Kyiv, 5 September 2014 – Right before the Law of Ukraine “On Higher Education” comes into force Serhiy Kvit, the Minister for Education and Science of Ukraine at a briefing in the Ukraine Crisis Media Center presented further steps to reform Ukrainian education and science sector.
Mr. Kvit informed that the framework Law “On Education” is being currently developed, considerable attention in it is being paid to secondary and vocational education. According to the Minister firsthand tasks referring to the secondary education system include the need to decrease the number of teachers as the number of pupils has also been decreased, optimization of school networks, increase of teachers’ salaries, defining teachers’ workload. “There exists moratorium for closing down schools, however there are schools that actually do not function, have no pupils. We need to understand that moratoriums are not the way to resolve problems,” noted the Minister.
When speaking on the models for reforming vocational education the Minister for Education and Science quoted examples of Germany and the Netherlands. “The Netherlands are Europe’s most interesting and successful country as to the vocational education. For example, Dutch Prime Minister teaches in a vocational school in The Hague, it is considered to be prestigious both for the school and for him. We will use best organizational practices of the Dutch vocational education system,” he explained.
As to the reforms in the science sector Serhiy Kvit relies on experience of Slovakia and Poland. According to him representatives of the Ministry and the specialized committee of the Ukrainian Parliament had an opportunity to adopt these practices during study visits to the ministries and leading universities of these countries. “Their experience is interesting to us because their sciences and scientific research was very similar to ours as we all had the Academy of sciences system. However the Poles do not have our problems firstly due to the difference between scientific research conducted in academic institutions and universities.
Our university research activities had much less weight than in Poland,” explained Mr. Kvit. The Minister also informed that before new year starts the Ministry along with the specialized committee of the Ukrainian Parliament plan to submit the Law “On sciences and research-and-
development activity” for consideration to the Parliament of Ukraine.
When commenting on the adopted law “On Higher Education” Serhiy Kvit noted: “This law is first of all an instrument that should be used by the universities to really become independent in financial, academic and organizational way. The academic community needs to take the responsibility in their hands, the rest we will overcome.”
When speaking on the current problems Mr. Kvit noted that “one of the key issues is to disburse from the budget necessary money for reforms as the war is on and it is a number 1 priority. Another problem is the inertia of civil servants – many of them do not understand what the university autonomy is. The Law “On higher education” is important because the state has to control the quality of the final product, quality of graduates and scientific research, but in its everyday life the university has to deal with things on its own.”
The Minister also informed that on 6 September at 10.00 in the National University named after Taras Shevchenko the programme for implementation of the Law “On Higher Education” will be presented for principals of the leading Ukrainian universities and their deputies.