The Politics of Education
June 14, 2011 / 6.30 pm
Center for Urban History, Lviv
The third edition of the periodical Spilne (Commons) dedicated to the politics of education was presented at the Center for Urban History. Spilne is a journal which critically analyses Ukrainian society.
Education is once again on the agenda. There is an increasing amount of public discussion, forcing every citizen to make a stand and defend it. The controversy surrounding Ukraine’s Minister of Education Tabachnyk prompted these discussions as did his increasing emphasis on "Ukrainophobia." This in turn caused large-scale student and teacher protests demanding social and systemic changes. In the West, students have opposed neo-liberal reforms which are transforming universities (historically one of the strongest institutions in European socialist states), into establishments that increasingly resemble businesses or corporations. The reforms being suggested resemble the Russian government’s plan to affect even secondary schools.
Educational establishments have been changing for many years, but for a long time no one wanted to notice. At first glance, what appeared to be well intentioned changes—patenting research results, and student mobility—took a turn and headed down the well beaten path of merging education with business; obviously for the benefit of business. Not all the changes can be directly tied to commercialization or corporatization, but these two words point to the general tendency. Some establishments have embraced globalization and now mirror trans-national corporations.
This issue draws attention to the many problems in education and illustrates critical approaches to addressing them. Analyzing education is a priority for the journal Spilne and their web site commons.com.ua. Of course education can reflect ideology and inequality; but it can nonetheless produce a critical opinion and alternative projects for society.