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									                          The First Korean School in Ukraine

Description of the Good Practice

    According to the last official census of population registration (1989), the adult
population, determined the nationality as Korean, consisted of 8 669 people. During the
last decade, the number of Korean Diaspora extensively grew up and, recently as Viktor
Sin supposes, it is composed of about 15 000, citizens of Ukraine.
    Korean ethnic group is a relatively young one for this region. It has been started
forming from the end of the 1940s. All Ukrainian Koreans are immigrants form the
Central Asia and Khazakhstan, where they were deported with the accordance of Stalin’s
    During the last several centuries, Korean colonists lived in the Far East region on the
territory of the Russian Empire (and later, USSR), neighboring with Korea. However,
prior to the Second World War, all Far Eastern Koreans were deported to the Central Asia
region and Khazakhstan by the resolution of Council of the People Commissars and the
Central Committee of the Bolshevik Party from August 21, 1937 “About deportation of
Korean population from frontier areas of the Far East” in order to “nip in the bud any
penetrations of Japanese espionage”.
    Searching for better life conditions, a part of exiled people started moving from
Central Asia to other Soviet republics including Ukraine. At the present time, 12
relatively big Korean communities reside in Ukrainian cities of Kharkov, Kiev, Odessa,
Nikolaev, Cherkassy, Lvov, Lugansk, Donetsk, Dvepropetrovsk, Zaporozhe, and in
    The primary republican institution of the state executive authority, which prepares and
provides the realization of the state policy in the sphere of inter-ethnic relations, rights of
minorities and migrations, is the Committee on Nationalities and Migration Affairs of
the Cabinet of Ministries of Ukraine. The main responsibility of the Committee is to
define the optimal correlation of interests between major nation and ethnic minorities.
According to the international classification adopted by Ukraine, by ethnic minority one
can accept a nationality which population composes the smaller part in respect to major
ethnic group.
    The civil code “About ethic minorities in Ukraine” adopted in 1992, is the principal
law defined the legal basis and ethnic groups activity. The first article of this code claims:
“Ukraine guarantees equal political, social, economic and cultural rights and privileges to
all citizens independently on their ethnic origin and supports national independence and
self-expression development.”
    Other decrees regarding to the issue of ethnic minorities’ education are the codes
“About education in Ukraine” and “Law about languages”. According to the last one,
Ukrainian language is the accepted as the state language.
    The code “About ethnic minorities” defines legislative basis for ethnic-cultural
associations (ECA) activity. ECA are the concentrated message of ethnic group to self-
express, study, and preserve native languages, ethnic Motherland history, traditions, and
customs. When ethnic minority conceives the necessity of those tasks, certain leaders are
rising, accepting purpose of official ECA establishment.
    Taking into consideration difficult social and economic situation in Ukraine in general
and specifically in the Eastern part, nevertheless, we can argue that a growth of ECA is
constantly noticed. For instance, in 1992 after the appearance of the code “About ethnic
minorities in Ukraine”, 7 ECA were registered. By the mid of 1997, their number
increased to 20. Recently, 28 ethnic associations can be numbered. However, the process
of formation of ECA has not been finished yet.
    ECA are working in solid cooperation with representatives of local and regional
authorities. For that process specifically within Kharkov City Cabinet, the Committee on
civilian unions was established. With the accordance of the codex “About ethnic
minorities in Ukraine”, the state has to provide different kinds of assistance to ECA,
