According to a survey by the Centre for Economic Strategy, 49,4 per cent of Ukrainians would like to know more about education reform, 58 per cent – about pension reform ,and 55 per cent – about the healthcare reform. 47 per cent are almost unaware of privatization reform (privatization of public enterprises), however, 84 per cent agree that politicians are stealing money from public enterprises.
“One of the reasons of unawareness about reforms is poor communication of the Government on the one hand and populist messages against reforms on the other hand. Successful reforms are impossible without good communication, and this needs significant efforts,” explained Hlib Vyshlinsky, co-chairman of the Board of the Reanimation Package of Reforms, executive director of the Centre for Economic Strategy, presenting results of the survey at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.
Pension reform is in the top of best-explained to the public; only 22 per cent said they know nothing about it. 84 per cent of respondents agree that calculation of pensions with reference to employment record is a fair decision. In terms of trust to comments about pension reform, 41 per cent of people believe it is necessary to give priority to the opinion of independent experts, 31 per cent – to employees’ opinion, 22 per cent – to opinion of the retirees.
Only 17 per cent of respondents say they have enough information about education reform. The level of support to education reform is higher among those people, who back the idea that schools together with local authorities should have autonomy in decisions how to distribute funds allocated for their needs from the state budget.
70 per cent of Ukrainians say they are aware of the healthcare reform, but 55 per cent would like to know more. The majority of people prefer to trust the opinion of patients’ NGOs (40 per cent), 34 per cent – of independent experts, 33 per cent – opinion of the healthcare workers. 88 oer cent feel positive about the possibility to choose family doctor. However, two thirds of respondents think that no matter how the funds for the healthcare are managed, a part will be stolen anyway.
The experts explained that people usually have ambiguous opinion about reforms. “Populists are trying to show the world in black and white, and now they try to undermine public support to reforms, basing their “political capital” on the negative”, says Dmytro Yablonovsky, senior economist at the Center for Economic Strategy, expert of the Reanimation Package of Reforms.
To ensure wider public support to reforms, it is necessary to provide easy and clear explanation of complicated things, to choose the right channels of communication between the Government and the citizens, emphasized Hlib Vyshlinskyi. “The success of any changes, including nationwide reforms, requires two crucial preconditions. The first one is the capacity to implement this change, which includes the political will, the team of reformers and understanding what should be done. The second one is public support, and this is very important. It is very difficult to implement any reforms if people do not support them and oppose them,” stressed Anton Yashchenko, executive director of the Office of Reforms of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine.
Over 2 000 Ukrainians throughout the country were interviewed via telephone in July – September 2017, the majority of interviews took place in August. The survey was conducted by the Centre for Economic Strategy with support of the Embassy of the Czech Republic to Ukraine.