Challenges and risks of vocational education and training system in Ukraine
In fact this law restricted the right of young people to choose profession and jeopardise the constitutional right to accessible and free vocational education and training.
According to the Law on State Budget, from 1 January 2016 the responsibility to finance VET schools was fully assigned to local budgets, i.e. city budgets in case of large cities and regional budgets in case of small cities and towns.
Due to lack of funds for maintenance of vocational schools many cities decided not to fund them. Some cities and regions provided in their budgets for financing of VET schools the amounts equalling to only 10-50% of last year's funding of VET schools. Many cities refused to fund the professions that were not in demand in the local economy but are needed on the national labour market.
Financing of VET schools from local budgets could lead to closure of many of them, reduction of the number of students that in turn would result in less qualified workforce and increased unemployment. Teachers would also suffer due to possible cuts. The situation with payment of students’ scholarships would worsen. Another problem would be payment of communal services, especially in winter period.
“The Trade Union of Education and Science Workers of Ukraine warned, before the Law of Ukraine on State Budget 2016 was adopted, that there were many risks connected with transfer of financing of VET schools to local budgets. We underlined that this could lead to irreversible consequences and negatively the whole nation’s economy”, Georgiy Trukhanov, President of Trade Union of Education and Science Workers of Ukraine, said.
Due to the protests and numerous appeals of the Trade Union of Education and Science Workers of Ukraine, Federation of Trade Unions of Ukraine and its member organizations to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, MPs, parliamentary committees concerning prevention of the destruction of VET system, the issue received high profile and media attention. It helped to resolve the problem and support vocational education.
On 4 February 2016 the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted the Law amending the State Budget of Ukraine 2016 in part of financing of vocational education and training. In particular the law provides that:
• vocational education and training will be financed from budgets of cities-regional centers in case of VET schools located there and from regional budgets in case of VET schools located in other cities and towns;
• current expenses of vocational schools related to obtaining full secondary education are financed from the educational subvention, targeted grant transferred from state budget;
• the state budget also provides subvention to regional budgets and budgets of cities-regional centers in order to support training of skilled workers in VET and other educational institutions. This type of financing is transferred from the state budget to local budgets twice a month, as in the case of educational and medical subventions.
So, VET schools will be financed from regional budgets and budgets of cities-regional centers, as well as from the state budget through educational subvention and subvention to support training of skilled workers in VET and other educational institutions.