Skip to Content

“As the war shows, education is a good tool for countering propaganda. Education should promote the values of peace, democracy, love and mutual respect,” says Mykata Andreev, Executive Director of the Ukrainian Adult Education Association. Photo: Mykyta Andreev.

New perspectives

Ukraine’s adult education looks to the future

Authors: Katja Pantzar Published:

“As the war shows, education is a good tool for countering propaganda. Education should promote the values of peace, democracy, love and mutual respect,” says Mykata Andreev, Executive Director of the Ukrainian Adult Education Association. Photo: Mykyta Andreev.

A current draft law on changing adult education is key to societal renewal in Ukraine – now and after the war – says Mykyta Andreev, Executive Director of the Ukrainian Adult Education Association.

When a country and its people are focused on daily survival during war, it may seem insensitive to inquire about educational planning for tomorrow.

Yet in Ukraine, societal renewal after the war is on the agenda at many levels.

“Everyone understands the importance of adult education during the war because almost the entire population is facing the need to urgently acquire new knowledge and skills,” says Mykyta Andreev, Executive Director of the Ukrainian Adult Education Association (UAEA).

“We are currently working on a draft law to change adult education in Ukraine,” says Andreev.

The draft law sets out a new framework for adult education, its organising principles and the rights and responsibilities of various stakeholders while introducing several significant changes to current legislation.

Everyone understands the importance of adult education during the war, because almost all are facing the need to urgently acquire new skills.

Changes include recognising non-formal education within the formal education system and offering the opportunity to obtain full educational qualifications based on the results of non-formal education. Previously, only professional or partial qualifications could be obtained in this way.

The draft law proposes that education providers be able to independently define the form – courses, training workshops, seminars, or internships, for example – and content of informal education based on professional standards and the needs of society and the economy.

“According to our regulations, any law is adopted in two stages. It’s interesting to note that the draft law was registered a few days before the Russian invasion and was adopted at the first stage already during the war at the beginning of 2023,” says Andreev, who is a human rights activist and lawyer. Andreev is also the chairman of the Public Council at the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine.

One of the goals of the draft law is to create the foundation for a transparent and free informal education market, a step in a new direction.

Another special feature of draft law is to allow local authorities to establish adult education centres, which some communities have already done, and provide out-of-school education for over 14-year-olds. The aim is to provide education that’s accessible and oriented to all groups of the population.

Future fields

“I think that Ukraine is and will be one of the leading countries in the fields of the defence industry, IT sector, and digitisation of public services and agricultural sector. Therefore, if we talk about the professional segment of adult education, these directions are and will be popular in the future,” says Andreev.

An equally important area of focus after the war will also be civic education for the adult population.

“Topics such as countering propaganda and disinformation, civic participation and democratisation, political education and the electoral process, financial and legal literacy will be at the top of the list. When the war ends, there will naturally be a need to increase the number of builders, architects, repairmen and engineers, so professional education of adults will be aimed at this,” says Andreev.

The current challenge is to cater to urgent needs during wartime.

“Now, much attention in education is paid to such things as First Aid and pre-medical training, preservation of mental health, basic military training, and professional retraining courses,” says Andreev. “And as before the war, language courses and computer and IT courses remain popular.”

Previously, more emphasis was placed on training aimed at individual self-realisation, whereas now more attention is being paid to security needs, health needs and income generation through retraining.

“Preference is now usually given to short-term training courses because we all need results here and now, and we cannot be sure what will happen in a year or more,” says Andreev. “Right now, those needs range from the skill of conducting a shooting battle to surviving in conditions with lack of light, and the ability to stay psychologically stable in conditions of daily shelling.”

Many people need to change their professional qualifications because they have lost their job and income and are looking for a new one.

When it comes to the bigger picture, Andreev says, “as the war shows, education is a good tool for countering propaganda. Education should promote the values of peace, democracy, love and mutual respect.”

Mykyta Andreev

  • Executive Director of the Ukrainian Adult Education Association
  • Chairman of the Public Council at the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine
  • A human rights activist and lawyer

Adult education in Ukraine now and then

Before the conflict, adult education in Ukraine had been making significant progress. The integration of adult education into the education system received a notable boost through Article 18, Adult Education, in Ukraine’s 2017 Law on Education. This article underscored the importance of adult education as a fundamental aspect of lifelong learning, aiming to ensure the right of every adult to continuous education based on individual needs, societal development goals, and economic requirements.

In response to these legal provisions, specialized institutions like adult education centres emerged, coalescing under the Ukrainian Association of Adult Education. These centres played a pivotal role in shaping and implementing formal, informal, and non-formal adult education programmes.

One of the steps towards professionalizing adult education was the introduction of the profession Andragogue, enshrined in the national classification of professions. Additionally, Ukrainian universities introduced master’s programs to train experts in adult education, complemented by short-term qualification programs in the field.

Text by Michael Sommer

What the UAEA does

The Ukrainian Adult Education Association (UAEA), founded in 2015, is a non-profit public association with activities throughout Ukraine. The UAEA’s purpose is the establishment and development of adult education in Ukraine and the formation of lifelong learning in society through education.

The UAEA:

  • participates in forming policies of adult education and lifelong learning education in Ukraine, including the drafting of legislative acts.
  • participates in drafting state concepts and adult education strategies in Ukraine and following through with their implementation.
  • provides advisory and methodical assistance in matters of adult education to association members and to the other organisations and is responsible for improving the process of training highly qualified specialists for the adult education system.
  • creates databases about adult education and distribution of the information in Ukraine and other countries.
Share the article

Authors

Katja Pantzar is a Helsinki-based freelance journalist and author of several books including The Finnish Way, a bestselling non-fiction book about Nordic wellbeing and resilience ("sisu"), which has been translated into 24 different languages. Show all articles by Katja Pantzar
Back to top