Political scientist Krzysztof Mrozek (Poland) makes reflecsions of the final of Studrespulika-2017: ‘at the end of the day, the modernisation or new industrialisation is not for the state as political entity, it is for the people. Therefore, visions of artificial intelligence or full mechanisation of industry, although interesting, cannot ignore the impact on the society’.
Traditionally, foreign guests have taken part in the final of International program ‘Student Republic 2017’. Krzysztof Mrozek, political scientist, project coordinator at The Stefan Batory Foundation, the leading NGO in Poland, took role of an expert in the organizational activity game, judged sub-fests and got along with participants. Position of the intellectual from EU is ready for your attention.
‘Education, the key factor of the new industrialisation of Ukraine’ – the topic of this year’s final’s Studrespublika was neither easy nor narrow. What kind of education? Primary school education? Higher education? Vocational education? And what do we mean by the new industrialisation? Is it just re-industrialisation or much more? Innovation, modernisation?
This were the most important questions one could ask having learnt about the topic to be discussed at Studrespublika 2017 in Ochakiv. And, in fact, they were asked many times by nearly 500 participants, dozens of experts and organising staff. In the course of this 4-day long meeting, multiple answers were proposed and discussed in the format of a game, in which representatives of working groups were drafting their visions of the future of Ukraine.
As a foreigner (however, from the country with good and intensive ties with Ukraine), non-Ukrainian speaker and a person not specialised directly in the field of education, every now and again I had hard time understanding some concepts provided by the participants. On the other hand, though, I had the unique opportunity to observe the discussion and the game as such from the outside.
A lecture, or workshop, if you will, provided by me was on the role of education in sharing of what is commonly referred to as ‘European values’. And their impact on modernisation. My initial observations were that: (1) participants do not agree with me on the importance of democratic, European values in the education system, rather focus on ‘hard skills’ directly applicable in the future professional life. (2) Participants tend to look at the ‘new industrialisation’ from the purely technical perspective. First working groups proposals referring to the future of Ukraine and desired path of modernisation discussed re-establishment of the missile/space rocket industry, colonisation of the Moon or even Mars (!) and so on. With several other experts we highlighted to the participants the importance of the human and social factor. One’s happiness, well-being, personal development, along with people-to-people contacts, cannot be ignored or underestimated. Because, at the end of the day, the modernisation or new industrialisation is not for the state as political entity, it is for the people. Therefore visions of artificial intelligence or full mechanisation of industry, although interesting, cannot ignore the impact on the society.
After several remarks on the importance of social scope in the discussion made at the plenary sessions and lectures (electives) given by the experts, the attitude of participants started to change. And at the last day’s discussions one could see, that there is no serious proposal in any field of education and modernisation that ignores or undervalues interests of the people.
When it comes to the human or social aspect, the role of commonly shared values becomes even more important. Pursuing this thought, I proposed to change my lecture’s format into workshop and in practical manner look for the solutions to make education-for-values interesting and effective for students. We, together with participants, browsed through our smartphones in the search for apps useful in implementing civic projects and exchanging of values. We discussed the role of public education system and complementing role of the civil society institutions in the education process. In the end, I suppose, we all agreed upon the conclusion, that only self-conscious, well-educated and sharing basic democratic values citizens can build a modernised country. The modern Ukraine.