Why is it Important to Support Higher Education in Ukraine?

In the third and final article that is seeking to answer the question “Why is it important to support higher education in Ukraine”, professor Olena Malenko highlights both social and intellectual aspects of higher education.

A strange question, I thought, as I grew up in the absolute values of education, especially higher education. In addition, although my parents, who were Kharkiv employees, did not have it, the value of education in our family was very high. This was confirmed by numerous books, especially Ukrainian and world literature, subscription newspapers and magazines, and family and friendly communication, where we discussed complex and interesting issues of history, culture, and science. Moreover, my father’s phrase, addressed to my younger brother and me, “Study, or you will become janitors”, always frightened me (as well as my brother) with such a bleak prospect.

Therefore, consciously and organically for our own nature, we went to study. I went to Kharkiv University, to the Faculty of Philology, because I dreamed of being a teacher. My brother (an artist by profession) went to a construction college, and then to a professional university. Our father’s instruction nourishes me to this day: to learn, to develop, to improve. And university became for me a start in this aspiration of knowledge and development.

“And what is this higher education, actually? What does it give? A ‘C’ student can become a millionaire without higher education”: I have heard this phrase from acquaintances and complete strangers so many times. I understand that here the pathos and the mundane come into opposition: Education as an understanding of the power of knowledge, its value, firstly, intellectual and spiritual, it is movement forward, it is dynamics, development; instead, the ordinariness in its instincts of physical life, full and calm, is static. Yes, you can get an education (that is, knowledge) on your own – without leaving home, using Internet content and Google’s limitless annals! Yes… but…

Here we must emphasise the concepts of social and antisocial. Social is always a wide space of your opportunities; it is risks and challenges; it is the drive of life. In fact, university is a social and intellectual drive: the formation of your analytical and critical thinking in class discussions; the excitement of your brain when the teacher poses a problem to solve, and you overcome all the ways to find the truth; it is your right to your own opinion in controversial dialogues when experience and the eternal syndrome of youthful maximalism collide. This is communication, which today is recognised as an important factor in the ordering of social life. This is a test of oneself in society.

Yes, we have a certain exit from the comfort zone. It is easier to live simply. However, the world is created in such a way that there is more social than antisocial in it. And there is more intellectual than stupid and limited. We see this now, when a Smart Human (mostly with a higher education) defeats an uneducated person who is not capable of mental reflection. Ukraine must be strong – not only with weapons, but also with the mind. The mind is rationality, analysis and synthesis, the ability to plan and predict. At the same time, the mind is also emotional intelligence, the ability to be a human and profess humanistic values, remembering the historical experience of the eternal confrontation between good and evil.

Therefore, what can be the question be regarding higher education in Ukraine? For Ukrainians, such a question does not arise. Education will save Ukraine. It will save the world.

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“Why is it Important to Support Higher Education in Ukraine?”

"Why is it Important to Support Higher Education in Ukraine?"

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