Rev. Marcin Tkaczyk (POL),
Catholic Formation During Communism
I will concentrate on the topics of (a) academic education in the communist zone after World War II, (b) totalitarian control over education by a communist state and its anthropological basis, (c) the catholic academic institution as “oasis of freedom” as well as “enemy of the state,” and (d) describe an academic manifesto peculiar to the catholic institutions. I also ask a question of the contemporary role of catholic education from the historical point of view put forward.
Dr. Oleh Turiy (UKR),
Educational Experience of the Clandestine Church
The history of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC) during 1946-1989 is known as a period of the Clandestine Church. It was a period when this Church was regarded by the Soviet regime as non-existent, after all its bishops and a lot of clergy, religious, and laity were arrested, its educational, charitable and social institutions were closed, and its churches and other property were confiscated. In the Soviet Union, the school was separated from the Church and atheism was a predominant ideology inculcated to children in schools. Children and youth were exposed to heavy communist indoctrination through various ideological organizations with quasi-compulsory membership. Nevertheless, in the second half of the 1980s, a mass movement for the legalization of the UGCC proved that this Church successfully survived through three generations. Religious education played an important role in passing on faith and knowledge in the underground. It unfolded on different levels, from “home churches” to youth meetings and even “underground seminaries” for future priests. This paper explores in more detail the educational experience of the Clandestine Church.
Dr. Kinga Földváry (HUN),
Freedom of Thought for Youth in the ‘Merriest Barrack’
Since I belong to the generation that was born and raised under communism, educated during the years of transition from an authoritarian regime to a parliamentary democracy, and who started our adult lives in the new world of political and economic freedom, my paper will inevitably rely on my personal experience. I have also been brought up in a Catholic family, who practised their religion even during the decades of communism, therefore freedom of thought and conscience seems to be an appropriate angle from which I can attempt to approach the experiences of young people like myself before, during and after the years of transition. It is true that Hungary was often described as the “merriest barrack in the communist camp”, and particularly in the late 1970s and 1980s people like our family, who were not in the limelight, not aspiring for promotion to positions of leadership, nor accumulating spectacular wealth, were no longer in any particular danger – and yet, I believe that even in this merry barrack, where life went on in a cheerful and mostly comfortable way, even children of my generation could not escape feelings of fear and intimidation which can directly be connected to the limitations of freedom of thought characterising the era. In my – undoubtedly personal and subjective – memory, these feelings mostly take the form of silence and secrecy, of things unsaid, experiences unshared, feelings unexpressed. However mild these limitations may seem in comparison with the actual physical dangers of loss of life, liberty, property, or reputation that citizens of other communist countries or Hungarians in earlier decades had to suffer on a daily basis, I still believe that these “mildly suppressed” fundamental human rights left indelible marks on our generation, our thinking and our understanding of our place in society and the world, as I will illustrate in my paper.
Rector Dijana Vican (CRO),
The Educational System in the Vortex of Social and Cultural Values, Traditions, and Contemporary Demands
By accepting democracy, human rights, children’s rights, tolerance, freedom and other social values, Croatian education system at pretertiary level turns into a platform for political reform, instead of becoming a starting point of systemic changes. At the same time, the uncritical acceptance of contemporary demand, such as lifelong learning and inclusive education concepts make the system reform even more turbulent. Regarding the reform objectives, the fact remains that growing up of children and young people and their development and education are subject to certain laws of development, and the main carriers of educational activities, especially family and teachers, turn into weak and powerless entities, instead of the most positive and most powerful links upbringing and education.
Dr. Taras Dobko (UKR),
Coping with Transition: Advocating Academic Autonomy, Integrity and Excellence
Since 1991, as Ukraine became independent, Ukrainian education is still on the move. During the transition, the government and expert community naturally focused on providing a new legal framework and changing the formal rules of the game. But it turned out that the reform could not be reduced to fixing technical side of the matter. “Laws without morals are useless.” The main challenge for the educational reform is of cultural character. New laws and other regulations aimed at far-reaching transformation of the Ukrainian system of education were compromised by reluctance and resistance at their implementation within academic community at large. In my presentation, I would like to point out three areas of value change in higher education which are of paramount importance for the success of reforms in the post-communist context. The advocacy for university autonomy, academic integrity and culture of excellence aimed at undermining old habits of paternalism, bureaucratization, irresponsibility, opportunism and nativism rampant in the post-Soviet academia. Together with the emergence of new alternative educational institutions and civil society initiatives that set new standards for the most important areas of Ukraine’s education in the new legal context, these efforts at cultural transformation provide a sign of hope for the new start of the Ukrainian higher education and its new appeal in the international context.
