Reforming of higher education in Ukraine is scheduled for this year – which is shocking and, according to some workers in this sector, will lead to its collapse. On March 12 the President approved the National Action Plan for this year. The document says a lot about the reform of higher education.
Hitting the universities
The primary task according to the plan is to increase the load to 18 students per a teacher. The present rate is 9-12 students. Practically the reform will lead to the fact that from one third to a half of the teachers would be simply useless for the universities and institutes, and technicians, assistants, etc. who assist the teachers will also become redundant.
The authors of the reforms explain that this workload is a kind of some European standard. However, educationalists do not believe them.
"In Europe there are no standards by which a teacher should have 18 students. Anyone who wants to prove that such a distribution exists in Western universities is deliberately misleading society. This is absurd, "- said the Rector of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy Serhiy Kvit in an interview to LB.ua . According to him, Ukrainian universities now have a lot of problems due to the lack of financial support and the reform will strike an irreparable blow to them.
"Universities will have to massively dismiss teachers, and those who remain, will perform the work for themselves and for the dismissed ones. Our universities will be razed to the ground, "- he said.
According to the member of parliament Viktor Baloha, the order that will increase standards is already issued by the Ministry of Education. However, he believes that the massive dismissal should not be allowed, and predicts that state officials initiatives will lead to numerous disturbances and protests.
Viktor Baloha also believes that talks about the European experience is just fraud. "It’s not clear on what kind of Europe they talk about, because the EU teachers work individually with each student, rather than lecture from morning till night", – he said.
By September 1 …
As "Zamok" found out, in Transcarpathia the reform will affect approximately 500 employees of the universities. The biggest impact will refer to Uzhgorod National University, which may lose four hundred teachers and support staff. This Week in Kiev a meeting with representatives of universities all over Ukraine including UzhNU was held, where it was decided how to "optimize" universities.
As "Zamok" was informed by the UzhNU representative, who wished to remain anonymous, the "optimization" should be complete by September 1. How does it will be implemented – it is difficult to say now. Presumably, teachers shall not be dismissed by forcibly, but they will have to share labour rate between two or four people and it will become impossible to work because of small wages. In other words – people will be forced to write resignation voluntarily.
It is not clear what impact on the level of education will be done, but of course, nothing good is to be expected. Even if universities will leave the best teachers, they will not teach any better due to the fact that will have more school hours and more students. "English, for example, will simply turn into an optional subject, and one can be certain argue that none of our university students will ever learn the language. The situation was far from being joyful, but now it will only get worse,"- predicts our interlocutor. Something similar also concerns other general subjects.
In short, Ukraine is "improved" once again, and again the government is the only one who sees the positive in the changes. Reforms are always painful, but can be suffered when you realize that eventually they will benefit. What is the benefit of teaching staff reduction, besides saving money, is unclear. And our officials are always eager to save solely on culture, education, and medicine.