What kind is magistra – is such and vita. That is why we do our very best to make history useful and interesting, and most importantly - not harmful.
This year DVV International Ukraine, together with the Association of Teachers "Nova Doba" with the support of German Foreign Ministry, conducted history competitions for school students. The idea behind the competition was to keep the youngsters away from the official narratives of the national history and to make them work with historical sources on their own.
Our office suggested history teachers and their pupils to think about how history researches could be used to develop the communities where they live.
Quite different ways had been chosen. Some participants wrote a satirical city guide, some made a traveling exhibition designed to show the multi-ethnic past of Kropivnitsky city, some - thorough research about origin of the name of the town of Hlobyno.
On October 26, within the framework of the German Weeks in Ukraine, we gathered teachers involved into the project to discuss how the supported initiatives were moving
At the round table, there was a discussion about whether it had been useful for the initiatives to be supported by DVV International Ukraine; how local communities had been involved in these initiatives; what had been achieved so far and what hadn't.
Victoria Lomaka from Sumy, together with her students, created an online museum dedicated to mosaics of the Soviet period. "Unfortunately, these mosaic are now disappearing," she says, 'so the museum, where everyone could see them, was needed." Participants of the competition bypassed the whole city, photographing mosaics, and then spent a lot of time in libraries, collecting information about each location. Now everyone can go on an online tour - just go through the link.
In Melitopol, a team of students, along with a teacher Natalia Dzhanova, prepared an online quest about the history of the Melitopol Mound - a landmark that was "unjustly forgotten" - as the participants say. The team even attempted to apply for funding from the local authorities to perpetuate the researchers of the mound, but this year their project was not supported. "This is an important part of our local history. Moreover, restoring the memory about the mound can help attract tourists, " - Natalia says.
Simply titanic work is carried out by a team of students tutoring by Taras Shulga in the city of Kamianske. Under the slogan "Livings need this", they are creating a book of memory of the soldiers who perished on the territory of the city during the Second World War (Great Patriotic War). In addition, the participants draw attention of the public and local authorities to the war graves. "We must keep their names; these are the names that we have no right to forget," – Taras says.
After the discussion, the participants had an opportunity to talk with well-known historian Georgy Kasyanov about school history, textbooks and politics of history. In particular, they talked about how history can form harmful stereotypes in young people and how to deal with it. "What kind is magistra – is such and vita", - says Georgiy, commenting on how school history influences the formation of youth.
Generaly speaking, work is in full swing. The supported initiatives will be completed in late November. Therefore, we will prepare a short reference edition of their results.