including the financial aid. Due to difficult financial conditions in the country, these
objectives are not completed sufficiently or at all, therefore, in fact, ECA are left to
themselves and, consequently, trying to survive independently.
    In this essay we, taking into account, will try to consider ethnic cultural associations of
Koreans. Despite the small number of their ethnic group and relatively short history of the
existing in this region, Koreans are well organized. Currently, the most representative and
numerous unity is the Association of Koreans in Ukraine (AKU), the center of which is
situated in Kharkov. The Kharkov Korean community is relatively small, it combines
about 150 Korean families. However, it was Kharkov group that formed the Kharkov
Koreans Association in 1989 at the every beginning of the establishment process. Later
on, similar organizations were instituted in other regions of Ukraine and in 1991 at the
conference all these unions, the establishment of AKU was proclaimed with the center in
    Why exactly in Kharkov, not in Kiev, such a center is located? From the point of view
the head of AKU Viktor Sin, there are several reasons. “The AKU center was formed
historically, because here, in this particular region, Koreans have verified the high
organization skills and more active strained their energy into preserve aged cultural
traditions, language, and customs… There is another objective, why Kharkov Koreans
have conducted the association of their fellow-tribesmen into combined affiliated
organization. Registration of ethnic community or ECA is not so difficult as to provide
constant financial assistance to these organizations through creation commercial
structure. The establishment of such an enterprise is not less important if not the crucial
one. Because of that, it is possible to widen the sphere of activity towards establishing
different children’s cultural and sport organizations, schools, and moreover, the forming
the places of compact living for Koreans. We were lucky to succeed it in Kharkov.
Unfortunately, in other regions, the representatives of Korean Diaspora devoted their
potential to business (‘market element’) left ethnic organizations without finances for
    Under the conditions, when the state financial sources towards programs on preserve
and development of culture and language of different ethnic groups are restricted, AKU
is successful to earn money by themselves to support such programs. It is interesting that
the commercial activity of the Association is directly connected to the propaganda of
Korean culture. For example, year by year the service sphere is expanding. At the every
beginning, restaurant “Choson” (morning freshness country) was established, where the
national Korean cuisine was presented with the accordance of Korean traditions.
    Gradually, the restaurant became the consistent part of the Korean center, the unique
architect network, built in finest traditions of Korean style architecture by Kharkov
Koreans. In recent times, hotel service, hairdressing, pool room, auto saloon are available,
and since 1998 the baptize-Christian church has started functioning on Korean language
with synchronic interpretation.
    In Kharkov, the Center of Eastern Medicine as one of the link of a chain, is quite
popular, propagandizing the Korean methods of medical treatment. Other, not the last
one, activity of the center is dealing with complex development of auto-mechanical
informational systems for regional companies. The Korean Kharkov center turned into a
veritable core of cultural life of Korean population in Ukraine. One of the significant
evidences for that statement was the arrangement of the third festival of Korean culture
in Ukraine (August 28-29, 1998), that gathered 250 participants demonstrated successful
achievements in the preserve and development of Korean culture in Ukraine. They were
the first Korean baptize-Christian temple and the school with intensive learning of
Korean language which were established during the festival.

