VET and Skills for Socio-Economic and Regional Development in Ukraine
The European Union strongly supports groundbreaking reform of vocational education and training (VET) in Ukraine, an area flagged as a priority by the government.
The EU’s Ambassador to the country, Hugues Mingarelli, made the comments in the presence of the Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman and Education Minister Liliya Hrynevych.
They joined key stakeholders at a high-level policy forum looking at how VET and skills can contribute to socio-economic and regional development. The programme was organised by the European Training Foundation (ETF) together with the Ukrainian Ministry of Education and Federation of Employers.
Ambassador Mingarelli praised the adoption of a three-year national action plan placing human resources, education and training among its top priorities. ‘You can rely on us,’ he said, in remarks directed to the prime minister and minister.
‘We are here to help you, and you can be sure that if there is the political will on your side, we will mobilise all our resources to support you. It is reassuring to know that we are investing our time and resources in an area that is a priority for the Ukrainian government. VET reform has ‘reached a crucial phase’ and it is vital vocational education finds its place within the system of developing the country's human resources.'
Stimulating Economic and Regional Growth through VET
Responsibility for VET is being devolved to Ukraine's 25 regions (including the capital, Kyiv) meaning day-to-day management and control of the system's 787 training schools and 285,000 students will rest with regional authorities within a national framework of qualifications and professional profiles.
The ambassador said reform is timely, noting that the EU Delegation was finalising assistance programmes for 2018-2020. ‘It is very important for us to be able to regard training and education as key sectors.’
The EU's priority in Ukraine is to implement its Association Agreement and Deep and Comprehensive Trade Agreement, and to gradually absorb its economy into the single market; education and training are key elements to both agreements, Mr Mingarelli said.
‘When it comes to stimulating economic growth regional growth and job creation we cannot reach any result without VET. All the elements are here and right to invest massively in formation of human resources through appropriate VET programmes.’
High on the Political Agenda
In his opening remarks, Ukrainian Prime Minster Volodymyr Groysman stressed the importance that his government is placing on VET.
‘We have defined education as a priority starting with pre-school education and secondary, now we have turned to vocational education and training and are working to improve higher education so that it matches the needs of today.’
‘Ukraine's developing economy needs qualified workers and when we look at the training system we can see it does not match real needs and needs to be modified and changed.’
In response to a question from ETF Director Madlen Serban, urging him to deputise a member of his cabinet to oversee an inter-ministerial committee to ensure key points in a draft law on VET were met, the prime minister agreed.
‘VET and education in general are top priorities for me; we need to change the system. I am convinced we shall shape a new legal framework.’
Green Paper: Moving Forward Together
The ETF and Ukrainian Ministry of Education have identified key challenges to address in the new VET laws, expected to pass parliament this autumn.
· harmonising decision-making powers at national, regional, local and school levels to ensure good multi-level VET governance under devolution
· optimising regional VET networks through transferring VET property ownership to the regions
· rationalisation of VET schools through closures and mergers and greater autonomy in staff recruitment
· encouraging public-private partnerships with employers, professional bodies, business associations, industry federations and the public