Our History
The first decade (1919–1929) Prewar years (1930–1941)
The Years of Hardship (1941–1959) 1960–1990
The first years of independence of Ukraine (1991–2001)

The first decade (1919–1929)

The beginning of the XX century was marked by the growth of the national consciousness of the Ukrainians and their striving to education, culture and self-knowledge. Foundation of the Central Council in Kyiv, March, 1917 led to the process of democratization of social life, dealing with the urgent social and cultural problems.

The local authorities began to solve the priority social problems. At the beginning of 1918 Volyn’ government in cooperation with the school council addressed the Ministry of Education of Ukraine to found a teachers’ training institute in Zhytomyr. The call was not heard due to the unstable political situation.

A building for the institute was easily found. It was a building constructed in 1862 for Zhytomyr man gymnasium, which was closed in 1918. The complex consisted of a studying building, two stone wings, accessory buildings and a large garden. There was a small front garden with unique trees and a fountain in the center. The complex survived to our days, but it was reconstructed into the three-floor laboratory and educational complex № 1. In our days the university administration office, facility services and the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics are located there. In that time the complex possessed 9 lecture rooms and 23 rooms for practical and laboratory classes with general area of 920 square kilometers.

The pedagogical institute — the first institute in the Polesia region was opened exactly in that building on the 16 of October 1919. It inherited the gymnasium base, its library, museum, meteorological station. It was named Volynskyi, later Zhytomyr pedagogical institute.

Petro Nikadirovich Abramovich, an active public figure, sophisticated teacher, known specialist in folklore, ethnography and the Ukrainian language, was responsible for the organization of the pedagogical council — the highest administrative body of the institute. He headed the council and was elected the first head of the institute. The pedagogical stuff was made from the scientists, members of the Researchers’ Society of Volyn’. Among them were O. O. Fotinskyi — a historian, an author of the works in Ukrainian history, Ye. O. Nenadkevich — known specialist in languages and literature, he made different researches of the Shevchenko works; Ye. S. Brazhnikov, I. Yu. Smirnov, M. V. Yanevich — sophisticated scientists in the fields of pedagogics, art and languages. M. P. Kudritskyi was one of the first lecturers at the institute. He is a famous researcher of the Polesia nature, physicist and meteorologist. He worked at Korostishiv teachers’ seminary till 1901 year (there he wrote a book “Korostishiv Climate”, that took the third place at the international exhibition in Paris in 1900). 14 lecturers worked at that time. In a few days 9 more specialists were involved in the work. They were S. V. Bilskyi — a researcher of the Polisia mineral deposits, geologist; M. O. Puchkovskyi — a specialist of the pedagogical psychology, Yu. Yu. Bruher — a zoologist, O. H. Pozdnjakov — a chemist and biologist. Later the lecturers of the two-year pedagogical courses joined: a historian M. P. Ljatoshinskyi, a father of composer Boris Ljatoshinskyi, mathematicians S. S. Oliynik, A. Ye. Oliynichenko, a specialist in literature — O. O. Richkov.

The pedagogical institute had historical and language, physics and mathematics, geographical pre-school faculties, studying lasted 4 years. The institute council ratified principal of electivity of the lecturers stuff; considered and approved studying and work plans and programs, applicants’ requirements.

Irrespective of difficulties the local department of education and citizens of Zhytomyr helped and supported the founded institution. There was financial sustenance, books for the library, devices, musical instruments were gathered from different sources.

Shortly lecturer M. P. Kudritskyi, awarded for his achievements in meteorology by the Russian geographical society in 1895, organized physics class and launched meteorological observations. O. O. Fotinskyi — the first head of the Language and History faculty, established a cabinet of Ukraine and Volyn’ History.

Gradually cabinets and laboratories for Mathematics, Geography, Zoology, Archeology, Ethnography, Language, and Literature classes were equipped.

On the 16 of October 1919 study started at such faculties: Language and History Faculty, Physics and Mathematics, Faculty of Nature and Geography.

53 students of the 2-year pedagogical courses, many teachers from the near-by villages, 5 gymnasium graduates and students from the other universities, in particular from Kyiv University were the first students of Zhytomyr institute. At that time it was possible to apply without a certificate of secondary education. There were interviews to find out the level of knowledge. The application term lasted for several months, at the beginning of 1920 350 people became students, but only 180 were actually studying.

The institute operated as pedagogical, but on the 10 of June 1920 it was transferred into teachers’ institute by the order of the commissar of the Ukrainians People’s Republic government. Later all universities, teachers’ institutes, in particular Zhytomyr institute were reorganized into peoples’ education institutes.

In 1920 the Ministry of Education of the republic approved a statute of Volyn’ pedagogical institute, which was renamed Volyn’ peoples’ education institute the same year. Its aim was to prepare specialists for all levels, in particular preschool, school and out-of-school education. According to the statute the studying process lasted four years, but there was specialization within basic and special departments.

The first-year students studied at the basic, then — special department. The basic department was aimed to prepare workers and peasant who had gaps in their knowledge or incomplete secondary education. Studying at the basic department was general; it gave the opportunity to find students’ skills and talents for particular specialization.

