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Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty
Henry M. Robert

“This is the best Ukrainian school in the EU”..

The Day’s journalist attended the last bell in Ukrainian school in Riga, where the pupils are mostly Russians and Latvians
21 May, 2014 - 17:46

“Don’t cry, everything will be okay,” says the principal of the school to a Ukrainian mother, who came to learn about the studying conditions in the school, “We have good conditions. We love children like ours. We understand your situation.”

During the long conversation about the situation in Ukraine, education, and desire to live in peace, the Kyivite could not help crying. She has three children, including a boy who is in the eighth form. Her family decided to leave for Latvia, however, the decision is not final. The Ukrainian school in Riga became one of the first places the Ukrainian mom visited while she was staying there.

According to the principal of the school, Lidia Kravchenko, the number of such mothers has grown these days, which is understandable, because everyone wants to live in peace. But most of the pupils are not children of immigrants, they are Latvians and Russians. Ukrainians are outnumbered here. At the same time everyone who studies here learns the Ukrainian language, culture, and history. The principal of the school speaks Ukrainian and shows to children with her example what they should aspire to. The director underlines that studying in the school is individually oriented.

THE LIBRARY OF THE SCHOOL COUNTS FOR 17,000 BOOKS

Lidia Kravchenko founded the school back in the late 1980s. However, those were Sunday courses. The number of the people who wanted to study here increased, and later the first form was organized. Now the school has 12 full-fledged forms and a pre-school group. This makes a total of 250 pupils. The way the Ukrainian school has covered was not simple. But the teachers are ready to do everything for their institution to continue its work and develop.

The section of Ukrainian language, literature, and history is based on a special program: the studies are based on Ukrainian textbooks, but according to EU standards. The teachers develop programs and test them at the Ministry of Education of Latvia. “Latvians learn Ukrainian very fast. Even better than Russians. You will hear their pronunciation. Ukrainians learn Latvian equally easily,” Lidia Kravchenko says.

LIDIA KRAVCHENKO: STUDYING IN OUR SCHOOL IS INDIVIDUALLY ORIENTED

The principal emphasizes that the studying in the school is based on Riga educational programs and best examples of Ukrainian schools of the world. Today the school is one of the best in Riga. This refers not only to the level of studies, but material-technical base as well. Only one library here counts for 17,000 book titles. The children have Skype seminars with leading Ukrainian teachers and scientists.

“We support all the national minorities. The Ukrainians who reside in Riga are an important part of our society, a very active part of it. At the beginning the building of the school was not in the best condition. Therefore when we came to power, we decided to help. Today the Riga Ukrainian school is probably the best and the most modern school in the countries of the European Union,” the mayor of Riga Nil Ushakov says.

GRADUATES OF THE SCHOOL ARE LEADING EUROPEAN DOCTORS, WORKERS IN THE SPHERE OF INFORMATION, AND ECONOMISTS

He was one of those who supported the school and gave it an opportunity to develop.

Last Friday the educational establishment held a graduation ceremony. Parents, pupils, teachers, and guests gathered at the events hall. The event started with two anthems, Latvian and Ukrainian. That was the moment when children and their parents, teachers, rose to their feet and sang both state anthems. The event ended with the anthem of the school. Some people wore embroidered shirts, others – school uniforms; the graduates were wearing festive clothes. This is a symbiosis of national, traditional, and modern things.

“My son is graduating from the ninth form. We are very glad that he studied namely in this establishment. However, we have to change the school because of place of residence,” Svitlana says. She was born in Riga and did not regret for a moment that she sent her son to study namely here. She says that there is a good attitude to children and a high level of knowledge.

“I came to this school at the fourth form. I am not a Ukrainian, but it does not matter. It was very pleasant to study here, with these people. I am sure I will miss my school,” a graduate of the 12th form Alika comments.

According to tradition, people here write messages to the future and send them to the sky. Most of the graduates have not decided about their life path. However, they are 100 percent sure that the Ukrainian school has given them knowledge and faith in people.

By Kateryna YAKOVLENKO, photos by Mykola TYMCHENKO, The Day, Kyiv – Riga
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