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April 26, 2012

Advocates Ardently Fight to Protect the Family in Russia and Ukraine

Submitted by “For Family Rights” NGO

Russia: Round Table on Home Education in the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation

Home education activists in Russia are continuing to work ardently in order to promote and expand their rights. Although the new Law on Education in the Russian Federation, adopted at the end of the year 2012, preserves the right to home education, home educators still face many problems in the different region of Russia.

“Each family has a right to home educate according to the new Russian Law, so we succeeded in preserving the basic home education freedom in the law,” comments Pavel Parfentiev, Chairman of the “For Family Rights” NGO, which works to protect parental rights, including the right to choose home education for their children. “But in reality,” Parfentiev explains, “it’s still hard to exercise this right in some regions of Russia. Sometimes the law is violated by the school or state officials, and parents can even sometimes face persecution just for choosing the legal option to home educate their children. In order to correct this situation and to expand the home education freedom, changes to the legislation are still necessary.”

Parfentiev addressing participants at the III All-Ukrainian Parents’ Forum

See photos from the II All-Ukrainian Home Education Forum

In order to provide Russian home educators with more legal protection, “For Family Rights” initiated a round table session in the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation, together with the Chamber’s Commission on the Development of Education. The event, entitled “Home Education: Is It Available to Everyone?,” took place in the Civic Chamber on April 4th. Pavel Parfentiev, “For Family Rights” Chairman, and Mr. Efim Rachevsky, Member of the Civic Chamber, presided jointly over the round table. During the event, home educating parents and activists presented a number of serious violations of their rights that have occurred in the different regions of Russia. Representative of the media also took part in the event.

Parfentiev spoke about the legal aspects of the right to home education in Russia and worldwide. During his presentation he also informed the participants about the Global Home Education Conference 2012 that took place in Berlin last year and about the Berlin Declaration on the right to home education, presented at the GHEC 2012.

The round table adopted a Resolution and Recommendations on the improvement of the legislation, which will be transmitted by the Civic Chamber to the Duma, Russia’s state parliament, and to the Ministry of Education.

“The participants of the Round Table fully support the Berlin Declaration on the right to home education, presented at the Global Home Education Conference 2012” states the Resolution.

Ukraine: the III All-Ukrainian Parental Forum in Kiev and the Second All-Ukrainian Home Education Forum in the city of Sevastopol

On March 29–30th, the III All-Ukrainian Parents’ Forum was held in Kiev, attended by more than a thousand delegates from various regions of Ukraine. The forum, initiated by the All-Ukrainian NGO “Parents’ Committee of Ukraine’ discussed a wide range of issues related to the protection and strengthening of the family, motherhood and fatherhood, the traditional family and moral values, as well as the education and upbringing of children.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Education and Science expressed support for the forum, as well as the Blessed Metropolitan Vladimir of All Ukraine (Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Moscow Patriarchate) who sent his greeting and blessing to the participants through his representative. Senior officials from the Ukrainian government also took part in the forum, including Mr. Yuri Miroshnychenko, the Representative of the President of Ukraine in the the Verkhovna Rada (state parliament) and the representative of Mr. Mykola Zhuk, the Chairman of the subcommittee on youth policy, family and childhood of the Committee on Family Matters, Youth Policy, Sports and Tourism.

Pavel Parfentiev, Chairman of the Russian “For Family Rights” NGO, was invited to the even as the World Congress of Families Ambassador to European Institutions. He addressed the participants during the first day on the protection of the family at the international level, and during the second day on home education. He shared with the participants the information on the Global Home Education Conference 2012 that took place in Berlin last year and on the Berlin Declaration presented there and discussed the international law foundations on the right to home education. He also addressed the legal aspects of home education in Ukrainian law.

The resolution adopted by the forum states:

“The system of education should acknowledge the pivotal role of the family and the parents in the upbringing and education of children, respect their rights and beliefs, raise the public profile of the family and support family values and family life. Parents have the right to raise and educate their children according to their own convictions, to choose the form of education for their children, including free use of home education for children of preschool and school age. These fundamental rights of the parents should always be respected by the state.”

Shortly after the conclusion of the III All-Ukrainian Parents’ Forum, approximately 100 participants from different regions of Ukraine gathered in the city of Sevastopol to take part in the II All-Ukrainian Home Education Forum. Teachers, parents, civil society leaders, Ukrainian and international experts addressed a variety of issues concerning home education in Ukraine. Among the guests of the forum were Prof. Dr. Tatiana Kovaleva from Moscow, Russia, who also spoke at the GHEC 2012 in Berlin; Prof. Dr. Natalia Kovalenko from St. Petersburg, a specialist in psychology; Dr. Tatiana Zotova from Moscow, an author of an innovative language study methods; and Parfentiev from St. Petersburg, Chairman of the “For Family Rights” NGO, WCF Ambassador to European Institutions, and WCF Advisor on the International Human Rights Law.

Parfentiev shared with the participants information about the scientific research on home education, as well as international development in the home education movement, including the GHEC 2012 and the Berlin Declaration. He also addressed in detail the legal basis for the right to home educate in Ukraine.

The participants adopted a resolution where they presented recommendations for the government and their considerations on home education in Ukraine. The Resolution states, among other things:

“The Forum participants…express their full support of the Berlin Declaration on the right to home education, presented at the Global Home Education Conference (GHEC) 2012 in Berlin, November 3, 2012.”

The resolution also includes the important statement that “the forum participants are deeply convinced that the creation of the most favorable and free conditions for home education meets the interests of the Ukrainian state, society, as well as families and children of Ukraine.”

At the official web-site of the forum, the organizers have published an article by Parfentiev on the “Right to Home Education in the Laws of Ukraine,” written at the request of Ukrainian home educators. This profound analysis of the Ukrainian legislation shows that all parents in Ukraine have a legal right to home educate their school-age children under the current laws. See the analysis (in Russian) here.

The “For Family Rights” NGO works to protect parental rights, including the right to choose home education for their children

 Other Resources

Learn more by visiting HSLDA’s Russia and Ukraine pages