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Reforming vocational education and training in Ukraine

Thematic Area: ; VET system assessment; VET Governance
Year/Date: 20/09/2016

Torino Process meeting Kiev

The Torino Process is playing a key role in supporting the reform of Ukraine's system of vocational education and training at a critical point in it development, as an unprecedented process of decentralisation begins.

Delegates at a one-day Torino Process validation workshop on September 20 at Kiev's Taras Shevchenko National University presented the results of 25 regional reports produced as part of a process for contributing to the country's fourth round Torino Process national report.

The regional reports - a unique exercise never before conducted by any other Torino Process participating country - reveal a snapshot of Ukraine's VET system as the country embarks on a process of decentralisation of finance and control of technical and professional education. From next year Kiev city and the country's 24 administrative regions will be responsible for all aspects of VET, though for the first years finance will still come directly from the national budget.

Mykola Kuchynskyi, head of the Vocational Education Department at the Ukrainian Ministry of Education and Science, told the meeting: "These 25 regional reports provide a totally new vision to the Ministry of Education. "This is the first time in many years we have received a holistic picture of the regional VET system."

Although thorny problems of how regions will manage the transfer - a new law governing the process is yet to be formally adopted by the Ukrainian parliament - the process of drawing up regional reports has begun to concentrate the minds of those VET managers who will take on direct responsibility for the delivery of their own programmes.

This round of the Torino Process "coincides with the decentralisation process in Ukraine, where the regional oblasts (administrative units) are supposed to take more responsibility for managing the provider networks," Arjen Vos, the ETF's deputy head of operations, said.

"There is a process of reducing the number of schools to improve quality of provision, therefore they absolutely need to know what is going on in their regions. Preparing these regional reports is one way of getting ready for these reforms. It is an important first step toward gathering the information on which to base decisions."

Pavlo Khobzey, Ukraine's deputy minister of education and science, paid tribute to the support the ETF was giving VET system reform at a "very dramatic" point in its development.

"This year is a very dramatic one for VET because the system is now financed in a different way and not everything was taken into account and the first quarter was very difficult," he said.

"There are some tensions in regions - we have debts in salaries and allowances for students; this process of decentralisation shows us all the acute problems that exist."

He added: "This is a great challenge. The government accepts that 2017 is last year that VET will be financed centrally from the state budget. "For the Ministry it is so important to have this analysis. We are going to be guided by these regional reports [for the national country report]. You must discuss these reports with each and every stakeholder; these are not reports to be put on the shelf - they must be used at the regional level."

Despite the challenges - and sometimes heated exchanges between some of the 50 delegates who attended the workshop, held in the university's ornate Academic Council Hall under the watchful eye of portraits of rectors dating back to the 1830s - those attending remained positive that the work they are undertaking within the Torino Process will help support them at a critical time.

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