Rev. František Trstenský (SVK),
Hopes and Delusions: Education in Times of Transition in Slovakia
In the first years after the fall of communism, Slovakia focused on economic reforms and changes of the legal system. Education was left aside because at that time it seemed that it represented a system that worked and did not need major changes. It took several years to this deceptive feeling began to change. An initiative came not only from people with experience of studying abroad, but mainly from domestic non-school environment: business companies and economic institutions that have undergone a change. They changed the way of management, procedures and client orientation. Education represented an old world of rules, which have not worked elsewhere and have failed to respond to the demands of society. The companies did not want to waste time waiting for a reform in education and started retraining of alumni at their own expenses. Slovak society has started louder and louder to talk about the need of school reform in all its levels: primary, secondary and higher education. It meant also to speak about the reform of the contents of teaching. The first, however, it must be said that the obvious and inevitable change that resulted from the collapse of totalitarianism, was the emergence of private and church schools. Until 2008, Slovakia was governed by the education principles established back in 1984. Only in 2008 was adopted a new education enactment, which brought some innovations: the introduction of school self-government, self management of schools, choice of school by parents etc. Reform of education in Slovakia has suffered from instability. Since the fall of the totalitarian regime, i.e. for twenty-eight years, Slovakia has had eighteen Ministers of Education. There is no lack of good will, but lack of vision. And therefore new initiatives were introduced; the debate about the need of education reform has been no longer the prerogative of only professional circles, but the wider public. My lecture will focus on the main stages of transition in education, difficulties which Slovakia has passed, and the challenges that lie ahead.
Rev. Bogusław Migut (POL),
Scouting in Poland, Before and After Communism
The book Scouting for Boys by Lord Baden-Powell (London 1908) contains main principles of the scout method. Another basis of the scout method and of the scout movement is his book Rovering to Success (London 1922). This book is kind of a guide and a bridge from the childhood to the maturity. Scouting is the upbringing of the young by the young. The main unit is the patrol, and the most important person is the patrol leader. All scouting movements obey these principles. Fr. Jacques Sevin SJ (French), prof. Jean Corbisier (Belgian), the Earl Mario di Carpegna (Italian) were the founders of Catholic scouting. That way we have in Europe two models of the scouting: an Anglo-Saxon model and a Catholic model. The Polish scout movement was started in 1910. Initially the ideas of scouting were implemented by Andrzej Małkowski and his wife Olga. In 1918 was formed the Polish Scouting and Guiding Association (ZHP). The primary difference between most Scouting organizations and the Polish Harcerstwo was described by Andrzej Małkowski: Harcerstwo is Scouting plus independence. The Polish model belonged primarily to the Anglo-Saxon model. After the invasion of Poland in 1939, the members of the Scout Movement were branded criminals by Nazi Germany, who had executed many scouts and guides, but the Scout Movement carried on as a clandestine organization. The Soviet Union executed most of the Boy Scouts held at Ostashkov prison (1940). The wartime Scouts evolved into the
paramilitary Szare Szeregi (the Gray Ranks), cooperating with the Polish underground state and the Armia Krajowa (Home Army) resistance. The years 1944-1949 were a second period of conspiracy; scouting was organized in the underground by individual leaders. In 1949 a new Soviet Pioneer style organization the Scouts of the Working Youth of Poland (Scouting Organisation of the Association of Polish Youth – Organizacja Harcerska Związku Młodzieży Polskiej or ZMP-OH) was founded. In 1956 ZMP OH was transformed and renamed to ZHP. However the new ZHP did not consider itself as a continuation of the pre-war ZHP, but as a new organization (until 1980). After 1958 many pre-war instructors were removed from the new ZHP or marginalized, and the original oath, law, educational content and methods were changed. After pope John Paul II’s first pilgrimage to Poland (1979) some “non-conforming” scout leaders inside the ZHP created in August 1980 the Andrzej Małkowski Circle of Scout Instructors (KIHAM), with the objective to restore original Scout ideals. In 1989, after communism collapsed in Poland and a peaceful transformation began, many groups of scout leaders formed separate Scouting organizations: Scouting Association of the Republic ZHR, Scouts of Europe (Catholic model) or ZHP-1918. The scouting method is still being used for various educational purposes. It continues to be successful and proves to be effective for instance in the Catholic formation of young boys and girls.
