Monitoring of the reforms progress based on the analysis of the implementation
of the recommendations of sectoral analytical brief for URC 2021
Section 1. Monitoring of the implementation of recommendations on reform priorities for 2020-2021.
1. To complete the creation of a legislative framework for education through the adoption of new laws "On Preschool education", "On vocational education", "On extracurricular education", "On adult education", as well as "On the national system of qualifications", to harmonize other legislation regulating the issue of education with the new educational laws.
Partial amendments to the Law of Ukraine "On Preschool Education" were introduced by the Laws 463-IX,, 474-IX and 978-IX. The bill on ensuring the territorial accessibility of preschool education was adopted at first reading. At the beginning of 2020, the Ministry of Education and Science submitted a draft of a new law to the Cabinet of Ministers. But as of today, no comprehensive new law or drafts of such a law have been registered in the Parliament.
In October 2020, two bills "On Vocational Education", submitted by MPs - 4207 and 4207-1 – were registered in the Parliament. To date, the Committee on Education, Science and Innovation has set up a working group to prepare an agreed version of the bill.
The draft Law of Ukraine "On Extracurricular Education" in 2020-2021 was not submitted by the Ministry of Education and Science for discussion. There are no registered bills in the Parliament.
In September 2020, the Ministry of Education and Science published the draft law "On adult education" for public discussion. Today, the bill is being finalized based on the results of public discussion.
Two bills "On the National Qualifications System" were registered in the Parliament in 2020, but they were not considered by the sectoral committee and there are proposals not to adopt a separate law on this issue.
In 2020, the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine published the draft Law of Ukraine "On Amendments to Certain Laws of Ukraine", which provided for a significant change in the legal status, principles of formation and powers of bodies providing external quality of higher education and implementing state policy in the field of qualifications, for public discussion. The draft law provided for significant deviations of the external quality assurance system of higher education in Ukraine from the Standards and Recommendations on Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area. First of all, in terms of strengthening the dependence on the Government of the body that provides external quality assurance. The report on the public discussion was not made public, and there is no official information on the withdrawal of this bill or further work on it.
There is a risk of a significant descaling of the reform of specialized secondary education due to lack of necessary resources and unpreparedness of secondary education institutions and education authorities.
Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine of March 24, 2021 № 365 approved a new version of the Licensing Conditions for Educational Activities, which exacerbated the shortcomings of the previous version, in particular, the existence of requirements not provided by law, as well as vague and uncertain requirements that may be interpreted differently by licensees and licensing authorities and create a basis for biased assessment and making non-transparent decisions.
The decree of the Ministry of Education and Science of 05.01.2021 № 17 approved a typical educational program of an out-of-school educational institution, which did not correspond to the essence of the concept of educational program and the requirements to it, which were established by the Law of Ukraine "On Education" and was in fact an imitation of the reform.
2. To adopt amendments to the Law "On Higher Education", as well as a number of other laws concerning the management and maintenance of the institutional, foremost financial, autonomy of higher education institutions, increasing the competitiveness of higher education in Ukraine and its ability to respond effectively to modern challenges, stimulating extra-budgetary revenues and investments in education, establishing a reasonable cost of education at the expense of individuals and legal entities.
There have been many discussions, but no solutions. Several bills registered by the MPs from different factions have either been withdrawn from consideration or need significant revision.
The official website of the Ministry of Education and Science declared to start the work on the preparation of relevant documents to perform The Government's Priority Action Plan for 2021.
The introduction of financial autonomy without changes in the management system of educational institutions increases the risks of abuse of power and making unreasonable decisions. Moreover, the expansion of financial autonomy creates risks of financial insolvency of state and municipal higher education institutions, which do not have adequate experience of responsibility for decisions and are limited in the choice of effective instruments of financial and economic activities.
3. To accelerate the adoption by the Parliament of a package of amendments to the legislation on decentralization, in particular with regard to the powers of local education authorities, which would be in line with the concept of education reform, notably with regard to the institutional autonomy of educational institutions.
No significant decisions in this direction were made.
De-synchronization of decentralization reform and reform of the secondary education system, risks of voluntary actions by representatives of local governments and local state administrations.
4. To accelerate the reform of certain important areas of higher education - military, legal, police, medical, artistic, pedagogical, etc., which must be in line with the general principles and framework requirements of the general legislation in the field of education, as well as the requirements of the relevant professional communities and the labour market regarding the competencies of graduates.
During this time, some changes were made to the laws regarding medical education and police education. The bill introduced by the MP group on military education was registered. Conditions for admission to higher education in 2021 increased the requirements for entrants to certain specialties, in particular, medical, pharmaceutical or veterinary specialties, as well as specialties "Law" and "International Law". The Committee of the Parliament on Education, Science and Innovation has prepared a project of the Concept of legal education development.
As of June 2021, bachelor's and master's standards in legal, military and police education, most specialties in art education, and part of the standards of pedagogical and medical education have been approved. At the same time, it should be noted that a comprehensive reform of these areas of higher education has not taken place.
