In education and training, Ukrainians speak with one voice
On the photo from right to left: Timo Kuusela, ETF country manager for Ukraine; Viacheslav Suprun, Director of VET at the Ministry of Science and Education; Aleksei Miroshnichenko, Vice President of the Federation of Employers of Ukraine.
In Kiev, Ukraine’s capital, the ETF brought together the delegates from all Ukrainian regions to discuss the country’s future education, training and employment. The conference was organised in the framework of the Torino Process on 20 May.
The ETF work in Ukraine
In the past two years the ETF experts have worked with the Ukrainian counterparts on three broad issues: reform of qualifications and validation of non-formal and informal learning; anticipating skills needs; and the review of vocational education and training (VET) under the Torino Process. The meeting was an opportunity to share the results and experience of the ETF-supported projects in Kiev, Dnepropetrovsk, Khmelnitsky, and Sumy regions.
Education: no side-issue specialism
But can you discuss future policy reforms when the country’s present – the conflict in the east, the upcoming presidential elections– is on everyone’s mind?
Aleksei Miroshnichenko, who joined the meeting, thinks that you can and you should. He is vice president of the Federation of Employers of Ukraine, a powerful organization representing Ukraine’s industry and business.
‘The question of education is always important for business and for Ukraine,’ says Miroshnichenko. ‘Indeed, Ukraine is experiencing the crisis, political crisis in the east, annexation of Crimea, economic crisis. But business trusts in the future of Ukraine, and the future is based on two things: stability and education.’
VET schools in eastern Ukraine
Stability or lack thereof is something that Vera Averkina, head of vocational education and training at the Department of Education and Science in the eastern region of Donetsk, has first-hand knowledge about. She oversees 111 VET institutions and more than 35,000 students.
‘Situation is quite complicated, but I wouldn’t call it instable,’ says Averkina. ‘All four schools in Sloviansk and five in Krematorsk [the towns that saw most violence] are open, yet the problem is in the attendance numbers.’
Averkina says that during troubles in Krematorsk only 30 percent of students came to school. In Sloviansk, during the toughest four days, students didn’t go to schools at all. In calmer days attendance is no more than 60 percent. Sloviansk is cut off from other parts of the region and students can’t reach their schools.
The ETF doing it's part for one Ukraine
Miroshnichenko believes it’s good that the ETF has managed to bring representatives of all Ukrainian regions in one place to discuss their country’s challenges.
‘It is your contribution to our unity,’ he says.