Ukrainian teachers attended the conference and schools in the Netherlands


For the first time, the Ukrainian delegation went to an international conference for teachers in Rotterdam. Serhiy Petrovich from the TOP-10 best teachers of the Global Teacher Prize Ukraine and three incredible teachers from the nomination “Choice with your heart” – Nadiya Vesnina, Iryna Ternova and Dina Tymoshenko-Ushakova flew to the Netherlands.

Those were 4 busy days, because the leader of the Proshkolu project and the head of CO the Maxym Stepanov Foundation Yulia Brovinska followed the teachers to Rotterdam together with the curator of the Right to education  project Natalia Moseychuk and the founder of the Superheroes School  Yevhenia Smirnova.

This educational trip was a joint initiative of our foundation and the Right to Education project. Teachers attended the 2nd International Conference on Teaching, Learning and Education in Rotterdam, organized by Erasmus University and were able to join the international community of teachers, hear the experience of foreign colleagues and learn interesting cases. Speakers included scholars, school principals, and graduate students from the United States, the Netherlands, Turkey, the Philippines, Taiwan, India, and Georgia.

The experience was interesting not only for the conference, because we spent most of our educational expedition in Dutch schools. It was there that we were able to look into the classrooms and learn how children are taught in one of the most developed countries in the world. In addition, teachers were able to visit two Ukrainian schools in The Hague and the suburbs of Amsterdam, where members of the diaspora teach their children their language and culture. It is significant that kids from the age of 2 study here and some of them have to go to school for an hour. Why all this? Because parents want to stick to their culture, because from the age of 4 children go to a Dutch school and there the chance to learn Ukrainian will be meager.

What about formal education in the Netherlands? It is unified and there is a single state curriculum for all schools, which fully suits parents, children and teachers:

  • Toddlers up to 3 years old go to a kindergarten. The cost of a kindergarten in the Netherlands is very high. If a child spends only one day a week in a kindergarten, it costs € 380 per month.
  • School starts at the age of 4. The special service monitors that all children go to school and such education is free.
  • Students under 12 are not given any homework, and most lessons are in the form of games. All children over 12 take an exam, which determines the student’s abilities and further specialization – technical or humanities.
  • Then children can study in gymnasiums, colleges, lyceums, depending on their success and knowledge of languages. By the way, there are as many as five languages to study there – English, German, French, Latin and, of course, their native Dutch.
  • Each school has a specialist who monitors children’s social behavior and helps resolve conflicts.
  • The principal in the Netherlands reports to the municipality and is the school manager. In addition, each school has a supervisory board, which includes parents, teachers and management.
  • Most communication between the school and parents is in electronic format – via letters to personal mail and electronic registers.
  • Parent days are often arranged in schools – when they come to school and learn something new together with their children.
  • There is no food in schools, children are given snacks from home.
  • Quite often children are left for the second year and parents do not see this as a problem or a catastrophe. If the child lags behind in development, it is also not considered something abnormal and children are simply transferred to specialized classes or institutions, where teachers and social educators pay Maxymum attention to them and pump up their abilities.

That educational trip to the Netherlands was the first step towards the integration of our teachers into the international community. Julia Brovinska expressed her opinions on a similar format of sharing experience:

“Taking into consideration today’ s realities, Ukrainian teachers really need help and support. Now I understand that by helping them, we are also helping the new generation. Leaders and parents want teachers to take an innovative approach in teaching and to implement international teaching methods. Everyone wants their child to study in the best conditions, even despite the fact that most of our teachers have never even been abroad. In order to gain new professional experience and master innovative technologies, teachers need a focus on successful educational cases, both Ukrainian and international”.

We are grateful to our friends for their support – Charitable Foundation “You are not alone” 1 + 1 Media, Embassy of Ukraine in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine / MFA of Ukraine