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Religion and Education in Post-Soviet Ukraine

Political Context, Educational Problems and Religious Character

Research Paper (postgraduate) 2010 29 Pages

Theology - Miscellaneous

Excerpt

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Table of figures

INTRODUCTION

KEY WORDS

1. Post-Soviet Rehabilitation of Religion and Religious Education in Ukraine: A Political Context

2. Contemporary Problems in Religious Education in Ukraine

3. Religious Character of Religious Education in Ukraine
3.1.Religious Education in Public Secondary Schools in Ukraine
3.2.Religious Education under Different Religious and Denomination Groups in Ukraine
3.2.1. Religious Education under Traditional and Protestant Christian Churches, Denominations, and Religious Organizations
3.2.2. Religious Education under Minor Religious Groups

4. Summary

BIBLIOGRAPHY

TABLE OF FIGURES

Existing Problems in Religious Education in Ukraine

Figure II The System of School Education in Ukraine

Figure III Private Christian Schools in Commonwealth of Independent States and Pribaltic States, as of 2002

Table IV Denominational division of religious educational institutions in Ukraine, as of 1 January 2007

Table V Educational Activity of Islamic Communities in Ukraine, as August 20, 2007

Table VI Educational Activity of Jewish Communities in Ukraine, as August 20, 2007

INTRODUCTION

Ukraine, a bread bucket and Bible belt of the former Soviet Union, arose as a contemporary Eastern European state after a peaceful cessation of the USSR. Becoming (theoretically?) free and independent from the influence of Moscow, Ukraine continues to fulfill its political mission which is linguistically incorporated in its original (from Moscow perspective) name – Okrajina i.e. “the border land” or “land that is on the edge”. During the contemporary time after the expansion of the European Union Ukraine has found itself to be a boarder land once again – a boarder land between European Union and Eurasian Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazhakhstan.

Till recent political changes Ukraine was considered as a post-Soviet example of democracy development and religious tolerance. However, certain tensions still existed in the area of interaction between state, religion and education. The present article describes the general trends and contemporary situation in religious education in secondary schools and institutions of higher education in contemporary Ukraine from the perspective of religion – state - society relations. Research areas of this study focus on political context, educational problems, and religious character of religious education in Ukrainian society. The problems in religious education, which are caused by the fact that religious educational institutions that exist on the territory of Ukraine and mainly established by various religious organization (1) are deprived from the right of having state accreditation, due to (2) inter and intra religious separations that were provoked by (3) unregulated religious plurality of educational institutions, are presented in this text in the light of political debates around the juridical legislations for religious organizations and their educational activity. In addition, these dilemmas are reflected on the background of political changes in Ukraine starting with independence of Ukraine from Soviet Union in 1991.

Key words: Ukraine, religion, education, religious education, politics, post-communism, liberal democracy, religious pluralism.

CHAPTER 1

Post-Soviet Rehabilitation of Religion and Religious Education in Ukraine: A Political Context

Lyudmyla Filipovych and Anatoly Kolodny in the article Theology and Religious Studies in Post-Communist Ukraine: Historical Sources, Modern Status, and Perspectives of Cooperation stated that in the beginning of the Post-Communist era in Ukraine the attitude toward faith, religion and religious education was changing dramatically.[1] The independence of Ukraine in 1991 brought religious education on the new level of development; political and administrative changes provided an opportunity for revival of all activities, including educational, of all traditional and non-traditional religious groups and organizations that are present on the territory of Ukraine.[2] The existed in higher education during the Soviet era subject Religievedenie (Religious Knowledge[3] ) which was mainly represented by the atheistic educational ideology directed toward scientific criticism of all forms of religious beliefs, was changed toward intellectual approach to studying different religious phenomena. Scholars and educational systems faced a new challenge to provide academic theoretical knowledge about recently emerged religious groups and organizations.