Dr. Máté Botos (HUN),
The Quest for the Holy Grail: Making an Attempt to Create a New, Catholic and Conservative Elite in Hungary between 1989 and 2016
The whole structure of the Hungarian Catholic education was abolished in 1950 by the communist government. With the exception of 8 secondary schools (of 6505 institutions), there has been no primary and secondary school in the socialist republic in the hands of the catholic church. The Faculty of Theology has been cut off the state-owned Pázmány Péter University and became an independent Academy of Theology. It was only in 1992 that a handful of laymen initiated the foundation of a catholic
university. They proposed the re-unification of the ancient faculty with a newly founded faculty of humanities, conforming to the 1993 law on higher education. The old-new university took the name of its founder, Cardinal Péter Pázmány, the name being free since 1950 when the state university took the name of Loránd Eötvös. The new faculty moved to Piliscsaba in 1994 and the old military camp turned to a new university campus. The Catholic Church of Hungary, by the Great Chancellor supervised the formation of the university and has expressed its hope that it will be a home for a new, catholic and conservative elite. However, the higher education was mostly a matter of science, depending as much at the market as at the Bishop’s Conference. The educational program of the university had to reflect its catholicism but the question was whether the new generations of students are opting for the PPCU for this or for other reasons? Does religion and catholic tradition matter for them or they just support it as a necessary condition for they studies? A catholic pedagogy can be effective after the age of 18? Are the students loyal to the Catholic Church when finishing their studies? Will they become mostly conservatives thanks to the political and cultural socialization process during the study years? Despite of the critics of both conservative politicians and some representatives of the church hierarchy, the twenty-five years of impact the PPCU has left upon the contemporary Hungarian society is important. Probably not enough for some, but the catholic university has created a community of lower-middle class people, a small number of them working in the re-established Hungarian Catholic education system (more than 300 institutions in 2016) as professors, teachers or kindergarten teachers. The Holy Grail, the new elite which is able to sustain the Christian values, finally, has been found. It is too often presented as the new conservative elite because politics uses religious values for its own sake. But they are not. Both Catholicism and Conservatism represent for them different things politicians and bishops expects, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t the future of Hungarian Catholicism, and, with some reservations, of Conservatism.
Dr. Volodymyr Turchynovskyy (UKR),
Hope in the Future: From the Revolution of Dignity to Education of Dignity
What was so powerfully witnessed during the Revolution of Dignity was the emergence of a new modality of communication, which we might call a language of values. It was very spontaneously and beautifully born from the spirit and ethos of the solidarity of the Maidan community. The very name “Revolution of Dignity” aptly reflects our growing ability to communicate in a language which enables us to transcend the differences among ourselves not by simply ignoring them but rather by respectfully allowing them to unfold and enrich our dialog. One of the major achievements of the Revolution of Dignity is this. The Revolution has released the whole of Ukrainian society from any obligations entitled by its previous post-soviet social contract. By being released from the old social contract we have opened ourselves up for a design of a new social contract founded on the respect for human dignity and solidarity. When it comes to the future and the hope for the future, I am convinced that the Revolution of Dignity has taught us a powerful lesson which is well captured by saying: a free society is a moral achievement. The education should not only be receptive of this idea but it should think of itself as a critical player and, perhaps, the leading stakeholder in educating us for freedom. It should enable and inspire us for a kind of an achievement which a free society is. If looking beyond the Ukrainian experience, it is becoming increasingly evident that we need to develop a new vision for a rapidly changing world, that is to say, a vision for us humans as the global citizens of the 21st century. This is where the “Education of Dignity” comes to the fore as a rich concept which can encourage us for such new vision and empower to implement it.