In order to systematically address this problem, a conceptual/strategic document, which provides for the differentiation of higher education institutions of Ukraine into universities and vocational schools should be adopted. It should also encompass the training of medics, police officers, the military, rescue workers, etc. Relevant proposals were prepared by separate think tanks and submitted to the Ministry of Education and Science, but there was no clear response from the latter.
5. To create a comprehensive National Qualifications System, modern standards of all levels of education, professions and specialties, taking into account the framework requirements of the European Qualifications Framework and the needs of the labour market. Introduce effective tools for external independent evaluation of learning outcomes and competencies of qualifiers.
The CMU adopted a decision on the "Procedure for Recognition in Ukraine of Professional Qualifications Acquired in Other Countries" by a resolution of June 2, 2021. On June 16, 2021 the CMU adopted the Resolution on approval of the Regulations on the Register of Qualifications. The mentioned Register is an automated system of collecting, processing, storing and protecting information on qualifications, on assigned/confirmed professional qualifications, on qualification centers, experts on accreditation of qualification centers, and other information defined by this Regulation to meet the needs of individuals and legal entities. Work is under way to establish qualification centers that will confirm the professional qualifications obtained as a result of non-formal education and directly in the workplace.
In July-August 2020, the Parliament registered two bills "On the National Qualifications System" 3859 and 3959-1, submitted by MPs. To date, the Committee on Education, Science and Innovation, which has been identified as the main committee, has not considered these bills. At the same time, the bill "On amendments to some legislative acts of Ukraine regarding the functioning of the national qualifications system", which partially regulates the existing problems, but at the same time provides for the removal from the Law of Ukraine" On Education" of the need to create a comprehensive law that comprehensively regulates the system of qualifications, was passed in the first reading. The National Qualifications Framework is in line with the current editions of the European Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning and the Qualifications Framework of the European Higher Education Area. The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine approved the Regulations on the Register of Qualifications.
The development of professional standards, first of all, for working professions, was intensified, most of the envisaged competence standards of higher education for the bachelor's and master's levels were approved, and the development of standards for professional higher education and the level of doctor of philosophy began. The list of specialties of higher and professional higher education where the certification of graduates should be carried out in the form of the Unified State Qualification Exam (USQE) has been approved; a pilot project on the introduction of USQE has been launched.
The bill 4147 that was passed in the first reading requires the creation of a law on the National Qualifications System. This threatens that instead of a holistic system, legislators will limit themselves to solving some local problems, which may lead to internal inconsistencies in the legislation and the inability of its effective application.
6. To ensure a significant increase in social status and, in particular, the remuneration of teachers and research and teaching staff.
In 2021, there was a significant increase in salaries of teachers and research and teaching staff, due to the increase of minimum wages and subsistence level. At the same time, the remuneration system for these categories of workers has not been reformed.
The Ukrainian Institute for Educational Development (UIED) has prepared and submitted for expert discussion a draft section "Professional Development of Teachers". The document is designed to create conditions for highly professional teachers to work in schools, who motivate, understand and respect students, reveal their potential, and develop professionally. Accordingly, young people are attracted to the profession through a system of mentoring, trust in the teacher, strengthening autonomy, cultivating the spirit of creative search. The vision of professional development of teachers also involves the formation of self-sufficient professional communities that support and develop teaching from the inside. Teachers are motivated to develop professionally and improve their skills throughout their careers.
Low social status and uncompetitive salaries of teachers and research and teaching staff increases the outflow of the most trained youth from the field of education, resulting in a gradual deterioration of its quality and increased risks of state failure not only to create but also to use modern technologies.
7. To provide legislative support for the development of modern educational technologies and management technologies in education, including digital technologies, dual education, SMART-technologies, etc.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, modern digital learning technologies have developed significantly. An educational platform "All-Ukrainian online school" has been introduced to support distance and blended learning. The access of secondary education institutions to Internet resources has been significantly expanded. The pilot project on introduction of the dual form of education in vocational higher and higher education institutions continues, the new State standard of basic secondary education strengthens the emphasis on the study and application of SMART-technologies. The Ministry of Education and Science has prepared and submitted for public discussion a draft Concept of Digital Transformation of Education, which in particular contains sections aimed at improving the quality of providing schools with high-speed Internet connections and relevant devices for working with digital content. However, during the discussion, the document was severely criticized. Some experts and relevant organizations were asked to finalize the text of the Concept and shift the focus from purely technical solutions to the human aspect.
At the same time, there are still problems related to the use of distance learning technologies at home, which is most typical in the context of quarantine restrictions, and no significant progress has been made in the introduction of digital technologies for education management at any levels. The quarantine revealed significant problems of the legal framework regarding the provision of distance learning and distance work, which today remain largely unresolved. In particular, this applies to the working hours of teachers and research and teaching staff, the system of remuneration, etc.