                                 Part II. Central Problems

   Initially, the Association of Koreans in Ukraine was concerned by the preserve and
development problem. However, undertaken measures through linguistic courses, Sunday
School, folklore collectives, etc. did not afford that complexity which was the aim of the
Association. Therefore, in 1996, during the meeting of communities representatives, the
decision about establishing of special school with intensive learning of Korean language
and culture was agreed.
   Such a school is an innovation for this region. In the period between 1920 and 1930
the favorable atmosphere for ethnic groups coexistent development had been existing in
Ukraine. There were several primary schools, special professional educational units, and
colleges with teaching in minorities languages. Cultural societies, ethnic clubs, libraries
were working; newspapers and magazines were published in the languages of several
ethnic groups.
   According to certain sources, in 1929, 3 564 schools with different (not Ukrainian
language of teaching) were numbered: 1539 Russian, 786 - Jewish, 628 - German, 381 -
Polish, 16 - Moldavian, 8 - Tatar, and 2 - Assyrian. The training for teachers was
conducted by 60 special educational units, including industrial, agricultural, pedagogical,
and also, Kiev Polish and Odessa German Institutes of folk education, and 5 Jewish
departments in the universities.
   The profound ethnic-cultural activity of different ethnic groups representatives took
place in workers’ clubs, libraries, and village-reading rooms. For instance, some sources
give the information about activity of 53 Jewish, 12 Polish, 6 Latvian, and 1 Czech
workers’ clubs; 56 German, 26 Bulgarian, 3 Czech, and 1 Armenians village-reading
rooms; 83 German, 47 Jewish, 40 Polish, 7 Czech libraries.
    Thus, in the 1920s and 1930s, the states provided the structural assistance of different
ethnic groups language and culture development in Ukraine through Department of
national minorities at the People Commissariat of Internal Affairs (Jewish, Polish, and
German Offices) and the Central commission on national minorities’ affairs. That
structure provided functioning of schools with learning in different languages, the
institute of court interpreters, organizing of election companies in languages of ethnic
minorities, publishing of newspapers, magazines, and books, etc.
    Later on, the state language policy had been changed harshly and as the result, the
diapason of main institutes activities towards ethnic- cultural sphere was restricted.
During next 60 years, it has been limited by caresses of the Russian language status
strengthening and, to some extend, vitality of Ukrainian language. The last statement
sounds a bit paradoxically, however, it is well known that during the soviet period the
possibilities even for Ukrainians to accomplish their missions were highly restrained,
especially in Eastern and Southern regions and Crimea also. Sufficiently to mention that
in Kharkov with the population of 1,5 million people, in the 1970s the only Ukrainian
school was functioning, and in some areas of Crimea and Donbass there were not such
educational institutions at all. The negative consequences of that policy for Ukrainian
ethnic group are predominantly expressed in Eastern and Southern Ukrainian regions,
where the functioning meaning of Ukrainian language are almost taken away (“to the null
end”) and ethnic traditions lost the environment for generation and development of
Ukrainian folk.
    As it was mentioned already, in those years the issues regarding the specific conditions
for functioning the ethnic minorities languages on social-cultural as well as on everyday
life level were also avoided. As a consequence of that, schools with ethnic groups
language learning, newspapers, or magazines did not exist on the territory of Ukrainian
republic till the end of the 1980s.
    Thus, the ethnic identity of minorities was destroyed, its episodes remained only in
the sphere of folklore and traditions. Therefore, in fact, every effort towards that issue had
to be started from the every beginning. As far as institutes which form and assist the
minorities structure as integrity (ethnic organizations, educational units, mass media,
religion organizations, arts collectives, etc.), they have been started to be revitalized since
the mid of the 1980s. Later, after the proclamation of Ukraine independence this process
is continuing more intensively. In this respect, the role of ethnic cultural associations,
which remind the generators of certain ethnic groups, is very important. According to the
data of the State committee on nationalities and migrations, to the beginning of 1997, 270
ethnic cultural associations existed in Ukraine; recently, their number has increased.
    From the end of the 1980s, the situation in the sphere of education has been changing.
On the one hand, the correlation between Russian and Ukrainian schools was changing to
the prevalence of the last ones. According to the information of the State committee on
nationalities and migrations (January, 1997), from the whole amount (21 349) of schools
in 15 867 teaching process was conducted in Ukrainian language. On the other hand,
schools with deepening language learning started establishing.
   For example, in 1992 a secondary school with intensive learning of Hebrew and
Jewish culture was organized in Kharkov. It became the first state school in Ukraine
where all interested persons could study Hebrew, Israeli culture and history.
   Another similar practice is the first Korean school in the region. The idea was
proclaimed by AKU in 1996. The practical realization of the objective was under the
supervision of Viktor Chentakovich Sin, the president of AKU, Konstantin Dmitrievich
Yugai, the head of Kharkov Society of Koreans, and Lidia Antonovna Kim, a city
Council deputy.

                          Part III. Main Objectives and Strategy

   So, in 1996 AKU came to a decision about necessity of a school with intensive
learning of Korean language and culture.
   What were the alternatives to school? Besides this type of school, the existence so
called national schools is possible in Ukraine. It can be considered as more complicated
variant as compared to Sunday schools, children’s sport and cultural centers and schools
with intensive learning of language.
   What are the Sunday schools in Ukraine? The legislative basis for establishing such a
school is “Temporal regulation about Sunday schools of ethnic minorities” form
November 4, 1992. According to this document, a Sunday school can be established by
the resolution of Executive Committee of People Deputies. That type of activity is one of
the forms for realization of ethnic minorities groups right of studying language and
culture. Their central objectives are the follows:
   *      studying the mother’s tongue as the base of culture
   *     deepening into the environment of national traditions, culture, thinking, and way
of life;
   *     understanding the culture locality of ethnic group in regional culture and
Ukrainian Folks’ life;
   *       developing the interests in the sphere of science, local history, and aesthetics.