There were constant changes of the head stuff of the institute. At the end of 1920 the Council removed P. N. Abramovich from the head chair according to his own will. Mathematician M. A. Mihajlevich was appointed a new head on the 5th December the same year. He worked till the 15 March 1922. The head’s name during 1922–1923 is unknown. M. V. Yanevich — a famous teacher and philosopher — headed Volyn’ peoples’ education institute in 1924–1925 years. In 1925–1928 the institute was headed by Y. K. Konik, a graduate of Law Faculty, Lviv University. A graduate of Philology of the same University V. P. Hotsa headed the institute in February 1928–1933. He was a sophisticated person with profound knowledge of mother tongue and history and worked for many years in the field of education.

The first five years were dedicated to the searching of the new organization forms and educational methods. It was caused by the fact that the basic educational level was seven-year school. That’s why Ukrainian government passed the regulation about Social Education Faculty with three-year studying term to prepare teachers for seven-year schools and nursery schools. There were changes in the educational content and form: rapid reduction of lectures and growing number of laboratory works, seminars, and excursions. Great attention was paid to practical classes. One day per week was dedicated to practical classes. These innovations strengthened the institute-school links. On the other hand, reduction of the theoretical courses, implementation of the laboratory and research methods damaged general and theoretical ground of the graduates. One of the achievements was that such subjects as Ukrainian History, Language and Literature were obligatory at all faculties.

Zhytomyr October revolution evening faculty for workers was founded in 1922; its aim was to prepare people for universities. It had two faculties: preparatory for people’s educational institute and industrial — for three-year industrial technical college. 341 pupils studied at the faculty on the 1 of January 1924. In four years the faculty was under jurisdiction of the people’s educational institute.

Party and komsomol centers were organized at the institute in 1923–1924. Students’ executive body (reorganized into students’ union) distributed scholarships, dormitory places, organized a volunteer clean-up, summer holiday employment, dealt with discipline and leisure.

The first students graduated from the institute in 1922, the young specialists were sent into the schools. There were O. F. Lahovska, O. Ya. Teodorovich, K. D. Prishchenko who became famous teachers, and M. V. Homichevskyi, pride of Zhytomyr University.

The year of 1926 was a highlight in the history of the institute. The Ukrainians and world society celebrated the 70 I. Ya. Franko anniversary. In order to honour him his name was given to Zhytomyr people’s educational institute. In 1926 I. Ya. Franko scholarship was established, it was given to the best students. S. Alber, a student of Mathematics Faculty, was the first who got the scholarship.

At that time the institute became the scientific center of Volyn’. It had profound educational and material base, a large botanical garden, a meteorological station, labs, a museum and a library with 120 thousand books. From 1926 it held scientific conferences and symposiums on the between-institutes and republican levels.

In the jubilee year the lecturers’ staff prepared and published the first volume “Volyn’ Ivan Franko people’s educational institute notes‘, it was a summary of Franko creative work. The volume contained P. N. Abramovich article about institute foundation history, ’Franko and problem of readers’ society‘ by Ye. O. Nenadkevich, ‘Flora on radioactive layers’ by V. H. Skorohod, completely based on Zhytomyr region materials, ’From reflexology to psychophysiology‘ by M. O. Puchkivskyi etc. the institute published three volumes of scientific notes within the first decade.

The best students participated in the scientific work. The weather report ’Weather in Europe, Ukraine and Zhytomyr region” was regularly issued. It was important for agriculture of the region. The Members of the literary society studied I. Franko, T. Shevchenko, Lesia Ukrainka works, analyzed creative process and problems of the Ukrainian and world literature.

In 1926 there was the fifth generation of the graduates. The number of students was growing, but there was still lack of teachers.

In December 1927 a census-analyses of the teachers was held in Ukraine. It showed that only 22.9 % of the teachers had higher or secondary special education. The others finished only secondary or even primary school. The problem of teachers’ qualification was urgent. The increased number of the students and lessening of the study term was aimed to solve it.

The material base and the number of the students of Zhytomyr people’s educational institute increased each year. In 1920 there were 180 students, 1924 — 258, 1927 — 519.

Zhytomyr pedagogical college was joined to the institute as a faculty. It prepared teachers for primary school.

In 1927 there were introduced military training, annual camp, and training at the army unit.

The institute celebrated its anniversary in 1929. The graduates’ number was the best achievement — 300 specialists with higher education. Many of them became outstanding scholars, writers, and teachers.

The institute was reorganized into the Institute of social education; it became a complex of educational bodies: pedagogical institute, two pedagogical colleges, pedagogical school and training courses. The basic faculties were Social education faculty and Complex faculty that prepared teachers with higher education for primary school. There were the training courses for Complex faculty. Social education faculty taught teachers for secondary school. The number of students increased: 850 people studied in 1929–1930.

The deep changes of the educational process organization and administration were introduced. Departments replaced cycle commissions. The first departments were of mathematics and technical subjects, language and literature, social-economic and natural disciplines. Shortly other departments were generated.

The institute staff became more experienced. The most sophisticated lecturers and scholars of the institute were granted professor’s degrees. The first who was elected for the position were philologist P. N. Abramovich, psychologist M. O. Puchkivskyi, mathematician M. A. Mihalevich, pedagogue I. I. Afanaseva, zoologist Yu. Yu. Bruher, chemist L. K. Kulbitskyi. 10 lecturers became senior lecturers. Among them were geographer P. H. Postojev, historian L. I. Landa, linguist Ye. S. Brazhnikov. Their part in the scientific life of the institute was prominent. But the future prepared ordeals and obstacles for them.