According to Lyudmyla Filipovych, during the first years of religious freedom in Ukraine, Churches and different religious organizations, and religion itself, left underground position[4] and are being rehabilitated from a negative view imposed on it by atheistic propaganda of communistic regime of Soviet Union.[5] Furthermore, as it was mentioned by Volodymyr Vas’kovs’kyj, head of the formally existed Department of Religious Affairs of The State Committee on Religious Affairs and Nationalities, during the first ten years of independence, Ukraine already had established network of religious organizations which can relatively satisfy the spiritual needs of believers.[6] However, the legal regulations concerning the position of different religious groups and organizations and their involvement in the political and educational activities in the life of Ukrainian society are still in the process of development. On October 3, 2007, Thomas Hammarberg, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, giving the presentation on the human rights in Ukraine, noticed that particular regulations need to de developed in the jurisprudence system to secure the official position of religious organizations in Ukraine.[7] These regulations should describe the dual relationship between the state with its political policy and different religious organizations that exist on the territory of this state. However, the long desired improvement in regulating the (inter)religious dialogue in public domain and education and development of the democratic State-Church/ Religious Organization relations have happened only partially – as it is widely commented by international experts and Ukrainian NGOs, during the last few years Ukraine has made a significant step forward in promoting human rights for diversity and education while making two steps back.

In spite of the fact that The Constitution of Ukraine separates religion from the state and that different governmental laws restrict direct involvement of religion into political life of Ukraine, political parties represented in the Verkhovna Rada Ukrayiny (Parliament of Ukraine) make efforts to complete the process of rehabilitation of religion[8] and to build juridical foundation for tolerant coexistence of different religious groups in Ukraine for the purpose of securing the development of liberal pluralistic views in Ukraine. Many political parties are indicating in programs their focus on weaknesses in juridical system concerning place of religion, religious workers, and religious educational activity in the life of society and are making claims to work on these juridical gaps in their present and future political service. For example, Volodymyr Marytshenko, national deputy of Ukraine from Christian-Democratic Union, in the beginning of the year of 2007 submitted a working proposal for the Second Reading of the project on Labor Codex with suggestions to equalize regulations for Study Leave [9] for students enrolled in religious institutions of higher education. However, this working proposal was not accepted, mainly by deputies from Party of Regions, Socialist Party of Ukraine, and Communist Party of Ukraine,[10] because the study leave is only possible in connection with involvement in the study process; however, according to Constitution of Ukraine, Article 35 and the law of Ukraine On Education, Article 9, school (and education in general) is separated from the Church (religious organizations) and is subjected to state authorities defined by the laws and constitution:

The Ukrainian government bodies of education management shall include:

The Ministry of Education of Ukraine;

Ministries and departments of Ukraine governing educational institutions;

The Supreme Certification Commission of Ukraine;

The Ministry of Education of Autonomous Republic Crimea,

Local executives and local bodies of self-governance, and education management bodies subordinate thereto.[11]

Therefore, the parliament had no juridical foundation to accept this proposal submitted by Christian-Democratic Union. This decision of Ukrainian parliament had indicated that Ukrainian juridical system, in reason to work toward the resolution of existing problems in religious education, needs to implement bigger radical changes concerning the involvement of religious groups in educational activity and its influence beyond religious margins of those particular faith traditions then just development of labor regulations for students enrolled in religious educational institutions.

For this purpose a public research project Educational Platform was launched in February 2012 to analyze the real situation, problems and trends in the system of education in Ukraine. The lists of organizers and partners of the project include both national and international experts, academic unions, stake holders, policy makers, and ministerial units, such as Centre for Educational Monitoring, The Andrey Shetpytsky Educational Foundation, European Council of National Associations of Independent Schools, European Association of Educational Law and Policy, Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations, Public Council under the Ministry of Education and Science, Youth and Sports of Ukraine, and Representatives of the President of Ukraine in the Parliament and others. During the informal meetings in August and October 2012 with the representatives of the project, Volodymyr Marytshenko and Yriy Reshetnikov have expressed their hopes that the results of this project will help to modernize the system of secondary education in Ukraine in accordance with European educational strategies, will defend the interest and right of parents and children for education in line with cultural and religious preferences, and will promote the involvement of civil society in the formation of secondary education in Ukraine on a higher level.[12] As it was further noticed, one of the aims of the project is to create a pupil-centered format of education that will take into account cultural and religious preferences of pupils.

