Since 1991 we have been supporting Ukraine to develop education and training to boost employability, increase access to opportunity and promote social cohesion. Complementing the work of the EU’s External Action Service, we bring together ministries and social partners to develop scalable projects.
The EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, which includes a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), is bringing Ukraine and the EU closer together by promoting deeper political ties and stronger economic links.
The ETF is supporting Ukraine key stakeholders in the development of viable policies for skills and the Vocational Education and Training sector. The implementation of the Torino Process across all 24 regions of the Ukraine in 2016 helped build understanding about the challenges surrounding education and training and created opportunities for capacity development and regional policy making. We are also working actively with the EU Delegation in Ukraine to support the development of a package of EU assistance for this sector in the 2018-20 EU programming cycle.
Political context and priorities
Ukraine has experienced acute political, security, and economic challenges during the past three years. Since the “Maidan” uprising in February 2014 that led to the ousting of the previous president, the country has witnessed several momentous events, including the outbreak of conflict in eastern Ukraine and presidential, parliamentary, and local elections. The Government, which took office in April 2016, has committed to an ambitious and wide-ranging reform agenda.
A key priority is the development of human capital. Focusing on decentralisation, the Medium-Term Priority Action Plan of the Government Until 2020 places emphasis on ensuring high quality and affordable secondary education and the development of vocational training. Also underlined is the need for quality in higher education and providing new opportunities for science and research funding.
Following the 2015 recession driven by political and economic instability, the Ukrainian economy is recovering modestly. The World Bank Doing Business 2017 ranked Ukraine in 20th place out of 190 global economies on the ease of starting a business.
The education and training attainment level of the population is high. In 2016, only 2% of Ukrainians aged over 15 had primary education or lower; 45.5% had secondary education; and 52.6% had completed or were engaged in tertiary education. The country is significantly affected by skills shortages, exacerbated by the aging population. A major challenge is to retain the talent and ensure that young people have opportunities.
Education and labour policies
September 2017 saw major reform, with the Education Law introducing the concept of the ‘New Ukrainian School’. This is a system to equip young people with skills and competences rather than simply knowledge acquisition and accumulation. The Ministry of Social Policy has established a multi-stakeholder Working Group, in charge of skills anticipation and labour market forecasting. A process of establishing independent centres for the recognition of non-formal vocational learning outcomes is on-going.
Decentralisation of education and training is recognised as a prerequisite for the adaptation of skills, competences and vocational qualifications to the needs of the local and regional economy.
EU support and the ETF
In Autumn 2016 the EU allocated €200 million for two major programmes in support of Ukrainian small and medium enterprises and decentralisation reform. EU SURE: EU Support to Ukraine to Relaunch the Economy, provides policy advice on the ongoing deregulation of SMEs and supports the national and regional economic development strategies. Special measure for decentralisation reform in favour of Ukraine enhances the institutional capacity of keyactors at central, regional and local levels, to improve the delivery of local administrative services and foster economic development.
Capitalizing on opportunities created with reform priorities in Ukraine related to human capital development, job creation, industrial competitiveness, innovation and entrepreneurship, ETF is focusing on:
- support to the EU in developing an external assistance intervention for vocational education and training development in Ukraine in the 2018-20 EU programing cycle
- support to VET Decentralization
- support to relevant bodies and institutions to implement the Action Plan for the National Qualifications Framework, and improve the internal efficiency of the system
- support to entrepreneurial learning