   Sunday schools of ethnic minorities, according to the Resolution, must be opened
within the general education schools, gymnasiums, lyceums, colleges, professional and
night-schools, and out-school institutions subjected to State educational management
bodies and with the condition of two or more different-age classes. The context of
education has to be written in the educational schedule and programs composed by
teaching staff, agreed by the head of Sunday school and approved by local State
educational management Office. The structure of education organization in Sunday
school includes the following components:
   *     native language and literature as an inalienable part of national culture and
   *     history of folk, its historical Motherland with a comparison to history of Ukraine;
   *     basics of national culture (folklore, dances, songs, music, etc.) in the context of
world culture.
   The courses (not more than 4 academic hours per day) in Sunday schools are taught
usually twice in a week. The duration of one lesson is 35-45 minutes with interval for 10-
15 minutes for a break. The knowledge evaluating system is determined by every school
independently. The number of pupils in class must be not less than 8 people for a town, in
country-side this amount should not increase 15-20 persons.
   The administration of Sunday school is ruled by principle, who is appointed by the
resolution of the head of the district/city Office on general education. Sunday school of
ethnic minorities is not independent juridical unit, therefore it can use material-technical
equipment of that institution it organized under.
   Local budget, different foundations donations, financial aid from national-cultural
societies, associations, concerns, organizations, as well as personal charity are the
financial grounds of ethnic minorities Sunday schools.
   The Association of Korean in Ukraine did not establish Korean Sunday school, since
this way was already tested. The experience has shown that such a variant of education
does not provide solemn knowledge of language, history and culture. On the other hand,
the AKU members understood the requirements for establishment of ethnic school are
beyond their powers. For instance, more than 50 % of children in such a school must be
representatives of that ethnic group which declared in its title; more than 70% of courses
in school must be taught in ethnic group language proposed in the school title.
Consequently, the only possible variant for Association was the establishment of budget
(not private) special secondary school with intensive learning of Korean language and
    Responsible group (Sin V., Yugai K., Kim L. and others) processed letters, petitions,
and documents required for such a procedure. In the beginning of 1998 this question was
presented at the Session of City Council deputies and the positive decision was reached.
Then, the realization of the project turned into the practical plane.

                                 Part IV. Course of Action

   In order to exaggerate the first Korean school idea in Ukraine and to realize the City
Council session decision, the following new steps have been required:
   *     the executive committee of Phrunzensky district implemented the search and
selection of the building, and finally, provided accessible premises in kindergarten #308 ;
   *     with the assistance of Korean center rooms were renovated and supplemented by
new equipment;
   *     the first draft budget was agreed and four staff positions have been chosen
(principal, two teachers of primary school, and a teacher of Korean language, music, and
   *    the selection committee and staff forming has begun;
   *    the special program for a primary school with intensive learning of foreign
language and culture was elaborated and agreed by the principal of the school with
cooperation of Korean language department (Kiev State University) on the bases of
existing typical program of Ministry of education of Ukraine (recently, the elaboration of
this program is continuing for the secondary level school);
   *     the complex of measures for acquaintance with Korean culture not only during
the lessons, but after school (sport organization on “tkhe-kvon-do” , “Go”, and
traditional music and dancing, etc.);
   *     the admission process has begun for primary school;
   *     cooperation process with Korean school in Russia (Moscow city), which has been
functioning since 1992;
   *     the establishment of links with different organizations which can assist the
school (Korean embassy, branches of Korean Firms in Ukraine; Department of Korean
language at Kiev State University, Korean Diaspora in Alma-Aty and Tashkent, etc.).

   Undoubtedly, the accomplishment of all these measures was not simple, however
planning steps of school administration and Korean association guided successful finale.
In September 1998, the school started working.

                          Part V. Results (and Achievements )

   What is the first Korean school in Ukraine with intensive learning of language itself
after half a year of existence?
   Recently, two classes (the first (12 pupils) and the second (15 pupils) ones) work only.
Although this school with intensive learning of Korean language, it does not mean that
there are children form Korean families only. There are several Korean children and
majority is Ukrainian and Russian children living in that district. Parents of all
nationalities are glad to send their children to the Korean school, not only because of
their interest to Korean culture and language, but also due to better conditions, for
   *    limited number of pupils in classes ( as compared to overcrowded classes at usual
   *     relatively better material base (good renovation and equipment) because of
Korean center assistant;
   *     more interesting cultural life (sport and arts units, holidays, etc.)

    The teaching collective presently consists of four people: the principal - Lyudmila
Antonovna Kim, two primary teachers and Korean language instructor. The ethnic
compositions of staff is also multinational (the principal and Korean language teacher are
Korean, other teacher are representatives of other ethnic groups).
    This school, as it was mentioned above, has a status of special secondary school with
intensive learning of Korean language and culture and works accordingly to specially
developed program. The basic language is Russian, though Ukrainian language and
literature is taught in accordance with the standard for average school. The principal
distinction of education plan of typical plans of other schools is exclusive hours for
Korean language studying (at the first and the second classes - three hours per week, at
the third - four times in a week).
    Later, along with Korean language lessons, courses on Korean history and culture, etc.
will be included in the program. At the moment, this issue is in the stage of elaboration
and agreement.
    The methodological materials, which are used for education process, are the special
text books and tutorials (video- and audio-types) elaborated in Seoul for foreigners who
wish to study Korean language. These methodological materials were provided by the
embassy of Korea in Ukraine.
    As it was mentioned above, the acquaintance with Korean culture has a complex
character and is not restricted by language studying only, that means the following
     * participation in sport, dancing, music activities;
     * arrangement of theater performances in Korean center;
     * celebration of traditional Korean holidays, reproduction of typical customs and
     *    prophylactic medical observation of children by specialists of traditional Korean
 medicine and treatment if necessary.