In light of the latest critics Ukraine has received from international election observers and experts, the future of development of democratic pupil-centered structures in (inter)cultural and (inter)religious dimension of education might significantly depend on the outcomes of this project. It is also important to notice that this project is focused on the implementation of the European values in diversity education and correlates to the principles stated in Action Plan for Ukraine 2011-2014 “A Partnership for Reform”,[13] Recommendation CM/Rec (2010)7[14] and CM/Rec (2008)12,[15] White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue “Living Together as Equals in Dignity”,[16] and Toledo Guiding Principles. Therefore, Ukraine is now in the transformational stage in the areas of (inter)cultural and (inter)religious dimensions of education.

CHAPTER 2

Contemporary Problems in Religious Education in Ukraine

As the table below shows, three main problems in religious education in Ukraine are represented by the fact that educational institutions organized by religious organizations on the base of the law On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations [17] (1) are deprived from the right of having state accreditation, due to partial (2) inter and intra religious separations that were provoked by (3) unequal attitude of the state authorities to some particular religious traditions and its establishments respectively (inclusive educational institutions). However, as it is explained below, these obstacles do not exist in separation from each other; more likely, this is the chain of obstacles that depends on each other and are being caused by the fact that there is more responsibility and involvement in religious education from the side of religious communities, then from the side of the state itself.[18]

Figure I: Existing Problems in Religious Education in Ukraine

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

As it is mentioned above, one of the legal changes that have to be made in the area of religious education in Ukraine is the issue of juridical position of religious institutions of higher education and their rights on state recognition and governmental accreditation respectively. According to the statistic given byState Committee of Ukraine on Nationalities and Religion on 1 January, 2007, 185 religious institutions of higher education exist on the territory of Ukraine totaling the number of students to 20880 with 10548 students being involved in full time study programs.[19] These educational institutions belong to different religious groups and confessions. In comparison to the year of 2006, the number of religious educational institutions in Ukraine and the total number of students grew respectively for 10 institutions and 400 students.[20] However, many religious institutions of higher education in Ukraine are registered as organizations that provide religious, but not educational service. [21] This registration was achieved on the base of the Article 11 and 14 of the law On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations [22],[23]The law of UkraineOn Education, Article 9, permits only secular nature of education and forbids the involvement of religious organization in educational activity beyond the borders of any particular faith tradition: “Regardless of their form of ownership, educational institutions in Ukraine shall be separated from the church (religious organizations), have secular nature, except for educational institutions founded by religious organizations.” [24] Therefore, it means that religious institutions of secondary and higher education established and supervised by religious organizations can not have state recognition as being educational institutions equal to state educational institutions and can not have state accreditation as other educational institutions. This problematic situation creates partial vacuum and separation in the area of religious education in Ukraine: the state is only in the beginning of developing its system of religious education and private religious educational institutions organized by religious organizations are mainly excluded from educational service supervised by the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine. This means that higher education achieved in these institutions has no state recognition and is being located into the sphere of private religious development of a pupil which has value mostly within boarders of that particular religious group, organization, or denomination that acts as a founding or government body of this educational institution. [25] However, considering the number of faculty members and students involved, it is incorrect to conclude that the whole sphere of religious higher education, supervised by different religious organizations, has little or no influence on Ukrainian society and its political development toward liberal democracy. In respond to activities of different religious, democratic, and social organizations in the area of religion and religious education and their juridical position,Verkhovna Rada Ukrayiny (Parliament of Ukraine) made some significant steps toward legalizing the activity of religious institutions of higher education. On June 16, 2005 Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine issued the Decree # 363 concerning the approval of changes to the list of areas and professions in higher educational institutions which, under the Article 4, states that Parliament of Ukraine approved the following change: ”To the field of Humanity Studies in the study area 0301 Philosophy introduce specialty of Theology with education-qualification levels “Bachelor” –

[...]


[1] Lyudmyla O. Filipovych and Anatoly M. Kolodny, Theology and Religious Studies in Post-Communist Ukraine: Historical Sources, Modern Status, and Perspectives of Cooperation, in Religion in Eastern Europe XXIII, 6 (December 2003), 1.

[2] Filipovych and Kolodny, 2003, 1.

[3] Religievedenie – in Russian, Religiyeznavstvo – in Ukrainian, Religious Knowledge - in English; the subject Religious Knowledge relates to the subject of Religious Studies in the curriculum of West European countries.