Dr. Andrea Božeková (SVK),
An Awakened Interest: Slovakia On the Way Towards
a Good Education
The issue of education in Slovakia currently receives extensive attention not only from the academic world but also the general public. The Department of Education in March 2017 introduced a National programme for the development of education and training, which describes the almost seventy goals to be achieved in the field of education over the next ten years. The current Education Minister Peter Plavčan speaks of the „biggest reform of education that has ever been.“ This ambitious project, which responds not only to the absence of long-term vision and strategic concept of education system in Slovakia, but also to a teachers strike in 2016, pays attention to long-known problem that the government has not addressed the long-term: low salaries of excellent or beginning teachers, lack of interest of children on outdated method of teaching, inefficient memorization of curriculum, collective way of teaching, and inadequate technical equipment of schools. The aim of this paper is to answer the key issues of the current debate of education in Slovakia, namely: 1. what and how to teach, and 2. who should teach, and how to reward them for it. These issues will be discussed against the background of a critical evaluation of the National programme for the development of education and training. The good news is that interest in education in Slovakia, and even outside the school environment, begins more and more to awaken. Slovakia is at a place where it must ask what the education system should provide to ensure the country and her children a happy future. On the basis of past experience it can be assumed that the proposed changes will not always be easy to put into practice. However, to give up hope that we can have better and successful schools with satisfied teachers and happy students would take a step back — a step back that Slovakia, if it really wants to continue on its path to an education that aims not only to cultivate a reasonable mind but also the sensitive heart of each student, certainly cannot afford.
Dr. Gordan Črpič (CRO),
Attempts and Failures of Educational Reform in the Postcommunist Era in Croatia
This paper reflects on the reforms of Croatian education such as Croatian National Educational Standard project and the National Curriculum Framework. The author explains that the current paradigm of education reform cannot result in realistic changes to the benefit of the Croatian educational system without theoretical and practical reform assumptions. Thereby he underscores the importance of the social context in which specific educational changes takes place, and from which it is possible to address the general reform difficulties in the contemporary Croatian society. The trend of weakening trust in institutions among Croatian citizens is considered to be a key factor of the failure of various reforms, including those of education. From the current erosion of social capital author indicates difficulties for the general development of the Croatian society. The author further addresses the socio-political heritage in Croatia, stating that there has not been a systematic confrontation with the totalitarian system of values and traditions, especially in the work of institutions, which generates a national climate of institutional distrust. Within this context,
Croatian educational experimentations are born and declined. Finally, the potential directions for the development of the Croatian education system are proposed.
The author concludes that reform of the educational system requires social consensus about the needs and directions of its implementation, with the focus on realistic
reforming capacities of particular reform actors, primarily teachers, professors,
parents and pupils.
Rev. Sławomir Nowosad (POL),
Communism Is Gone, But the Debate About Man Continues
The Catholic vision of social life puts a particular emphasis on the human person who “is and ought to be the principle, the subject and the end of every social organization” (Gaudium et Spes, no. 25). This applies to the university, too. Consequently it is crucial that the human person is properly understood in his essence and vocation. Communism is one of those influential ideologies, which has deformed both man and society in a fundamental way. Its “anthropological error” (John Paul II) has recently evolved into an “anthropological revolution” (Benedict XVI). Thus over the recent decades the so-called new cultural model of the human being developed that can be characterized by radical individualism and subjectivism, religious indifference, nomadism, naturalism, a rejection of the concept of human nature as well as of human universal dignity etc. This has made John Paul II claim the debate about man is an ongoing process of which he often spoke not only in his papal teaching but also in his earlier publications while at KUL in Lublin. An integral and sound understanding of the human person he considered essential for social life in all its dimensions. This needs to be based on a proper philosophical reasoning but even more on a theological (Christological) foundation because only “Christ fully reveals man to man himself and makes his supreme calling clear” (Gaudium et Spes, no. 22). This integral anthropology comprises such distinctive features as the unity of the person (corpore et anima unus), openness to transcendence, freedom, an equal dignity of all and man’s social nature.