The reform on education threatens the political stability of the country and worsens the situation in education itself. It should be abolished.
The Opposition Bloc has already demanded to veto the law on education as a threat of increasing tensions in a number of Ukrainian regions. According to its norms, from 2018, studies in the languages of national minorities will be allowed only in grades 1-4, and from 2020 – it is forbidden at all. This is a violation of the Constitution, which affects people speaking Russian, and a number of other nationalities. This is a violation of our obligations to the European Union, which has already provoked protests of the governments of Poland, Hungary and Romania, President of Moldova. Moreover, Hungary in connection with the adoption of this law declared blocking any diplomatic initiatives aimed at supporting Ukraine.
However, the language issue is not the only reason why this “reform” should be abolished. There are a lot of economic and social reasons why it is unacceptable for the education sector.
First, the declared financing of education is reduced from 10% of the national income to 7% of GDP. In reality, the situation is even worse. Over the past three years, according to the calculations of the Opposition Bloc experts, financing of education in real terms (that is, taking into account inflation) has halved, and its share in GDP has fallen from 7% to 5.7%. At the same time, in the budget resolution for 2018, there is a decrease in the flow of expenditures for education on the general fund of the state budget by 1.6%. In general, until 2020, the costs under this item are planned to increase by only 12.8% – with the forecasted total inflation for 2018-20 in 19%.
Secondly, the law declares that the salary for a teacher without experience and category will be risen to the level of three subsistence minimums by 2023, which, according to the estimates of the Ministry of Finance, will require UAH 160 billion in the next five years. However, in the budget resolution for 2018-20 these funds are not available: all expenses for the project “New School” – UAH 2.4 billion UAH.
Thirdly, the law reduces access to education. Since 2014, the number of schools in Ukraine has already decreased by 4% (from 17.6 to 16.9 thousand), and the number of teachers – by 3.5% (from 454 to 438 thousand people). At the same time, the law simplifies the creation of basic schools, which will lead to a further reduction in the number of schools in the villages. Already in the beginning of the academic year, according to the Ministry of Education, there will be 16 566 of them.
In addition, the introduction of external testing after grade 9 worsens the possibility of obtaining secondary education: those who do not pass it may not fall into the next class. At the same time, at 15 years on the labor market, they – without education and qualification – will also not be in demand.
Not to take into account all the factors listed above means to increase tension in society, reduce the level of education of citizens and even create foreign policy problems for Ukraine. The law should be abolished, and the development of this reform should be entrusted to professionals who do not confuse social issues with politics.