[4] Religious Information Service of Ukraine (RISU), Religious Freedom in Ukraine, “Fifteen Years of Independence: Situation with Religious Freedom in Ukraine”, 30-08-2006, <http://www.risu.org.ua/freedom/analytics/religfreedom_15years/> (7 September 2006).

[5] Filipovych and Kolodny, 2003, 1.

[6] Vas’kovs’kyj, Volodymyr. Rozvytok Relihijnoji Merezhi v Ukrajini: 2000. “Natsional’na Bezpeka i

Oborona”, No. 3, Vol 15, Ukrajins’kyj Tsentr Ekonomichnykh i Politychnykh Doslidzhen’ imeni Olexandra Razumkova; 2001, p. 56 [ Development of Religious Network in Ukraine: year of 2000. “National Protection and Defense,” Journal # 3 (15). Ukrainian Center for Economic and Political Studies named after Olexander Razumkov; 2001, p. 56].

[7] RISU, “Ukraine Religions Need Legal Status, Says Europe Commissioner”, 3-10-2007, <http://www.risu.org.ua/ukr/news/article;18183 > (12 December 2007).

[8] Filipovych and Kolodny, 2003, 1.

[9] Study Leave – a juridical right of full-time working students to be temporary excused from professional responsibilities for study purposes; provisional financial support should be provided by organization.

[10] Reshetnikov, Yriy. Relihijna Osvita v Ukrajini to jiji Pravovyj Stan. [ Religious Education in Ukraine andits Juridical Position.] Presentation given on the conference of Euro-Asian Accrediting Association of religious educational institutions, 24 October, 2007, RISU, <http://www.risu.org.ua/ukr/study/research_conference/education_yresh_0710/>].

[11] The law of Ukraine On Education, Chapter I, Article 11.

[12] Informal meetings with representatives of the project Educational Platform in August and October 2012 and unpublished working document “Project Strategy” of the Public Project Educational Platform.

[13] Council of Europe, Action Plan for Ukraine 2011-2014 “A Partnership for Reform”.

[14] Council of Europe Charter on Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education, Recommendation CM/Rec (2010)7 and Explanatory memorandum, adapted by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on 11 May 2010.

[15] Concil of Europe, Recommendation CM/Rec (2008)12 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on the dimension of religious and non-religious convictions within intercultural education. Adapted by the Committee of Ministers on 10 December 2008 at the 1044th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies.

[16] Council of Europe, White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue “Living Together as Equal in Dignity”, 118th Ministerial Session in Strasbourg on 7 May 2008.

[17] Law of Ukraine On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations, Chapter II, Article 11 and 14.

[18] Johannes Lähnemann, Introduction – Interreligious and Values Education: Chalenges, Development and Projects in Europe, in “Interreligious and Values Education in Europe: Map and Handbook”, Johannes Lähnemann and Peter Schreiner, eds. (Germany, Münster: Comemius Institut, 2008), 6.

[19] Yriy Reshetnikov, presentation on 24 October, 2007.

[20] Ibid.

[21] However, some religious educational institutions were registered on the base of the law On Education due to the fact that were founded not by a religious organization, but by a secular social or any other public organization that operates on behalf of a particular religious organization. These examples will be treated in the section Religious Education under Different Religious and Denominational Groups in Ukraine and following respective sections.

[22] Yriy Reshetnikov, presentation on 24 October, 2007.

[23] Law of Ukraine On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations, Chapter II, Article 11 and 14.

[24] Law of Ukraine On Education, Chapter I, Article 9; according to the aforementioned article, religious educational institutions are recognized by the state, but this does not implies the equality of status, position, and rights with state educational institutions.

[25] Joseph Stetar and Oleksiy Panych, Ukraine, in “The Rising Role and Relevance of Private Higher Education in Europe”, P. J. Wells, J. Sadlak and L. Vlăsceanu, eds. (Bucharest, Rumunia: published for UNESCO‐CEPES, Presa Universitară Clujeană, 2007), 523.

Details

Pages
29
Year
2010
ISBN (eBook)
9783656573227
ISBN (Book)
9783656573203
File size
644 KB
Language
English
Catalog Number
v267251
Institution / College
Utrecht University
Grade
Tags
education religion state church relation post-Soviet context

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Title: Religion and Education in Post-Soviet Ukraine