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Ukraine moves forward with historic education reform

Year/Date: 13/09/2017

Ukraine, new law

The Ukrainian national parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, has adopted a new framework law on education, bringing the system closer to European standards.

The new law, passed on September 5, ushers in a 12-year school system in place of the current 11 years, with compulsory education to age 18. It shifts the Ukrainian system away from the former Soviet model, in which the Ministry of Education determined the content of curricula, and closer to European models, in which the Government adopts educational standards, with educational institutions free to develop curricula, content and teaching methods in order to deliver them.

The new law provides that Ukraine’s education will receive at least 7% of GDP from national, regional and local budgets and other sources of funding, and opens the door for limited self-funding of public educational institutions.

'This is a basic law. Its approval unlocks further education reforms and the adoption of laws on secondary education, vocational education and adult education…[It] is a chance for our education system to change." announced Ukrainian Minister of Education and Science, Liliya Hrynevych.

The ETF cooperated closely with the Ukrainian Government, together with experts mobilised by the EU TAIEX programme, in the development of the law, providing advice and support on key aspects such as lifelong learning, quality assurance and decentralisation. It was also involved in the drafting process, commenting on successive drafts of the law and participating in parliamentary hearings.

'This is a very modern law, reflecting up-to-date ideas on education. The ETF has accompanied the Ukrainians throughout this process.' explained ETF Senior Expert Arjen Deij. 'It’s a good example of what we can achieve when the political will is there, by responding to needs, bringing the actors together and empowering them to develop home-grown solutions in line with European and international good practice.'

The ETF continues to work closely with the Ukrainian Ministry of Education and Science on education and training policy. A jointly developed Green Paper on the decentralisation of vocational education and training (VET) was presented in Kiyv in April of this year in the presence of Ukrainian Prime Minister, Volodymyr Groysman, and EU Ambassador, Hugues Mingarelli. The results of this work will feed into a new law on VET that is expected to come before the Ukrainian Parliament later this year. The EU has pledged to support the Ukrainian Government in implementing it. “If there is the political will on your side, we will mobilise all our resources to support you.” declared Ambassador Mingarelli in April.

The ETF is now working on two fronts: supporting the Ministry by providing expert advice and facilitating stakeholder dialogue on the forthcoming VET law, and supporting the EU Delegation in designing a major assistance programme for the VET sector. “In Ukraine, legislation drives strategic reforms.' said ETF Desk Officer for Ukraine, Margareta Nikolovska. “The new VET Law is extremely important for skills development and economic growth in the country. Together with the Ministry of Education and other key stakeholders, we will support dialogue on the new VET law, and see how we can embed it in the ongoing decentralisation process.'

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