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Life at Donetsk schools: militants threaten teachers and demand more Russian popular music at school-leaving parties. Part 2

Life at Donetsk schools: militants threaten teachers and demand more Russian popular music at school-leaving parties. Part 2

Good pupil, bad pupil and dads wearing camouflage gear

It should be noted that the quality of education on the occupied territory, which is not controlled by Ukraine, has deteriorated. Teachers had warned that there would be a considerable decline in the level of academic performance after the shift from a twelve-point academic grading system (which is accepted in Ukraine) to a five-point academic grading system (Russian standard). 

“Almost all the pupils of our class get “Cs”, all twenty people. Parents are shocked, leaving alone the children. A lot of them are not motivated to study at all now. By the way, the situation is the worst with the Ukrainian language and literature. Maybe, their parents have told them that it is not necessary to learn these subjects any more though they are still present, in minimal quantity, in the curriculum. Besides, pupils have to learn poems by heart, to write dictations, so, their performance is worsening. Sometimes we fear that our child may have to go to the same form again next year”, says Pavlo Kuzmenko, a parent from Donetsk.

No one has had to repeat a form yet, but another problem is new styles of “communication” between teachers and pupils which are setting in at schools.

“There is this pupil in one of our 8th forms, he is really bad at studying and we do our best for him to get at least “Es” and finish an academic year without having to repeat it”, says Viktoria, a principal of one of Donetsk schools. “Well, he has had a conflict with one of our teachers recently and cursed her. He was misbehaving during a lesson and when she told him to leave the classroom, he cursed her. When we tired to calm her down after the lesson we decided that there won’t be any kinds of indulgence for him any more and he would get the marks he deserved. We told the boy about that and the next day his father appeared in school wearing camouflage gear. He said: “Do you realize the fact that my son cannot be a bad pupil? Perhaps, teachers at your school are bad or you are a bad principle and you’d better stop working here?” I was very scared and promised to him that we would sort it out".

“There is always someone who wants to live at the expense of children”

We do not expel anyone from schools or make pupils repeat the academic year any more“,  says Maryna, a teacher from Donetsk. “A lot of families have left since the beginning of the war. There have been cases when we had to unite two classes into one for the kids to be able to finish the school year and get at least any kind of high school diploma. And what are they supposed to do then? Some of the school-leavers of the last year tried to enter universities in the Russian Federation, in Rostov-on-Don. They were politely rejected. No one says it openly, but “DPR high school diplomas” are not accepted in Russia. The children had to come back here and to enter some universities here to get “diplomas” which will not be recognized”.

It is already known that nearly a thousand of school-leavers who live on the occupied territories have registered to take Independent Outer Assessment on the territory which is controlled by Ukraine. This means that they understand the value of a “DPR high school diploma” really well and do not want to get papers which will not be valid anywhere. So, they connect their future with Ukraine, not with an unrecognized “republic”.

"Of course, this academic year is as difficult for pupils as the previous one. Last year school started in October due to shellings, this year we have huge problems with food for children. Firstly, we cook food which we get from humanitarian aid kits and its quality leaves much to be desired. Kids cannot eat porridge, canned meat and pickled cabbage all the time. This is what they get if they eat free breakfasts at school. If they get paid ones, the quality is not much better. My daughter says that sausage is hard and it is impossible to eat it, and potatoes taste of mildew”, says Anastasiya Levkova, mother of one of Donetsk pupils. “There was a programme on TV the other day, they showed “people’s control” inspecting one of school canteens. Food was expired, its origin was unknown, the menu had not been compiled. So, there is always someone who wants to live at the expense of children”.

Parents are still asked for money contributions at schools despite “DPR” claims that this is otrageous and illegal. “We continue giving money contributions to the funds of the school and the form. Of course, the teacher told us that according to the last orders no one has the right to ask parents for money. But then she said that the janitor works part-time only and washes just the corridors. “Do you want your children to study in dirty classrooms?” said the teacher and we answered “No, we don’t” and gave her money. We give her 100 rubles (50 hryvnyas) per person a month. We were also suggested to make a present for our school before our school-leaving party, this is 200 rubles (100 hryvnyas) more. And the party itself costs about 2000 rubles (1000 hryvnyas). The situation is weird: someone has this money but someone does not have it, though no one can refuse. “This is a school-leaving party, it happens only once in a lifetime”, these are the reasons we hear. We have to borrow money, but what can we do?”, say Liudmyla’s (a school-leaver) parents.  They have also told us a big secret that the script of the party had to be agreed with the “DPR ministry of education”. “As it turned out, there were a lot of foreign songs at the school-leaving party last year, children sang them and danced to them. The “ministry” was dissatisfied with that. They say, we need more Russian popular music. This is sheer nonsense!”, say Donetsk residents.

Life at Donetsk schools: militants threaten teachers and demand more Russian popular music at school leaving parties. Part 1

New service "Explain Ukraine". This is a daily mailout of five articles which were written about the situation in the Donbas by Donbas journalists and translated into English. Honest vision of people who work in the field is unbiased and fresh which is crucial in the world which is full of desinformation and propaganda. We try to share this vision in out daily mailout.  You can subscribe here.
 

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