Authorities and experts introduce new sanitary regulations for kindergartens. Changes seek to deregulate the sector, annul outdated standards, pave the way for private business.
Kyiv, June 2, 2016. From now on preschool facilities in Ukraine will operate based on new, modernized sanitary standards that will bring them closer to EU institutions. By deregulating and annulling outdated standards business will be motivated to actively setup the educational facilities. It is expected to help solve the problem of access to services offered by preschool facilities in a longer perspective, said representatives of Ukraine’s Ministry of Education and Science, of the National Reforms Council’s project office and of Ukraine’s State Sanitary and Epidemiological Service.
Olena Zaplotynska, project manager at the National Reforms Council noted that while in most of EU member states kindergartens for children under the age of three are private institutions, in Ukraine the segment is under-developed. “According to our conclusion this sector is not developing [in Ukraine] due to excessive regulatory nature. […] In Scandinavian countries these regulations are not in place at all. It probably explains the fact that preschool education embraces almost 80-90 percent of children there. The less the sector is regulated, the better it develops,” explained Zaplotynska.
Experts were drawing on best European practices when designing the new sanitary regulations. The final document balances the interests of parties and is based on risk-assessment. “In the document we set the section for mandatory requirements so that a child feels safe and comfortable. All the rest we left in the recommendations section,” said Stanislav Protas, acting head of Ukraine’s State Sanitary and Epidemiological Service.
One of the innovations includes abolishing mandatory certificate from a local pediatrician in case a child does not show up in kindergarten for over three days (in case there are no visible signs of illness). “We also annulled mandatory measuring of the body temperature and throat check in case no outbreaks of infectious diseases are in place,” added Protas. Parents on their part have to make sure that the child comes to the kindergarten healthy.
New regulation abolishes a series of requirements that were groundlessly blocking development of privately-owned kindergartens. Thus consent was provided to place kindergarten in apartment houses, outsource children’s catering, cleaning and laundry services. “Kindergartens are now able to order food from catering companies. These economic operators will though have to introduce the so-called HACCP – Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point system [that guarantees production of safe food products by identifying and controlling dangerous factors – UCMC],” noted Protas. “Kindergartens can use public laundry services in case they do not have their own facilities and if the laundries do not service medical institutions,” added Tamara Panasyuk, Head of preschool education department at Ukraine’s Ministry of Education and Science. “Responsible for low-quality food provision as well as for other services will be service providers. We thus lift responsibility from heads of educational institutions,” noted Protas.
New regulation also abolishes standards for equipping playgrounds and land plots. Head of the kindergarten may now decide upon the functionality of premises. The color of walls and furniture is not regulated anymore, it is only noted that they need to be in clear colors. Ban on the use of double deck beds was lifted so that the problem of lack of space in bedrooms can be resolved. “These beds are not hazardous, they are designed to be used in educational institutions,” reassured Olena Daneesh, director of Kyiv-based “Prolisok” school-kindergarten. Panasyuk noted that the novelty does not foresee increase in number of children in the group: previous standards apply – 20 children in the group and up to 15 in nursery.
Daneesh also noted that the new regulation consents the use of interactive boards and IT technologies however limits the time of their use. Strict requirements as to the appearance of kindergarten teachers that relate to make-up and manicure standards, wearing bijouterie were lifted. “Still the teachers need to stick to the line between the allowed and reasonable,” emphasized Daneesh.
Panasyuk also said that a new type of preschool facilities – corporate kindergartens will appear in Ukraine soon. “Private-public partnership is foreseen to finance such educational facilities,” she noted. State financing of such kindergartens will be based on the principle “the money follows a child”. “What the state is supposed to provide for a child in the framework of the private-public partnership will be paid to the corporate kindergarten attended by the child. Rest will be covered by the parents,” explained the Head of the Ministry’s preschool education department.
Ukraine’s Ministry of Education and Science has already worked out respective draft amendments to the law “On preschool education”. “We hope that respective changes will be adopted in the nearest time. Provision on corporate preschool education facilities will be adopted right after respective changes to the law “On preschool education” are introduced,” noted Panasyuk.
She also noted that the Ministry will soon initiate changes to regulations for secondary school.