On November 29, deputy Minister of Finance Sergiy Marchenko and Minister of Science and Education Liliya Hrynevych met representatives of trade unions and student activists to discuss changes in financing scholarships in 2017.
During the meeting the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Education presented the students their vision of the scholarship system. In the course of the budget process both ministries actively discussed this topic in public engaging experts and citizens and finally approved the decision to launch the new mechanism for paying scholarship starting from January 1, 2017. It was agreed to grant social scholarships to students who are in need of financial support and academic scholarships for students with high performance in study.
What’s it about?
The Ministry of Finance proposes to reduce the number of scholarship recipients by approx. 25% and to almost double the scholarship for the remaining students. Scholarship funding for 2017 should be increased by 576 million hryvnas to 5.8 billion hryvnas compared to 2016. These funds shall be used more effectively: 2.84 billion hryvnas are assigned for the academic scholarships in the draft budget for 2017; they shall be paid according to the performance rating of students. 2.98 billion hryvnas are assigned as social scholarships for students who really need state support.
Another approach which was discussed stipulates that 43% of the students shall receive academic scholarships based on their performance rating and 7% of the students shall be entitled to receive social scholarships. In total, scholarships shall be granted to 50% of the students (compared to the current 75%). The scholarship shall also be significantly increased. For instance, best performers at higher education facilities (accreditation grade III and IV) could see the scholarship increased by approx. 75% to 1600 hryvnas which is approximately equal to the living wage.
Why is it important?
During the discussion, deputy Minister of Finance Sergiy Marchenko emphasized that the Ministry of Finance had initiated a number of changes in education funding which should stimulate a systemic reform in the field of education.
“Our goal is to improve the quality of education in Ukraine. The reform of scholarships is a part of our systemic reform in this field. Now scholarships will only be granted to top performers and to socially vulnerable students. Academic scholarships shall be based on the performance rating compiled by the respective higher education institution”, the deputy Minister of Finance said.
Another issue which was discussed refers to the possibility to pay scholarships to top performers who pay for their study. The Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Education are now discussing this idea.
“It must be ensured that the Parliament supports all presented initiatives and adopts the budget for the next year on time, since the new scholarship regulations can’t be valid without that”, Sergiy Marchenko said.
The Ministry of Finance proposes to grant the academic scholarships to 40% of the students in 2017 gradually bringing this number closer to the European average of 15% and increasing the scholarships accordingly by 2020.