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No school uniform, bullying, bad-tasting meal: Guide to 1st grade of Kyiv schools

Author : Olena Holubeva

Source : 112 Ukraine

This year, 430 community secondary schools of Kyiv will open their doors for 32,828 first-graders
13:02, 29 August 2019

Open source

This year, 430 community secondary schools of Kyiv will open their doors for 32,828 first-graders, who were first enrolled not by competition, but based on residence (city district). The celebratory assembly will take place not traditionally on September 1, but on Monday, on September 2. Ukrainian schoolchildren should prepare for innovations: from the abolition of compulsory school uniforms to changes in the school meal system. We have learned what parents of first-graders should prepare for and what to look for.

School celebratory assemblies will be held on September 2

Training sessions in all Kyiv schools will begin with the First bell holiday on September 2, Monday. The format of the school holiday is determined independently; said Deputy Head of the Kyiv City Administration Valentyn Mondrievsky. And if last year LEGO designers gave gifts to schoolchildren, this year there will be no gifts. However, the principle of education in the first grade will not change, and complex mathematical calculations with home tasks will not return.

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Days of school uniform are over

The question of what to wear a child this year should not be acute for either the parents of first-graders or the families of high school students. President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky canceled Decree No. 417/96 of June 12, 1996 "On school uniforms for students of secondary educational institutions." Earlier, a petition was posted on the president’s website demanding the abolition of compulsory school uniforms as a discriminatory measure. In particular, its text noted that initially the decree of President Leonid Kuchma was adopted in order to provide children with an inexpensive school uniform, and socially vulnerable sections of the population should have received it for free. In fact, this did not happen. On the contrary, school uniforms were more expensive than items of ordinary casual clothes for children.

Despite this, individual schools continue to demand the wearing of a school uniform of a certain type, referring to their own local school charters.

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The school provides textbooks, not the stationery

Kyiv schools are fully provided with the textbooks; parents do not need to buy them, Valentyn Mondrievsky assured. The Kyiv City State Administration specified that parents should purchase notebooks and stationery themselves. To be frank, the prices for the stationery are quite affordable.

Parents frequently ask about “cash grab,” in particular for repairs in the classrooms. Kyiv City Administration assures that local authorities allocate more educational funds than any other Ukrainian cities do.

Meals in school canteens should become better

As far back as last year, Kyiv City Administration officials were seriously concerned about the problem of nutrition in the city schools. As reported, despite the fact that hundreds of thousands of hryvnias are allocated annually from the city budget, the quality of food at Kyiv schools is quite poor. Periodically, there have been cases of food poisoning of children just in their schools. At the same time, in some cases, parents did not ask for help, because they were afraid that the school administration would take revenge by giving children undeservedly low grades.

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Most of the catering facilities of Kyiv schools and kindergartens worked "for the trash can." They served untasty food that the children simply did not want to eat. At the same time, there are frequent cases when teachers and school administration representatives, in order not to spoil the statistics, forced the children to eat a full portion. Free meals at schools are provided to all students in grades 1-4, as well as students, who have social benefits, in grades 5-11.

It is important that from September 20, utilities and private enterprises providing catering services in schools and kindergartens of Kyiv should introduce a system of a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points.

Bullying and fighting

In conversations with 112.ua, psychologists advised parents of first-graders to be mentally prepared for the fact that in schools that were forced to form classes on a territorial basis, the child could be in a team of children from different social clusters, with a different level of preschool training and life experience. For this reason, most likely, bullying, fights, and conflicts, at least in the early stages, cannot be avoided. A child can experience bullying and various forms of pressure not only from the same age group but also from teachers of the old “Soviet school” who stubbornly do not want to change to the requirements of the New Ukrainian School.

According to the Ministry of Education and Science, at least 14% of schoolchildren have encountered bullying and authoritarianism among teachers. However, according to a UNICEF Ukraine poll, half of the Ukrainian schoolchildren become victims of bullying at school.

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Interestingly, no one seems to have clear recipes on what to do, in addition to not letting the situation drift. “In order to create psychological comfort for children at school, we engage psychologists. They, together with class teachers, study the atmosphere in children's groups to avoid bullying. Moreover, both children and teachers were instructed, "said Valentyn Mondrievsky in a commentary for 112.ua.

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