    Due to school budgetary character, parents do not have to pay for education. As far as
outside activities (sport and cultural units), some of them are sponsored by Korean center.
There is a good cafeteria at school and good food is provided for pupils. Public catering
is paid as it in all Ukrainian schools.

                   Part VI. (Results and ) Achievements (see above!!!)

   Although the school “Densuri” has not been existed for a year, it is very famous and
popular. For the first time, it was presented to local and regional Korean community
during the opening ceremony (August, 1998) at the same when the third Ukrainian
festival of Korean culture took place.
   The first detailed discussion of the school at Ukrainian scale was conducted at the
‘round table’ session, devoted to central problem of Korean language and culture in
Ukraine (Kiev, the autumn of 1998). Representatives of Korean Diaspora from different
regions highly estimated the first school achievements and expressed an interest
regarding its development into boarding school in order to provide an access for Korean
children of other regions.
   Opinions expressed at that meeting are absolutely coincide with plans of school
administration. At the moment, the school staff are working on achievement of following
   * the question about supplemented working space is discussing at the local
authorities level (local Executive Committee) in order to provide additional classes and
transferring school into boarding school;
   * the search of qualified Korean language teachers is actively conducted. This
problem is complicated by a subjective reason. The first graduates of Korean language
department at Kiev State University (the only one in Ukraine) are supposed to be
awarded a diploma in 2000 only. Therefore, the school administration is addressing their
request to other Universities (Tashkent and Alma-Aty) and Korean Diaspora those
   * the dialogue between the school administration and the Korean embassy in
Ukraine is conducted on the issue of direct delivery of teaching materials in Korean
   * the question about improvement of the school equipment (computer laboratory) is
considered by school administration. One of the possible ways is though the
establishment of further contacts with South Korean firms in Ukraine and official
requests about charity assistance.

   At the ‘round table’ meeting in Kiev, the perspectives for the pupils were discussed
along with central problems of the school, such as:
   *    the question about continuing free education for successful graduates at the
Department of Korean language (Kiev State University);
   *     the question about post-graduate studying in Korean language and culture (Kiev
State University);
   *     the question about students’ change between Ukraine and Korea, etc.

                                    Part VII. Conclusion

   In 1998 the first school with intensive learning of Korean language and culture was
established in Kharkov. This fact itself clearly demonstrates that even under the
conditions of difficult social and economic situation, which takes place in Ukraine,
restricted possibilities in financing every innovation, incomplete legislative basis on
ethnic minorities’ issues, and other restrictions, it was possible to establish budgetary
school with ethnic minority’s language and culture specialization. This is one of the most
important questions which can be taken form this positive experience by certain cultural
societies to accept good practice and establish a school with intensive learning of their
ethnic group language.
   Another very important lesson is the establishment the Korean school with intensive
learning of Korean language. Previously, in Ukraine there were Polish, German, Jewish,
Romanian and other ethnic groups educational institutes, nevertheless Korean school has
not been established before. So, it is very significant for Korean Diaspora, as well as for
the Ukrainian community in general. Hopefully, that its experience, elaborated
educational programs, sport and cultural training after school will be very useful for
Korean Diaspora in other countries.
   The next important lesson is, in our opinion, the practice of special type school
(boarding school type) establishment for representatives those ethnic minorities which
live as a relatively small community in a contrast to large compact groups. Unfortunately,
that idea is not explicitly defined in this specific case. It is still in the stage of active
elaboration, and undoubtedly, will be embodied into reality. Moreover, that objective has
been discussed for a long period of time. For instance, since 1992 the administration of
Korean school in Moscow has been discussing the possibility of boarding school. In that
sense, the planning process seems to be more interesting, because numerous ethnic
groups live in Ukraine separately. This incident can be considered as a visible example
for further practice.

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