Victor Yushchenko has presented state awards to Ukraine’s best educators, according to the President`s press-office.

      In his speech, the President said the role of pedagogues in society was immensely important, “for teachers mould outlooks and values of their pupils.”

      “I am convinced the most important goal of any school is to bring up citizens. You must teach children to love their motherland and be proud of being citizens of their country,” he said.

      Mr. Yushchenko opined that good education was a key to progress of any nation, helping it face challenges.

      “We must be Europe’s most educated nation,” he said.

      The Head of State said the government had introduced independent testing at schools to fairly evaluate knowledge and root out corruption. He added that the cabinet had also established scholarships and prizes to honor the most gifted students and teachers.

      He said the welfare of Ukrainian educators was improving and hopes they will earn as much as industrial workers in a couple of years.

      Mr. Yushchenko explained that his kind attitude toward teachers was due to his origin, for he “was born into a family of teachers and saw this hard work.”

      “I think this profession is holy,” he said, wishing those present a happy Teacher’s Day, which is celebrated on October 1, success and “generous fruits of their tireless labor.” 

      Ukraine’s Education Minister Stanislav Nikolayenko attended the award ceremony.