On October 12, Deputy Minister of Finance Sergiy Marchenko participated in the public discussion “Changes in the funding of schools in 2017”. The discussion which took place at the Ukrainian Crisis Media Center was also attended by Deputy Minister of Education and Research Pavlo Khobzey as well as by experts of the Reanimation Package of Reforms and the Analytical Center CEDOS.
What is the problem?
The education system is now affected by a number of problems which must be resolved in a systemic way. These problems include the low quality of school education, missing access to proper education for students from rural areas, low status of the teacher’s job and its devaluation on the labor market, ineffective use of public funds.
What has been done already?
The Government identified education as one of the priority areas for the state budget 2017 and plans the following steps for 2017:
• salary increase for teachers by 33.5% compared to 2016;
• 1.6 billion hryvnas shall be included in the education subsidy in 2017 for complete general education at vocational schools. That means that the state will provide funding for the complete school education of students at vocational schools (this funding was missing in 2016);
• the education subsidy funds shall be spent for teachers’ salaries only. To increase the quality of education, the focus will be set on funding education services instead of school buildings;
• 137 hub schools shall be established to ensure access to proper education in rural areas;
• 393 million hryvnas shall be provided to purchase school books for all pupils;
• the Equalization Fund shall be created for communes whose revenues are not sufficient to properly maintain schools. If the revenues of a commune, due to its spatial specifics, are not sufficient to cover the needs of the local schools, the state shall provide additional subsidies totaling 14.9 billion hryvnas.
What comes next?
The Ministry of Finance is continuing its cooperation with the Ministry of Education and experts to further reform the education system.
The strategic priorities include:
• optimization of the schools and creation of the network of hub schools aimed to improve the quality of school education for children in small towns and settlements. This shall give children in rural areas more opportunities to receive proper higher education and to improve their career opportunities and hence better quality of life;
• upgrade of the teachers’ job. According to Sergiy Marchenko, the task of the Government is to ensure systemic motivation for teachers by offering proper salaries, continuing education trainings and by engaging young professionals;
• improvement of the quality of education.
• education expenses in the consolidated budget for 2017 shall increase by 21.1 billion hryvnas compared to 2016.