” – but we must educate and foster our own manpower.

In mid October 2014 professor of Gyeongsang National University (Korea) Jinwhan Park visited Ukraine with a series of lectures, seminars and workshops. (…) During one of his lectures, Professor Park told that 50 years ago economic and political situation in South Korea were in worse state than in Ukraine today. But the Koreans placed stakes on education and succeeded tremendously (…)

Regrettably, nothing of the kind can be said about Ukraine today. (…)

Educational projects of foundations of prominent persons have been, perhaps, the only positive tendency of the recent years. Thus, the aforementioned visit of the Korean Prof. Jinwhan Park was financed by the Risk Reduction Foundation, Switzerland. (…)

In late 2012 Bohdan Hawrylyshyn Foundation started a long-term program “Young people will change Ukraine”." Initiator and inspirer of the program, renowned scholar Bohdan Hawrylyshyn, believes that the potential of Ukraine is extremely great due to human capital and natural resources. But to use the potential of Ukraine to the maximum extent possible, the country needs a total transformation of state institutions and economic and social system. The main goal of the program is to facilitate the development and emergence of a critical mass of the new generation of people capable of taking on the responsibility for the fate of the state and society. (…)

In this context it’s worth mentioning Zavtra.UA scholarship program– first in Ukraine privately funded nationwide initiative to support gifted youth, one of the projects of the Victor Pinchuk Foundation (...). The program is intended to help gifted young students (…) become a driving force of progressive changes in Ukraine.

Zavtra.UA scholarship holders receive a monthly stipend and get engaged in social projects and other events initiated by the Foundation. The program also offers comprehensive financial and administrative support to individual projects or initiatives of creative, scientific or socio-economic nature.

Additionally, young scholars take part in Zavtra.UA Youth Forum annual meetings in Kyiv, Annual Meetings of Yalta European Strategy, and Public Lectures. Over 7 years since program launch, more than 2000 students have become Zavtra.UA scholarship holders. Currently the program reaches out to the universities throughout Ukraine, with 84 of them among the program’s official partners.

There are other educational initiatives at the level of civil society, but – this is not enough. The state must take a more dynamic and responsible stance. After all, a progressive educational system and investments in it have an impact only in 5, 10, or 20 years, by improving the quality of intellect governing the country and, consequently, the quality of life in Ukraine.

Source: Kontrakty.UA
Author: Orest Lesyuk
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