Natural sciences and mathematics in Ukraine today have a number of huge problems. Pupils do not want to go to school, later higher education institutions cannot recruit students who should become teachers of natural sciences and mathematics in the future. Today the task of higher school is to change the state of study of natural sciences and mathematics in general secondary education.
This issue became one of the key ones during the first joint meeting of the rector of Vasyl Stefanyk Precarpathian National University, head of the Department of Education, Science and Youth Policy of Ivano-Frankivsk Regional State Administration with heads of secondary schools and educational centers of OTG, Ivano-Frankivsk Regional Institute of Postgraduate Pedagogical Education teachers.
It will be recalled that the meeting was devoted to promoting the development of the general secondary education system and improving the educational process in accordance with the tasks of the Advisory Council for the Development of the General Secondary Education System established under the President of Ukraine on February 16, 2021.
The usual classroom approach in the study of natural sciences is morally outdated
Thus, according to Professor, Dean of the Faculty of Physics and Technology of the Precarpathian National University Ivan Gasyuk, on average, each freelancer who trains specialists in the specialty “Secondary education. Physics “recruits very few students. There are educational institutions that recruit 2-3 students. Some pedagogical universities – none. In PNU, the situation against this background is not the worst – 6-8 entrants come here for this specialty. Moreover, almost 100% of all are employed in the specialty. Another thing is that school principals cannot offer them a decent salary, and some of them are looking for jobs with higher salaries.
“Such a terrible shortage of specialists is observed in several specialties: physics, chemistry, partly biology, less – mathematics. There are far fewer graduates of schools capable of pursuing these specialties. With the rapid development of the IT industry and high salaries there, we have an outflow of entrants in natural sciences, “says Ivan Gasyuk.
Therefore, today, says Professor Gasyuk, the issue of developing methods for forming a positive attitude to the subject in general is acute. After all, for each of us, the teacher was decisive in choosing a profession and specialty for admission. Therefore, the Faculty of Physics and Technology organizes excursions for students, invites teachers for joint meetings. However, according to Professor Gasyuk, these efforts need to be intensified and systematized.
“It’s about the national technology of children’s interest in the study of natural sciences. Proper implementation, understanding of the latest technologies in the world, including stem technologies. Most teachers today understand stem technology as the use of gadgets and interactive whiteboards. In the case of the natural sciences, experiment should play not the least role. It is necessary to teach the student to conduct such experiments independently, to create the latest theories of didactics and to link them to the disciplines of the natural-mathematical cycle.The usual classroom approach in the study of natural sciences is morally outdated. And can be used only as one of the elements of learning. It is necessary to apply the latest approaches in pedagogy, teaching methods. The child should be taught not the nominal material, but how to find information. And how to use it correctly, ”explains Ivan Gasyuk.
He also notes that, first of all, it is necessary to monitor all factors of influence, aspects of what can be improved, and where to move the education system to improve the situation. Professor Gasyuk proposes to develop a project that would aim to study the state of teaching cycles of natural sciences and mathematics in schools – from the material and technical base of each school, the competence of teachers, children’s competence, interaction of educational institutions of applied nature, psychological aspects. And the Faculty of Physics and Technology of PNU is ready to join this work.
We have a lot of talented and promising teachers
The fact that children do not choose natural subjects in the future depends on the teacher, convinced associate professor of environmental chemistry and chemical education at the Precarpathian National University Lilia Midak.
Teachers at the school have heard about the need to introduce innovations, the latest technologies, but no one knows how and what technologies to implement, where to take them. The teacher has to do it himself. And not every teacher, says Lilia Midak, is ready for such changes.
“We have a lot of talented and promising teachers, we train teachers of a new generation, a new generation. But the role of the administration is not to say “you have to innovate.” We need to show them the way to this implementation, “says Lilia Midak.
Not the last role here is given to professional development of teachers. In our region, says Lilia Midak, we have talented teachers who win competitions, have something to share, have achievements. At the same time, teachers from other fields share their experience with our teachers at the Institute of Postgraduate Education. And our teachers teach educators outside the Ivano-Frankivsk region.
Very few children are able to think logically
At one time, the number of math classes in Ukraine was reduced. As a result, today very few children are able to think logically, most show low results during the external evaluation, – says the teacher of mathematics of the Yablunsky lyceum of Solotvyno OTG Oleksandra Smetanyuk.
