History textbooks to present a balanced and people-based view


The Institute of National Remembrance are creating a concept framework for school textbooks on Ukrainian history intended to provide a balanced account of history and encourage students to think, while reconciling different parts of the country.

Students will learn less about military actions, accounts of Holodomor will be softened and the Ukrainian nationalist Stepan Bandera will be presented from different points of view.

According to the Head of the Institute of National Remembrance, Vladyslav Versyuk, the new textbooks are designed to reconcile East and West by providing a many-sided view of historical facts. Even the appearance of the textbook will change. For example, the paragraph about Stepan Bandera will have excerpts from opposite points of view, those who see him as a criminal as well as those who view him as a hero.

According to Natalya Yakovenko, Head of the Department of History of the National University of the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, the new textbooks will give a balanced and measured assessment of historical events envisaging that students are encouraged to think a lot themselves.

Students now complain of the lack of balance and sometimes one-sidedness of information in the textbooks. Teachers from both Donetsk and Lviv welcome the depoliticizing of history and the presentation of more images of successful Ukrainians. “We need to add a human face to history and show everyday life of people, show the strategies people used to survive at one or other stage of Ukrainian history”, Assistant Professor of Modern History at the Lviv National University Oleh Pavlyshyn believes.

Yury Temirov, Lecturer at the Donetsk National University points out that “in Europe they have long thought in categories of a political nation, and the ethnic aspect has not played the single formative role for a long time. Our history needs to be written as the history of Ukrainians, and not the history of geographical areas of Ukraine in its contemporary borders.”

It is not known when these new textbooks will appear.

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