On February 13, an open lecture for Master’s Students majoring in Primary Education was held by a visiting professor, Doctor Habilitated, Director of the Institute of Pedagogy at the Pomeranian University in Słupsk (Republic of Poland), Coordinator of the Centre for Social Research on Inclusion, Head of the Department of General Pedagogy and Methodology of Science Anna Babicka-Wirkus on the topic:“Children’s right to self-expression on the example of Polish and British legislation on the students’ appearance”. The online event was held in the framework of the course “Pedagogical Comparative Studies”.

The initiator and moderator of the meeting, Doctor of Pedagogical Sciences, Professor, Director of the Centre Olena Budnyk, highlighted the traditions of international cooperation with the Pomeranian University in Słupsk under the existing agreement, introduced the participants to the scientific interests of the invited speaker (general pedagogy, sociology, critical pedagogy, children’s rights, issues of resilience in education, school culture, methodology, feminist criminology, etc.).

In her speech, Professor Anna Babicka-Wirkus reflected on the theoretical aspects of the issue in the scientific literature, in particular, the significance of school uniforms and the appearance of participants in the educational process in terms of equality, discrimination, discipline, gender, mentality, religious traditions, etc. based on Peter McLaren’s concepts of the subordination of the body by the dominant culture and Michel Foucault’s concept of security. Considerable attention was paid to the presentation of the current state of children’s rights to free expression in the area of appearance and clothing, as well as understanding the mechanisms of subordination of students’ bodies in the school environment; exploring the similarities and differences between the school policies of the UK and Poland in this regard. Emphasis is placed on the importance of respecting students’ rights, ensuring their freedom and creating conditions for self-expression and creativity in the educational institution.

The Dean of the Faculty of Education, Doctor of Pedagogy, Professor Oksana Kondur extended her gratitude to her Polish colleague for the interesting encounter, noting that “the culture of clothes, thoughts, and behaviour serves as an element of the general culture of a person, a teacher.” She also made some suggestions on the prospects for further scientific and educational cooperation. The participants of the meeting were the Head of the Department of Primary Education, Professor Ruslana Romanyshyn, as well as Professors Oksana Tsiuniak and Tetiana Kachak; Associate Professors Svitlana Dovbenko, Mariia Kopchuk-Kashetska, and Kateryna Fomin. The lively conversations and debates among master’s students and teachers also delved into how youth subculture shapes students’ appearances in relation to children’s entitlement to self-expression, cases of discrimination and bullying in the student environment due to rejection of diversity. Master’s student Mariana Perchyk drew a parallel between the uniform requirements for school uniforms and the rules of appearance of students in private and public schools in Ivano-Frankivsk in the context of the freedom of expression of their thoughts, views and beliefs guaranteed by the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Attended by 80 participants, the event was aimed at outlining some of the activities of the Faculty of Education and the PNU EcoSystem Centre to implement the university’s strategy of internationalisation.