The formal and the informal: exploring 'Ukrainian' education in Ukraine, scenes from Odessa

Abel Polese

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The collapse of the Communist bloc in 1989 and then of the Soviet Union in 1991 has presented unique challenges to the educational systems in place during socialist times, and the ensuing transition in Ukraine is no exception. The introduction of Ukrainian as the sole state language when a high number of citizens still prefer to use Russian has generated some interesting paradoxes to explore. This paper surveys the diffusion of Ukrainian-medium education in Odessa, a city of one million people in the south of the country. The introduction of Ukrainian as the language of instruction in schools was a result of a nation-building project when the country gained independence in 1991. This gave way to a peculiar contradiction: whilst all Ukrainian schools are supposed to use Ukrainian as the sole means of teaching, including Ukrainian textbooks, a number of schools have adopted unofficially a dual-language approach. Thus Ukrainian functions as the language for all written communication while Russian is used for communication among students and teachers in formal and informal contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-62
Number of pages16
JournalComparative Education
Volume46
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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