Kyiv, June 19, 2019 – The Educational Centre of Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, which was officially launched by the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Andriy Parubiy on July 19, 2019, will be open to the public from Aug. 3. The centre was established with the support of the EU-UNDP Parliamentary Reform Project and USAID’s RADA (Responsible Accountable Democratic Assembly) Programme.
The purpose of the Educational Centre is to raise citizens' awareness about the principles and functions of parliament and democracy and, by doing so, to promote the openness of the Ukrainian parliament and encourage better interaction with its citizens. The main target audience of the centre is children aged from six to 18. In future the centre will run more educational programs for other age groups.
The centre is a modern space inside the Verkhovna Rada equipped with full-presence technologies (a screen and projectors for watching 360° videos). In addition, a prototype of an MP’s workplace is to be installed, where visitors can see how to vote for a bill and try their hands as being statesmen.
The Educational Centre will organize interactive lessons which will include:
- an information course on the history of the Ukrainian parliament and its ongoing activities;
- games modelling the adoption of bills;
- a short tour around the Verkhovna Rada building to see, for example, the 8-meter flag brought inside the session hall during the proclamation of independence.
On the opening session, Andriy Parubiy revealed how the idea of creating the Educational Centre was born: “Over the course of the last five years, Ukrainian parliamentary diplomacy was active, particularly in studying the experience of European parliamentarism. The idea of establishing the centre in the Verkhovna Rada came during my working visit to the UK in 2018. I saw a huge number of children queuing in order to get to the Educational Centre there. We decided to create such a centre here, in the premises of the Ukrainian parliament.”
In 2018 the Verkhovna Rada was visited by 35,000 citizens, and the opening of the Educational Centre could double this figure. It is expected that due to its operation, some 30,000 schoolchildren will be able to learn about democracy and the parliament every year: how it works and what are its tools of interaction.
Among the attendees of the event were Hugues Mingarelli, the head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine, Susan K. Fritz, USAID Mission Director to Ukraine, and Marcus Brand, UNDP Senior Advisor on Democratic Reform and Sustainable Development in Ukraine.
“We’re thankful that in recent years the parliament has become more open and accountable,” Mingarelli said at the event.
“We hope that the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine will be even more effective and even better able to fulfil its constitutional duties in the future, as it is a key institution that has played a positive role in strengthening democracy over the last five years. We believe that the opening of the Educational Centre is a massive step in the right direction, because it is important to engage young people in political processes and decision-making.”
Dafina Gercheva, UNDP Permanent Representative to Ukraine, also commented on the event: “The launch of the Educational Centre at the Verkhovna Rada contributes to the promotion of a comprehensive and high-quality education in the areas of parliamentarism and democracy, and accelerates the achievement of Goal 4 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It also supports the attainment of Global Goal 16, which aims at creating effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels. The Sustainable Development Goals are the overarching framework for the United Nations in Ukraine and globally, which is underpinned by the ‘leave no one behind’ principle.”
Fritz addressed the schoolchildren who attended the event: “Maybe some of you will enter the Verkhovna Rada next time as an MP, speaker or even president. And you could say that everything began today at the opening of this Educational Centre.”
She also pointed out that the Centre will expand the opportunities for citizen engagement in the political process, encourage the use of electronic services and participation in the analysis of legislative initiatives.
“If we combine the education that already exists with the opportunities of the Educational Centre, this will help to establish a strong relationship between citizens and the parliament that will strengthen democracy in this country,” Fritz concluded.
Yuliia Samus, Communication Specialist, UNDP Ukraine, email@example.com, Yuliia.Samus@undp.org