Ukrainian students for decent future!
On 7 April 2016 one and a half thousand of Ukrainian students took part in the warning rally in the Shevchenko park near the National University of Kyiv. Students stood up to defend the decent future.
The action was coordinated by the Federation of Trade Unions of Ukraine and supported by the Trade Union of Educational Workers of Ukraine and other sectoral trade unions. Totally trade unions organise more than 1 million students thoughout Ukraine that now are ready to fight for their rights.
Students’ trade union activists stressed that in most cases authorities ignored students’ interests adopting laws that reduced students’ rights and failing to fulfil the legislation that provided for at least minimum social and economic protection of students. Thus the draft law recently prepared by the Ministry of Education provides that from 1 September 2016 only 15% of students would receive scholarships, thereby almost 500 thousand students could be denied of their main income.
Besides, states authorities continue their attempts to interfere in the trade union activities and adopt laws discriminating students’ trade unions.
The aim of the protest was to draw public attention to systematic attacks on youth rights, in particular reducing access to quality high education, limited and low scholarships, lack of halls of residence with adequate living conditions for students, poor health care, cutting of social protection of vulnerable groups of students, etc. Participants in the action also demanded to increase state scholarship to the level of living minimum and pay it to all students with good performance and ensure realisation of students’ constitutional right to join trade unions to protect their rights and interests.
For the last three years state financing of education has reduced from 7.11% to 5% GDP while the legislation guarantees that at least 10% of the national income should be spent on education.
It resulted in slashed state order for specialists prepared in higher education establishments, outdated material and technical equipment at universities, part indexation of scholarships, absence of first job guarantees for graduates, etc. Today the state scholarship for university students is UAH 825 and UAH 622 for students of colleges and VET schools. It is respectively 60% and 46,8% of the living minimum, though the last is guaranteed by the Law of Ukraine on Higher Education.
After the rally youth marched along the central streets to the Government quarters and handed the resolution of the rally to the Government of Ukraine. On the Maidan Nezalezhnosti participants honoured the Heroes of Heavenly Hundred.
On the day before the information agency UNIAN hosted a press-conference “Why the future is under threat or authorities play against the youth of Ukraine”.
The speakers at the press-conference were the leaders of students’ trade union movement from different regions of Ukraine who underlined that the reduction of the state order had already brought systemic and inevitable consequences, absence of guarantees of getting first job discriminated graduates at the labour market. She also focused on inadequate level of scholarships not enough for students to live on.
The support for the youth and giving young people the opportunities to realize themselves is the prerequisite for the stable development of the civil society and the whole state!