The Day learnt about this from Kyiv resident Natalia Katrychenko, who has recently visited a wholesale store in the capital district of Pertivka. It will be reminded that in 2012 our newspaper has already reported about the sale of exercise books in the series “Glamorous Tyrants” in one of Kyiv’s bookstores: the covers feature portraits of Lenin and Stalin, among others. We addressed the producers and sellers of this produce. It will be recalled that Serhii Oleinykov, commercial director of Kompaniia TOP entreprise, exclusive distributor of Polisvit Limited Liability Company (Alt Limited Liability Company is a partner of Kompaniia TOP), then replied quite confidently: “What do you dislike about these covers? Those are well-known historical personalities. Whether they were good or bad, people can make different judgments. This production is mostly used by children: there is nothing bad for them to know history, some dates and actions of these leaders. What’s wrong about it?” So, he was not confused at all about the way of presentng history.
This year the situation practically repeats itself. Exercise books from the series “Great Names of Russia” are on sale on school supplies markets. The exercise books have high-quality covers, with lettering, and look quite attractive. However, this series offer for students learn not only about such outstanding figures as Gagarin, Tupolev, Rachmaninoff, Lomonosov, but also Catherine II, Stolypin, Lenin, and Stalin. It was the exercise book with Stalin’s portrait that caught Natalia Katrychenko’s eye. The second page of the cover shows a reference about personalities with quite a contradictory content as well.
We again called Polisvit Limited, whose data as a producer are mentioned on the execrcise book, but this time there was no person eager to talk to us.
It will be reminded that the reply we received last August to our inquiry from the Ministry of Education and Science concerning the control of such production read: “School exercise books produced by Polisvit Limited have never been examined. It will be noted that in 2007 the obligatory certification of school specialty production was cancelled, and as a result a lot of uncertified products for children emerged on the market. Control of school specialty products coming to the open market, revealing of uncertified and counter-fact production on the market and reporting to ‘competent authorities,’ so that physical and legal persons involved in manufacturing these products were called to account according to current legislation, does not lie within the competence of the Ministry of Education.” These are the words of the official letter sent by the Institute of Innovative Technologies and Content of Education with the Ministry of Education, signed by its director Oleksandr Udod. It was then that the ministry reported that it sent the proposals to include the school specialty products, including school exercise books, to products that must obligatorily be certified in Ukraine for approval to corresponding state bodies. The Day again sent an inquiry to the Ministry of Education whether the abovementioned changes have taken place. We have also asked the head of VR commmittee on the questions of science and education Lilia Hrynevych.
By the way, due to blocking of Ukrainian export by the Russian side, since Thursday many people have been calling on social networks not to buy Russian production and give preference to the Ukrainian one instead. Should home saboteurs be put on this list?
Lilia HRYNEVYCH, head of Verkhovna Rada committee on the questions of science and education:
“All the materials used in educational institutions must be certified both in terms of sanitary standards, and part of content. If an exercise book or any other product popularizes contradictory or anti-Ukrainian historical persionalites, there is no doubt that they must not be used in educational establishments. The Ministry of Education and Science, via its subordinate Institute of Innovative Technologies and Content of Education, controls the content of educational materials by issuing a visa. They must response, why such things are taking place today and why such exercise books or any other production can be used in educational institutions.
“If they don’t control this process, they should incorporate changes into the list of educational materials which require permission to be used in the educational process. Therefore, if it took place last year, it is quite a surprise that the Ministry of Education has not implemented these changes. If an exercise book brings some kind of content, this content must be controlled.
“In fact, the system of issuing visas these days is quite corrupted, for example, in part of text books and educational materials. However, another part of the market of various production which later gets into educational institutions is hardly controlled at all in terms of content. The ministry needs, on the one hand, to improve the list of materials that require permission, and on ther other hand, make the process of getting permission considerably more transparent than today.
“In most of civilized countries it is done in such a way that the permission for using the materials in educational process is issued by an institution that does not depend on the ministry. This is an expert institution which is responsible for allowing the materials to be part of the studying process and includes many so-called ‘shadow’ experts who cannot be bribed, because nobody knows their names. The producers of materials that bring a kind of educational content (which is present in this case) must submit the samples to the institution. Experts will write a conclusion, according to which the institution will either allow it to be used in educational establishments or not.”