What has education meant to me?

By Yevheniia Kandyba. Yevheniia is 21 years old. She lives in Novoaidar, Ukraine. She is a student of Taras Shevchenko National University of Luhansk (Foreign Languages Department) and Volodymyr Dahl East Ukrainian National University (Philology Department).

Learning is the eye of mind. But how can we study or work during a conflict … during a war? I could not imagine that I would study in the war-time in Ukraine. I read books about World War II, watched documentary movies. I attended Basics of Life Safety classes at school as well as at the university, but any teacher did not make students ready to this vital problem. Now students are suffering from lack of knowledge and information. One may say the human life is topmost, but without education, degree and diploma people cannot do anything they want, they cannot work. Then, they have to survive.

When I was a pupil, I learned Basics of Life Safety. During the lesson the teacher was telling us about emergency procedures. My classmates and I wrote them attentively into our exercise books. We were told about fire, flood, electricity and traffic regulations, but no war or military operations. As for medical training we studied to apply a bandage and treat a wound. Common rules of conduct during military operations were missed. We had not learned them. Now, all the people in anti-terrorist operation zone are helpless. They do not know what they shall do.

Studying at the university I learned the same subject. Once again, the teacher did not tell us anything concerning war. Whoever would have thought it would happen in a peaceful Ukraine?

This year in spring, the military operation has started in the East of Ukraine. In December, watching TV and hearing the news about Maidan in Kyiv over the radio, I was distracted by people’s death. I did not consider more hard an act would repeat in Ukraine again and it would deal with my region, with my town, with my family. It began with Presidential Election 2014, when in a small urban-type settlement Novoaidar shooting started between the Ukrainian army and people from (so called) People’s Republics of Luhansk.

There was a time when my family and I had to hide ourselves in the basement. These three and a half month were awful. Now the Peace is signed between Ukraine and Russia. Nevertheless, the situation is still strained. Parents warily take their children to schools, students and teachers do not know the future of their universities and colleges. Some students without any misgivings go by a bus to the flash points through block posts at their own risk and peril.

I am studying at two universities at the same time. I am doing a Specialist’s and Master’s degrees. By the order of the Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine, these two Universities are moved to their affiliated branches, because many academic buildings were damaged. To promote and organize comfortable, well-appropriate and quality education the rectors decided to launch distance education via the Internet. Naturally, this academic year began out-of-time. Of course it is not alright, but it is better than nothing. Our teachers have already started to e-mail us and they send the assignments for students. On the one hand such way of work is nice, because one may time his or her syllabus, there appears to be more time for additional occupation and freelancing to get money during hard times. On the other hand I am not satisfied with this way of education, because it would be better to study subjects when a teacher is explaining new material. One may ask a worrying question at a lesson and get an answer immediately, but now to discover some information one should search it in the Internet, call or e-mail a teacher, and he or she may get an answer later. That is why this problem may be seen as different sides of the same coin.

To other children whose education is affected by an emergency I would like to say and write that education is important, but do not get disappointed when you do not have an opportunity to study in normal and comfortable circumstances and conditions, because the fact that you are alive is the best. Respect and appreciate your life! You may make up for lost time later. It is important to survive in this hard time for all the people, despite the disasters or conflicts we have faced.

Once I thought nowadays education is everything for a person, but I reconsidered my thoughts and priorities. I became more judicious wise and calm. One should understand coolness and peace of mind can help and save people. If we panic, we cannot concentrate and get into trouble, and even lose the only life we have. People must be long-sighted and cold-minded. In such a way we can rescue our lives and even lives of other people. They say beauty will save the world … I believe it is an element of truth, but at these times self-protection will save the whole world.

I would like to say to people who provide education in emergencies they should and must work up such way of education like distance education in advance to prevent the collapse of an education program in a country or in a region. They also should develop a plan of transferring students to other universities, taking into account students’ specialty and status. I think these people (the Minister of Education) should add material on how to carry and protect oneself during military operations, as in my case.

Everybody should remember we are all brothers and sisters in the world, and we should help each other. “The Beatles” sang: “Life is very short, and there is no time for fussing and fighting, my friend! We can work it out!” I absolutely agree with these words. We are given only one life and we should have a normal life.I live in Ukraine. I live in an anti-terrorist operation zone. I love my country, my language and my customs! Ukraine has strong positions in material science, microelectronics, biology and medical sciences, computer and space sciences. However, Ukrainian governmental priorities are not strong from the funding perspective. Let’s pray for all people all over the Earth!

2 comments on “What has education meant to me?

  1. Jesus Dawal Jr. on

    It’s true that there’s no fixed formula for everything. I learned about your case in this essay, and certainly I don’t know what I would do if I was in your case. While it’s true that there are circumstances in our lives when ideals would seem foolish, but it is exactly our ideals that keep us alive and persevering. Thank you, for teaching me something. Press on, and take care there.

  2. Maxime on

    I totally agree with you : life is the more precious thing in the world. It would be an utopia to say that if we learned of our history, with education, war should not happened any more. I think that we can not be prepared to war, even with the best education (I mean life safety class…). I’m afraid because the person who started the war are most of the time, very well educated. Btw, even in time of war, we should not neglect education, for any reason. For example during WW2, in Warsaw, teacher were teaching in secret in their own house, against the nazi’s prohibition, so it is possible to do it.
    It reminds me Stephen Awking’s speach : “Where their is live, their is hope”
    Take care of you and don’t lose hope.


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