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University of Bergen

Project of the Finance Department presented on the International Conference

PhD student of the Finance Department Pervin Dadashova together with colleaques David Wheat (University of Bergen, Norway) and Kateryna Ganina (Irpin Specialized School No.2, Ukraine) presented research and study project at the International "Systems Thinking & Dynamic Modeling Conference for K-12 Education" in the USA

Since 2012, the System Dynamics Group at the University of Bergen in Norway (UiB) and the Finance Department at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy (NaUKMA) in Ukraine have been collaborating in a project called "Learning Economics with Dynamic Modeling."  The organizing principle for the entire project is ‘training the trainers.’  In addition to gaining modeling skills and experience, NaUKMA students and professors develop system dynamics (SD) based teaching, supervision, and mentoring skills.  Along those lines, an unexpected outcome of the first phase of our collaboration occurred even before our new secondary schools initiative was formalized and funded.  One of PhD students Pervin Dadashova received SD training in Bergen and, after returning to Ukraine, introduced SD to secondary student of the Irpin Specialized School No.2 Kateryna Ganina

Ways that universities can be engaged with secondary schools include making modern methodologies accessible to teachers and students and mentoring those who show an interest in learning to use those methods.  In 2015-2016, Kateryna Ganina entered the National Scientific Academy Research Contest and NaUKMA supported her initiative with professional support and supervision. Kateryna’s research goal was to create a model of the pension system in Ukraine in order to explain its principles to secondary school students. In order to explain the described object it was necessary to represent the pension system structure in the model. Because the model was to be used for educational purposes, Kateryna decided to include a large set of testing possibilities in order to illustrate the impact that different policies can make on the pension system. The model was used to explain the pension system in Ukraine to secondary school students, and different scenarios were developed to make the principles of pension program budgeting more explicit. For this purpose, an hour-long workshop was conducted.

Using Kateryna's model in the student workshop appeared to be an effective teaching strategy. After the workshop, knowledge of the pension system was higher. Moreover, the majority of students proposed relevant and balanced measures aimed to 'fix' the broken pension system. About 80 percent of the students found the model to be a useful way to explain economic issues, and more than half are now interested in learning more about system dynamics. Therefore, we conclude that system dynamics modeling can contribute to the educational process at the secondary school level in Ukraine, in addition to being an effective tool for research at that level.

The results of the described project were interesting for the international researchers and teachers. Therefore on June 24-26, Pervin Dadashova, Kateryna Ganina, and David Wheat presented results of their work at the International Systems Thinking & Dynamic Modeling Conference for K-12 Education, that held in Wellesley, MA, USA. Presenters told the details about this initiative, shared the experience from the system dynamics usage in the study and teaching. It is important to notice that the results obtained by Ukrainian colleagues impressed all conference participants; they were surprised that in Ukraine such a intensive collaboration between different institutions exists, schools support the Universities in such projects and are ready for the usage of the modern instruments and new discovering.

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