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Ecological education

Awareness-raising and training in the field of ecology, and the development of a cultural and integral ecological outlook is a decisive factor in overcoming the present global ecological  crisis. Therefore ecological education is one of the priority areas of the state policy.

The system of ecological  training and education existing in Ukraine has to be improved as to its efficiency and integration on the basis of a deep philosophical and psychological-pedagogical comprehension of the problem with regard for the social-cultural functions of ecology in the society, and an integral system of ecological knowledge. Also taken into consideration must be the traditions, rites and historical experience of the Ukrainian people in this sphere as well as the peculiarities of the ecological and economic situation in the country. It is coexistence which should serve as a key principle in cooperation between human society and nature, and not excessive consumption and violence.

There is no single efficient system of ecological  training and education in Ukraine which could form a basis for such training and education without essential changes. The system required has been developed and improved based on the experience of development experts and the national peculiarities of the country. Scientific and pedagogical staff of Ukraine are highly qualified in the field of sustainable ecological   development, medical ecology, military ecology, methodology and matters of ecological education, ecological ethics and psychology, education and control, etc.

Using this experience and following the Edict of the President of Ukraine “Main trends of reformation of higher education in Ukraine” a group of specialists have prepared the Conception of Ecological Education Development in Ukraine.

The Conception takes into account the programme documents concerning government policy in the field of education and environment protection, “Main aspects of the national policy on environmental protection, utilization of natural resources, and guarantee of environmental safety”. The Conception has been approved by the Scientific Council of the Institute of Education Content and Methods at the Ministry for Education of Ukraine and transferred to interested ministries and departments.

In accordance with the Conception the ecological education will be aimed at the obtaining of fundamental ecological knowledge and methodology as well as at professional training in ecology, ecologization of special educational disciplines and ecological awareness-raising. All this will promote the formation of the integral ecological   knowledge and thinking necessary for making the appropriate administrative decisions at the level of enterprises, branches, regions and the whole country.

Ecology is not taught at secondary educational institutions as an independent discipline but as a component of courses of natural sciences and geography.   Obligatory-selective courses of ecology or analogous authorized courses are offered at specialized educational institutions. A series of education programmes “Ecological   Education of Scholars” have been published for these institutions.

To a certain degree, ecological awareness-raising can be achieved through establishments outside the regular school system, ecological-environmental centers in particular, arranging mass nature-protection activities at the national and regional levels (“Water of Life”, “Rivers of My Childhood”, “Source”, etc.). The Olympiads in ecology often held in Ukraine and abroad also have a positive influence on the development of ecological education. The teams of Ukrainian pupils often win first prizes in International Ecological Olympiads.

The course “Principles of Ecology” was introduced as an obligatory normative educational discipline of the cycle of naturalistic, humanitarian and socio-economic disciplines read at higher educational institutions. The list of trends and specialties also includes such courses as “Ecology and Environment Protection”. The state standard in specialty 0708 “Ecology” has been prepared as well.

The state departments of ecological safety play a rather active role in terms of informing citizens and distributing knowledge of ecology in the various regions. The universal character of the problem determines the diversity of forms and approaches to its solution in different regions.

In Rivne Region, the ecological education of the population is performed at all levels of the general education system, from kindergartens to higher institutions. Separate ecological courses or programmes for specialized classes have been introduced in several schools of a new type (gymnasia, lyceums, collegiums). The network of non-school educational institutions consists of stations of young environmentalists, ecoschools, ecological-naturalistic centers etc., where 260 associations embrace more than 10,000 children.

Active forms of training, practical work and mass actions concerning environment protection have a rather important place, and 30,000 pupils were involved in such activities in 1998. The leading place in ecological education belongs to the Ukrainian State Academy of Water Economy, where engineers in the specialty “Ecology” are trained. Possibilities to expand one’s knowledge of ecology are provided by the system of post-graduate education (people’s universities “Nature”, the Rivne Institute for Advanced Training of Pedagogic Personnel, Specialized Courses for Retraining and Advanced Education). A “Programme for Improvement of Ecological Information Activities and Formation of an Ecological Culture for 1998-2000” has been adopted and implemented in the region.

In Sumy Region the state administration and civil defense headquarters, the fire service and public health organizations are carrying out joint activities in the field of ecological awareness-raising of the general public.

Classes of ecological nature, and elective and special courses of ecology are offered at schools attended by about 5,000 students in the course of one year. Certain schools work in accordance with the model “Ecology and Dialectics”; where ecological problems are discussed even among very young pupils. There are 146 schools of young ecologists in the region. Above 2,000 pupils study at extraordinary ecological university “Priroda” (Nature) created at the regional station by young environmentalists.

The state authorities of Cherkasy Region have founded the local paper “Ecology, Health, Life”. Basic ecological  disciplines (“Environment Protection”, “General Ecology”, “Socioecology”, “Nature Utilization”, “Nature Utilization Economy”) are offered at the Agricultural Academy of Uman, and an “Agroecological Dictionary” has been prepared for printing. The International Scientific and Practical Conference “Ecology and Education: Theoretical and Practical Problems” was held in October 1998 with participation of state authorities.

Ecological education of pupils in Lugansk Region is combined with stays at the health camp “Zorya”. State authorities give financial support, and their specialists take part in expeditions. New programmes have been developed for the expedition teams. The All-Ukrainian Scientific and Practical Conference “Forms and Methods of Ecological Education in Ukraine” was held in Lugansk in 1998.

