Law On Financing of Higher Education Will Make Education Unaffordable for Most Ukrainians

On March 20, 2024, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine voted in favor of the draft law «On Amendments to Certain Laws of Ukraine on Financing Higher Education and Providing State Targeted Support to its Applicants» No. 10399. 

This law destroys the system of training personnel for the basic sectors of Ukraine's economy – construction, energy, mining and processing, agriculture and agro-industrial complex, and other engineering sectors – which are essential for the state both during the war and in the post-war reconstruction period.

The implementation of the so-called «grant» funding will lead to a redistribution of funds for training these specialists for «popular» professions – lawyers, economists, managers, journalists, foreign policy makers, etc. The draft law will be beneficial for private higher education institutions, which, unfortunately, do not graduate engineers and technologists for the real sector of the economy.

The law will have the greatest impact on children from rural areas, who have the highest educational losses as a result of the pandemic and war. 

According to the independent international PISA study, these children are five years behind their urban peers. Therefore, graduates of rural schools will receive low scores and, accordingly, the lowest amount of grants, which will force them all to pay for higher education.

At the same time, they will be deprived of scholarships. Adoption of the law will inevitably lead to an increase in prices for private education to the level of cost, making it unaffordable for most Ukrainians!

 Statement of the Trade Union on the Financing of Higher Education

The Trade Union of Education and Science Workers of Ukraine strongly disagrees with the adoption of the Law of Ukraine «On Amendments to Certain Laws of Ukraine on Financing Higher Education and Providing State Targeted Support to its Applicants», draft No. 10399, adopted by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on March 20 as a basis.

According to Article 53 of the Constitution of Ukraine, the state shall ensure accessibility and free higher education in state and municipal educational institutions, as well as the provision of state scholarships and benefits to pupils and students. Citizens have the right to receive free higher education in state and municipal educational institutions on a competitive basis. These guarantees are reflected in Article 4 of the Law of Ukraine «On Education» and Article 4 of the Law of Ukraine «On Higher Education».

We would like to emphasize that Article 22 of the Constitution of Ukraine prohibits the narrowing of the content and scope of existing rights and freedoms when adopting laws and amending them. Article 43 of the Constitution of Ukraine guarantees the implementation of training programs in accordance with public needs.

However, the draft amendments to the law «On Higher Education» do not take into account these constitutional provisions. Instead, it is about ensuring the right to receive higher education with the tuition paid for by state grants, preferential long-term loans, and vouchers.

We strongly protest against the removal from the Law «On Higher Education» of the provisions on state order in the amount of at least 51% of graduates of general secondary education institutions and at least 50% of bachelors for master's programs, as well as training of at least 180 students for every 10 thousand people.

Due to the constant lack of state funds, the exclusion of these norms threatens to provide free higher education and significantly reduce the state order, situational, subjective determination of its limits.

The proposed system of financing higher education does not comply with the Budget Code of Ukraine in terms of the implementation of so-called «state grants». 

The introduction of long-term preferential loans for higher education students through state-owned banks and the conditions for its provision in the form of a guarantee by higher education institutions cannot be supported. 

All of these innovations will decrease the number of scholarship recipients, including social scholarships.

We express our disagreement with the redistribution of funds for the benefit of private higher education institutions.

We express our disagreement with the redistribution of funds for the benefit of private higher education institutions. 

We also call on the MPs of Ukraine to comply with the decision of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine in case No. 1-4/2004 No. 5-rp/2004 on accessibility and free education and the possibility of obtaining higher education in state and municipal educational institutions without paying any form of fee for educational services in accordance with the level, content, amount, and standards defined by law on a competitive basis in accordance with Article 53 of the Constitution of Ukraine. 

The main source of funding for higher education institutions should be state funding of the education sector in the amount of not less than 7% of GDP in accordance with Article 78 of the Law of Ukraine «On Education».

The amount of state funding for higher education should ensure the implementation of guarantees for remuneration of research and teaching staff provided for in Article 61 of the Law of Ukraine «On Education», as well as scholarships for students in the amount of 40-45% of the total number of full-time students enrolled in state-funded education.

Especially in the conditions of martial law, declining incomes, rising unemployment, when the number of people who can pay for higher education is decreasing, and the risks of citizens reorienting to obtaining it abroad, we urge the MPs of Ukraine to take the above into account when finalizing the draft law No. 10399 «On Amendments to Certain Laws of Ukraine on Financing Higher Education and Providing State Targeted Support to its Applicants».


International Department

2
27 березня 2024
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