Mr. Tabachnyk, the Minister of Education, boasts of the achievements in pre-school education, although Transcarpathian kindergartens are sorely lacking free places, and parents should cover all the expenses.
Recently, the Minister of Education Dmytro Tabachnyk boasted that since he takes his position 476 kindergartens were opened in Ukraine and none of the existing got closed. This figure is not astonishing because this particular minister said that only Kyiv needs 700 of such institutions. Besides, Mr. Tabachnyk likes to flaunt the achievements he did not apply any efforts to.
Indeed, some new kindergartens were opened in Transcarpathia for the last two years, but credit for this should be given to the Regional Council, which had consistently championed the need to increase the number of facilities for kids, approved a regional program of preschool education and announced last year as a year of preschool education. Relations with the Czech Vysočina have contributed a lot to this programme. Partners co-funded the construction of several kindergartens in Transcarpathia. This year the work is continued. "Although the year of preschool education in Transcarpathia was announced in 2011, this year we continue to actively construct and reconstruct kindergartens," - stressed the Head of the Transcarpathian Regional Council Ivan Baloga during his visit to Vinogradiv district, where child care facilities are being built in four villages. Two new kindergartens admitted pre-schoolers only this year, and another one should be opened soon in Makaryovo in Mukachevo district.
However, regional executive power, directly subordinated to the Ministry, is not rushing to solve the problem of Transcarpathian kindergartens. So parents are not satisfied that the kindegartens are overflown, children have to be put in a list far in advance.
The lowest percentage of kindergarten attendance is in Rakhiv and Tyachiv districts. According to statistics, only every fifth child from 2 to 4 years visits a pre-school institution.
As often our men in power like to say: children are the future of our nation. But as practice shows, somehow the officials do not hurry to take care about it.
The situation in some villages is critical, indeed, if not catastrophic. A vivid example is Kolochava at Mizhgirya district. After the collapse of the Soviet Union all the child care facilities were reconstructed and restructured . Various organizations are now replacing children. In fact, pre-school education as one of the educational stages had totally disappeared here. When they started to think about the need for pre-school education, it was too late. Parents are forced to drive their children to village first-aid medical station.The preschoolers share one room with different patients.
The situation is not much better in Lukovo in Irshava district. In the village there are 150 preschoolers. And only 46 of them found a place in the kindergarten. 34 applications from parents still cannot be complied with. And the kindergarten has many problems. Firstof all, old beds are to be replaced. At the moment children sleep in old iron beds used since the institution was built in the 60's. But the main problem is not even in the age of beds, but in number: 38 while the required quantity is 4 times higher.
In the remote village of Chorna Tysa not any child is attending the kindergarten. Former child care institution for 70 kids burned down. It happened six months ago, and children still have no place to obtain a pre-school education. At the moment all the children in the Chorna Tysa are staying at home, and educators are forced to an unpaid leave.
The situation with nursing schools in Tyachiv district is generally ugly, but management and staff of kindergartens are trying to do everything possible to create normal conditions for children. They say that kindergartens are being upgraded to modern requirements. But it is hard to do after the decline in post-Soviet period. Due to problems with funding kindergartens are difficult to maintain because village budgets, which should cover the expenses of schools, do not always take their needs into account .
Problem also lies in a lack of places in kindergartens. For example, in the village Uhlya parents have to put their children into the register far in advance in order not to miss their turn to send a child to kindergarten.
"In 2010 the Cabinet of Ministers decided to expand the network of preschool educational institutions in order to reach a larger percentage of children with pre-school education," - says Anna Sopkova, the Deputy Head of Education and Science department of the Transcarpathian Regional State Administration. - "Today the region has 553 pre-schools, which cover only 50% of children of this age according to statistics, while generally in Ukraine this figure reached only 57%. Speaking about the 2011-2012, the coverage was increased by 8%, but this is far from being enough.
State funds cover only legally protected expense items: salaries, food and energy, but these costs do not even cover the food costs necessary to meet all quality and nutritional requirements."
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