THE IMPORTANCE OF CRITICAL THINKING IN THE CONTEXT OF WAR IS THE TOP TOPIC OF THE EASTERN EDUCATION FORUM
The participants of the Eastern Educational Forum with the representatives of the Ministry for Reintegration of the Temporary Occupied Territories of Ukraine discussed the importance of critical thinking in the context of armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine and the information warfare conducted by the aggressor country in Donbas.
Yulia Laputina, Major General of the Security Service of Ukraine (in reserve), the Director General of the Directorate of Communications and Information Policy of the Ministry for Reintegration of TOT spoke on critical thinking in the era of toxic content.
She emphasized the importance of education opposing information war being waged against Ukraine as a component of armed aggression of the Russian Federation.
"Education is a weapon that we can use and which can be used against us," stressed Laputina. In her opinion, human security and country's security depends on every citizen, and especially on teachers. "A teacher is the first person, after parents, who influences the behaviour of a child and then of an adult. Ukrainian self-identification is very important among the teachers of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, because right now there is an armed aggression against Ukraine, which is accompanied by an information war that began long before Ukraine gained independence," believes Yulia Laputina.
She gave the teachers examples of using information as a weapon in a war and stressed the importance of critical thinking in these conditions. "Meaningful war is a type of cognitive weapon and a component of modern hybrid warfare, which is aimed at cyberspace, and worldview beliefs are the objects of influence. This is very relevant for teachers, as worldview beliefs are formed exactly from childhood," noted the Director General of the Directorate of Communications and Information Policy of the Ministry for Reintegration of TOT. In her opinion, in order to be more effective in information warfare, special trainings are needed for teachers to form critical thinking. "Because now we can only declare that everything is bad. We do not think critically enough, so we are affected by toxic content. And for us to survive, we need to equip ourselves with the necessary knowledge and skills," concluded Yulia Laputina.
The participants of the panel discussion also learned about methods of manipulation and how the propaganda of the aggressor country in the educational environment is used. Ihor Yaremenko, Deputy Minister for Reintegration of the Temporary Occupied Territories of Ukraine also attended the forum, and talked to representatives of educational institutions of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine. The issues of IDPs, infrastructure development in the frontline territories and education were raised during the meeting.
The Eastern Education Forum was organized for teachers who took part in the Project "Educational Marathon". For more than seven months, teams from schools in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts worked on development of strategies for their educational institutions that will help implement quality changes in the schools. During this time, the participants learned how to build strategies, form effective communications with the community, learn about effective methods in inclusive education, defend their projects, and start implementing changes.
The event is realized by the Foundation for Social Innovation "From Country to Ukraine" with the support of the Ministry for Reintegration of the Temporary Occupied Territories of Ukraine in the framework of the project Democratic Governance in Eastern Ukraine (DG East) of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).