Mass actions (research, expeditions, environment protection holidays, work in school forestries and forest patrols) are preferred in Chernigiv Region. There was a competition between young people (“My Land”) with participation of 830 schools and 43 non-school educational institutions for children. About 150,000 trees were planted within the framework of the international environmental project “Green Halo of Ukraine”. A series of children’s books about the environment were published with the support of state authorities.

The Crimean Republican Committee for Family and Youth Affairs is implementing the programme “Ecological Universal Education”, but financing is insufficient. The subject “Ecology” is not obligatory for schools, and only 10 of them offer ecological-geographical specialization. Out-of-school work in environment studies is provided by the Minor Academy of Sciences of the Crimea and the Nature Club.

The entire work concerning ecological education in Zaporizhia Region is performed under the supervision of the Scientific and Methodical Centre. A system of ecological camps and field organizations for practical work in ecology is in operation, for which the City Environment Fund is the only source of financing. The international exhibition-seminar “Environment Problems of the Cities and Ways of their Solution” was held in Zaporizhia in 1998. The research-and-production enterprise “Eco-Ukraine” has created a number of TV programmes called “Green Studio”.

The Department of Hygiene and Ecology at the Dniepropetrovsk State Medical Academy is the center of ecological  education in Dniepropetrovsk Region. The Department staff have developed a conception of an integrated medical and ecological education, and have founded the journal “Ecopolis”. The computer-aided programmes “Minor River”, “Lake”, “Minor River Examination”, etc. are used in the education process.

The state administration of Kharkiv Region has a fruitful working relationship with the Ukrainian Ecological Academy of Sciences. The leading institutions of higher education in Kharkiv (State Pedagogical, Agrarian, Motor-Road and Technological Universities, the University of Architecture and Civil Engineering) have specialized ecological departments; the Faculty of Urban Engineering Ecology has been created at the Academy of Municipal Economy. The All-Ukrainian festival “Eco-2000”, regional competition-review of ecological information teams “Your Dream Colours”, ecological action “Park March 98”, two International Symposia (“Revival Programmes under Technogenic Impact”, “Transport and Environment”), 14 conferences, 11 seminars and 15 briefings of ecological nature have been carried out to improve the ecological education. Local state authorities have organized Advanced Training Courses in Environment Protection for specialists of research and design institutes, industrial enterprises and organizations of the region.

Ecological education is a subject of special concern in Chernivtsi Region. Local self-administration bodies include 60 permanent commissions concerned with the problems of environment protection, 375 deputies of different levels being their members. Ecological education of young people is performed under the slogan “From Ecology of the Soul to That of the Environment”. State authorities work in close cooperation with researchers and educational institutions of the region as well as with the Botanical Garden with the purpose of popularization of knowledge concerning nature protection. Programmes of the institutions for higher education, depending on their specialization, include a whole set of ecological disciplines. Such original courses as “Ecological road”, “My Land Bukovyna”, “ABC of Ecological  Knowledge” are offered at primary schools, while the pupils of senior classes learn such disciplines as “Principles of Ecological   Knowledge”. Ecological societies have been also created at secondary schools.

In Kirovograd Region the problems of ecological training and education have been solved within the framework of “Complex Programme of Environment Protection for 1996-2000” and other programmes focusing on the youth.

In Khmelnitsky Region the leading part in ecological awareness-raising  is played by educational institutions. The regional state administration has selected 29 schools where pupils are taught basic ecology as an independent discipline. Non-school ecological activities are also carried out. During 1998 young environmentalists planted 330,000 trees and bushes, made about 5,000 racks and boxes for starlings, purified about 900 springs and took into custody 1,500 ant-hills. An affiliation of the Khmelnitsky Technological University of Podillia has been founded under the patronage of the state administration department, and is responsible for the practical work of the students.

In Kyiv Region deputy committees of all levels as well as educational institutions are involved in the solution of problems of ecological education. The Green Party of Ukraine, the Ukrainian Society for Hunters and Fishermen, the All-Ukrainian Ecological League, the Ukrainian ecological association “Green Peace” and Kyiv regional council of Ukrainian Nature Protection Society also take part in these activities. There are also local departments of environment control. Much priority is placed on informal ecological education.

Considerable attention is given to publication of literature of nature-protective character in Lviv Region. Specialist ecologists are trained at Lviv State University, the State University “Lvivska Politechnika” and the Ukrainian State University of Forestry, which work in close cooperation with the State Department of Environmental Safety.

In Vinnistsia Region the association “Ecoschool” has developed the programme “Environment Day Relay-Race”, which provides methodical and practical aid to the local councils and authorities in solving the problems of ecological training and education and in developing their relations with non-governmental organizations.

A certain role in the system of ecological training and education also belongs to the Nature Reserve Lands organizations working in close cooperation with educational institutions.

he market economy has certain requirements as to the level of training of ecological personnel, and this has resulted in an increased interest in post-graduate ecological education. The essential part in the resolution of this problem is played by the State Institute of Advanced Training at the Ministry for Environment Protection and Nuclear Safety of Ukraine, where different forms of training are offered. About 400 people have improved their qualifications in the Ministry system in 1998. Besides, the Ministry has organized short-term training for leaders of state enterprises in the field of “Efficient Economic Mechanism of Nature Utilization”. Training of specialists in the field of “Ecology” is also offered at other educational institutions. In recent years these institutions have trained 505 young specialists: specialists and bachelors, and 590 graduates have obtained their second higher education in the specialty “Ecology”. About 5,500 specialists have raised their qualification by orders of ministries and departments. All these improvements deserve praise, but they are still not enough.


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