The teacher claims that the situation is critical. There is no serious motivation of students to study and choose a profession.
“Students do not see their future with mathematics. Knowledge is served at a breakneck pace. The number of hours was negligible. There are problems with teaching mathematics in high school. The results of this year’s external evaluation will probably show an even more critical state of the situation. Today, the world’s leading countries, in addition to focusing on students’ math skills, spend more time in math curricula on creative tasks of applied content to motivate and interest students. We only submit material, and in senior classes students focus on tutoring only in order to pass the external examination, “said Oleksandra Smetanyuk.
The teacher also says that the technical support of rural schools should be improved, as closer to the center the schools are better equipped, and some rural schools do not have quality internet, projectors, boards, computers.
A good platform for solving the problems of secondary general education
The financial issue after the administrative-territorial reform is very painful for local educational institutions. Another feature of our region is that almost 40% of its secondary schools are located in the highlands: 219 institutions. Almost a third of students study there. The most important issue here is the functioning of boarding schools. Or, as it would be more appropriate to call them, boarding houses. In mountainous areas, when weather conditions are unfavorable and access to mountain settlements is often limited, these institutions serve as temporary student accommodation.
Today they are financed from local budgets, but we have to ask the question that they should be financed and maintained by the educational subvention, – says the director of the Department of Education, Science and Youth Policy of Ivano-Frankivsk Regional State Administration Viktor Kimakovych.
Therefore, the establishment of such a body as the Advisory Board, according to the official, is a good platform for solving the problems of general secondary education at the state and local levels.
What will be possible will be decided by the efforts of local authorities. However, many issues will still need to be taken to the next level. And the fact that the region has a representative there in the person of the rector of PNU is very important.
If we talk about personnel issues, they are no less painful.
“50% of computer science teachers in the region teach computer science, but they are not computer scientists.
These are mathematicians, physicists, teachers of other disciplines. And we as a state must be competitive in a dynamic world. The same goes for biology. Only 7% of school graduates go to study in the natural field. This could lead to Ukraine having big problems not only with teachers but also with specialists. And the potential of PNU in this aspect is invaluable. What is worth only the International Research Center “Observatory”. This indicates that the natural education field in Ukraine has prospects, “said the head of the Department.
PNU can offer Ukraine a unique model
This is a truly unique model, continues the opinion of Viktor Kimakovych, the rector of PNU Igor Tsependa. This year, the Precarpathian University together with the University of Warsaw is completing the restoration of the astronomical observatory on Mount Pip Ivan, on the basis of which the International Research Center “Observatory” will be established. Here, says the rector of PNU, it will be possible to arrange an interesting platform for gifted children and their teachers for joint research of young people and scientists of PNU and European universities in order for students to love and understand natural sciences.
“We want to give a part of this center to students. Another venue that can be used is the International Meeting Center for Student Youth of Ukraine and Poland in Mykulychyn. There will be a huge IT hub for decision-making by young people, where they can realize themselves. This is another platform that will allow us to form a broader outlook of our students and enter a completely different educational space using this model. And, of course, physical education, without which there will be no full-fledged personality, “the rector of PNU emphasized.
“We want to give a part of this center to students. Another venue that can be used is the International Meeting Center for Student Youth of Ukraine and Poland in Mykulychyn. There will be a huge IT hub for decision-making by young people, where They can realize themselves.This is another platform that will allow us to form a broader outlook of our students and enter a completely different educational space using this model.And, of course, physical education, without which there will be no full-fledged personality , “the rector of PNU emphasized.
Thus, Igor Tsependa assures, PNU is ready to provide the maximum help. After all, the university has preserved a number of educational programs “Secondary Education”, and this is the long-term experience of the university since the time when it was a pedagogical institute. On the other hand, the university is able to quickly expand and deepen the methodology, because the changes that are taking place in the educational space today require a lightning response. From next week, PNU will offer its speakers and is ready to start a substantive conversation.
“We can make quite interesting pilot projects that will become a model for Ukraine. In this regard, the potential of our region is invaluable, – said Igor Tsependa.
As a result of the first working meeting, it was also stated that it is necessary to create working groups on subject cycles, where educators could develop first simple and then more complex methods in those subjects that are important and need attention.