8. To create legislative guarantees of equality of rights and obligations of educational institutions of different forms of ownership, ensuring social inclusion.
There have been some discussions, however they did not result in any significant real outcomes.
9. To improve the order of enrolment of children to educational institutions, including elementary schools, in order to address the problems of overcrowded classes and the lack of places in individual institutions due to local disparities and lack of reliable data and forecasts of needs.
Problems remain. But they are not only related solely to educational legislation
10. To give greater attention to the Toronto Principles in terms of promoting respect for human rights, gender equality and sustainable development, and to implement civic education development strategy.
Draft Strategy was in public discussion in 2020. But there is no information on further work on the Strategy after the change of leadership of the Ministry of Education and Science.
Contempt to address these issues, lack of understanding of their relevance by many educators and officials significantly hinders the adoption of effective decisions to ensure sustainable socio-economic and technological development of the state due to lack of decision-makers’ competence.
11. To reform education statistics and relevant legislation to meet the needs of effective management of education development and collating data with Eurostat, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and other international organizations.
Some changes were made, in particular by law 463-IX. However, comprehensive reform of educational statistics, in particular, in terms of unification of indicators and methods of collecting information with Eurostat, the OECD, and other international organizations that collect educational statistics has not been implemented.
Section 2. Main current challenges in the implementation of the reform (at the time of monitoring)
As of now, the main challenges to education and science reform are:
Willingness of politicians and government officials to support the development of the state's institutional capacity in the field of education and to ensure the continuity and consistency of steps in the implementation of reforms. The financial capacity of the state to implement the necessary reforms. Many MPs, government officials and other key stakeholders do not understand that education reform is needed not only for education and students, but to accelerate the socio-economic development of the state, strengthen its competitiveness in the global world, ensure national security. Accordingly, the financing of education is not a cost of maintaining institutions, but an investment in the development and security of the state.
Lack of a systematic vision on the development of education and science in Ukraine in the executive branch. Their main focus is on solving the operational problems. The number and scale of such problems are gradually increasing and significantly exceed the capacity of the executive branch to address these issues. This increases the urgency of legislative changes aimed at decentralizing management and, in particular, increasing the institutional autonomy of educational institutions at all levels.
Erosion of the decision-making system for the reform and development of education and science. Due to the limited capacity of the Ministry of Education and Science, such decisions are increasingly being transferred to other CEBs, in particular, the Ministry of Digital Transformation, the Ministry of Economy, etc. This sometimes makes it possible to make quicker and more efficient operational decisions on specific issues, but at the same time exacerbates systemic problems related to public administration of education and science.
Attempts to find "simple" solutions to complex problems, their support by individual senior officials and appropriate proposals for legislation. Such proposals are usually not adequately justified, either in terms of realism, or in terms of justifying the possible consequences and the resources required, or in terms of compliance with the framework documents and/or "good practices" of the EU countries.
Section 3. Recommendations on reform priorities for 2021-2022 (next annual period, until URC 2022)
The monitoring revealed that during 2020-2021 some necessary legislative decisions were made to reform education, but significant progress did not occur. This is partly due to the coronavirus pandemic, which complicated the procedures for preparation and decision-making, and shifted the attention of decision-makers to solving current operational problems. The recommendations provided for priority actions for 2020-2021 remain relevant in the future.
The priority steps in education reform next year should be:
decentralization of management in the field of education and science, strengthening the institutional autonomy of educational institutions of all levels, focusing the powers of central executive bodies on solving strategic tasks of education and science;
creation of effective systems of internal and external quality assurance of education, based on the principles of the European Educational Area, in particular, Standards and recommendations on quality assurance in the European Higher Education Area;
adoption of the Laws of Ukraine "On Vocational Education", "On Adult Education", "On the National Qualifications System", which should eliminate existing gaps and contradictions in current legislation and increase the impact of education and human potential on sustainable socio-economic development of Ukraine.
legislative support of digital transformation of education, in particular, issues of application of digital educational content, introduction of digital technologies of management at all levels of education, accounting of work of teaching and research staff, application of open data and artificial intelligence technologies in estimation of results of training, educational and scientific activity participants in the educational process and educational institutions.
increase in the volume, efficiency, and transparency of the use of budget expenditures on education and science, including through the improvement of relevant legislation, legislative incentives to attract extra-budgetary funding for education and science.
to approve a strategy for the development of higher education, which would define the key goals and set the key directions of reform in accordance with the vision of the general goals and directions of development of society and the state, technological development, development of higher education on a global scale; which would provide for the differentiation of types of higher education institutions and the legislation governing them, revise the organizational and legal status of higher education institutions, which would ensure their right to own property and funds and manage them independently, ensure further integration into the European Higher Education Area;
to ensure formation of a coordinated vision of specialized secondary education for the future until 2031 as a transitional stage between basic general education and specialized further training and employment, which would take into account the goals and features of its acquisition in systems of general secondary, vocational and technical higher education, and fix this vision in educational legislation and strategic documents.