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ECNAIS : European Council of National Associations of Independent Schools

Annual General Meeting | Conferences

Educational freedom and democratic changes – the role of Independent Schools in Ukraine. A European perspective.

Kiev, Ukraine | 19 - 21 April 2018

As representatives of a vital part of civil society, independent schools are important players in the process of democratization of the whole of society. Furthermore, there is growing evidence that independent schools are an important source of innovation and quality in national education systems. However, the status and role of independent schools varies greatly within Europe as national school systems are the outcome of long cultural-historical processes. In many cases, this process is strongly connected with the rise and development of the nation state. That’s why in several countries the parents’ right to establish and choose an independent (non-state) school is mentioned in the constitution.

Independent schools all over Europe, each with their own profile and curriculum, offer parents, students and – within the given variety of schools – also teachers, the opportunity to choose just that specific school, that best meets their own expectations, talents and skills. By so doing, independent schools are completing the different national school systems in Europe and contribute with school choice and innovative school practices to the modern social and economic development of their countries. In other countries, freedom of education is seen by the government as a privilege for the elite, leading to the misunderstanding that independent schools can do without any legislative recognition and public funding. For ECNAIS, a country that neglects the freedom of education will in the long run pay a price for it in terms of wasted talents of the new generation.

This is why we are very pleased to organize the 2018 ECNAIS Conference in Kiev, within the context of the Ukrainian educational reform.

The aim of the conference is to present and debate the role of independent schools in Ukraine within the context of the educational reform at hand, with an eye to the experiences of other European countries. By sharing experiences from national educational reforms with a special focus on the reform that is unfolding in Ukraine, we may better understand the connection between the ideals of freedom in education and the common European democratic values.

ECNAIS members from several other countries are eager to share with the Ukrainian delegation their own experiences and to contribute from a European perspective on the Ukrainian Educational Reform.

The points of departure for the Conference are the following questions:

  • How does educational freedom promote innovation?
  • How to balance value based school autonomy and accountability?
  • How to balance freedom of parental school choice and equal opportunities within a national school system?
  • What is the contribution of independent schools to the diversity in the national education system?


Wednesday 18th April
Music and dance performance
Thursday 19th April
Kiev City Hall / HOTEL
9:00 Leaving Hotel
09:30 OPENING SESSION in Kiev City Hall

Olena Movchun
Organizational Committee Kiev Private Schools

Simon Steen
ECNAIS Chairman
Different approaches in Europe on freedom of education, freedom of parental school choice and establishing public-private funding of independent schools

Vitaliy Klichko
City Mayor of Kiev

Olena Fidanyan
Director of the Department of Education and Science, Youth and Sports of Kiev

Olexander Spivakofski
First Deputy Chairman of the Committee of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on Science and Education

Prof. Nataliya Shulha
Secretary of the Commission of Kiev City Council on Education, Science, Family, Youth and Sports

11:00 Volodymyr Kovtunets
First Deputy Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine
Dialogue included
12:00 Ben Vermeulen
Professor Educational Law, Member of the Dutch Council of State
Dialogue included
13:30 Lilya Hrynevych
Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine
Dialogue with the audience moderated by ECNAIS Chairman
14:15 Leaving City Hall
14:30 LUNCH in Hotel Khreschatyk
15:30 Liudmyla Paraschenko, Olena Movchun
Development of private schools in Ukraine: where do we come from, where are we now, where are we going to
Roman Nebozhuk
Freedom of parental school choice and establishing/ public-private funding of independent schools
Dialogue with the audience moderated by ECNAIS Chairman
17:30 Registration for School visits
18:00 Moment for Payments in cash
19:30 Cocktail with music in Hotel
20:00 DINNER
Hotel Khreschatyk
Friday 20th April
8:30 Travel to Schools
9:00 School visit
13:30 Travel to Hotel
Reflections on the recent developments in Ukraine education policy by representatives of ECNAIS members from:

  • Finland
  • Italy
  • Sweden
15:30 Working groups session
Plenary introduction of the working Groups session. The theme of the Conference will be discussed in groups.
Short Statements about the working group discussions
16:45 Short Statements about the working group discussions
Saturday 21th April
9:00 Management Committee Meeting
Open to MC members only (coffee included)
Lunch will NOT be served after the meeting
9:00 city visit for participants (except MC members)


It is very important to register as soon as possible and in any case before 23 March 2018.
Registration can be done on line only, here:

Kiev photo by Juanedc – Licence Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

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