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Human rights in Ukraine – 2007. 16. The right to education

27.07.2008

[1]

1.  Overview

Exercise of the right to education entails observance of the following fundamental principles:

Availability - functioning educational institutions and programmes have to be available in sufficient quantity. What they require to function depends upon numerous factors, including the developmental context within which they operate; for example, all institutions and programmes are likely to require buildings or other protection from the elements, sanitation facilities for both sexes, safe drinking water, trained teachers receiving domestically competitive salaries, teaching materials, and so on; while some will also require facilities such as a library, computer facilities and information technology;

Accessibility - educational institutions and programmes have to be accessible to everyone, without discrimination. Accessibility has three overlapping dimensions: Non-discrimination - education must be accessible to all, especially the most vulnerable groups, in law and fact, without discrimination on any of the prohibited grounds; Physical accessibility - education has to be within safe physical reach, either by attendance at some reasonably convenient geographic location (e.g. a neighbourhood school) or via modern technology (e.g. access to a "distance learning" programme); Economic accessibility - education has to be affordable to all.

 Acceptability - the form and substance of education, including curricula and teaching methods, have to be acceptable (e.g. relevant, culturally appropriate and of good quality) to students

Adaptability - education has to be flexible so it can adapt to the needs of changing societies and communities and respond to the needs of students within their diverse social and cultural settings.[2]

An analysis of the situation with the right to education in the context of these fundamental principles highlights a number of fairly significant problems in Ukraine.

Firstly educational spending remains at a low level although it has been increased over the last few years.  The problem is also compounded by inefficient use of money received.

The situation with educational institutions in rural areas is particularly serious. The rural school is on the brink of dying out and the State’s measures to overcome this trend via such programmes as “School bus” are not achieving the necessary results. This situation in the majority of cases is the result of a general malaise in rural areas.

Access to educational institutions remains a serious problem for people with disabilities, especially those with impaired vision or movement.

The constitutional right to free education has become effectively on paper only for certain professions (lawyers, doctors). In semi-legal fashion institutes force students to sign contracts committing themselves to work for three years where the State sends them after graduation or to return the money spent on their education.  These placements are usually made without taking into account the person or family circumstances or wishes of the graduate. They are also often poorly-paid jobs, meaning that effectively the State is returning the money expended on their education through other means. These contracts are not based on the law and fundamentally destroy the right to free education.

A significant problem impeding the development of modern education is the lack of academic freedom of educational institutions, as well as an old and inadequate system for gaining academic qualifications. Considerable State regulation of this system and excessive bureaucratization are not in keeping with the best world practice and international standards.

Improvement is needed of the system for the licensing and accreditation of higher educational institutions since at present institutes are mainly assessed on quantitative and not qualitative indicators and this has an adverse effect on educational services provided.

There are urgent problems also with student self-government and providing students with adequate academic and work practice.

Problems with student hostels and textbooks were not resolved in 2007.  The problems remain real especially in the context of ensuring availability and acceptability of education. Clearly a proper educational process cannot be provided without the necessary textbooks and in premises which do not meet minimum sanitary and technical requirements.

An important move in 2007 was the development of independent external assessment which should ensure objectivity and transparency in providing educational services. It is however no less important to avoid the dangers inherent in introducing such a system  especially those linked with the existence of a single body which itself prepares the methodology for assessment, carries it out and monitors the quality of its own work.

We should also add that there is no systematic education on human rights in educational institutions. Some institutions offer courses studying specific laws however this does not ensure a sufficient understanding and awareness of rights.

One has to note a certain lack of systematization in the implementation of the Bologne system of education in Ukraine.  The main problem areas are:

-  An excessive number of academic directions and specializations, 76 and 584 respectively. The best educational systems have five times less;

-  Insufficient public recognition of a bachelor’s degree as a qualification level and the lack of demand for it in the Ukrainian economy. As a rule admission to a higher institute is not for a baccalaureate  but for a profession;

-  A dangerously widespread and increasing deterioration in the quality of higher education;

-  A widening rift between educational workers and employers, and between education and the labour market;

-  An unwarranted confusion regarding the levels of specialist and of master’s level.  There should, on the one hand, be similarity of programmes for preparing specialists and those with master’s level, and equivalence in their educational qualification level, yet on the other they have accreditation at different levels, III and Iv, respectively;

-  Disregard for leading scientific research in educational institutions which is the basis of university training. Our system of academic levels is complex in comparison with general European levels which complicates mobility for our lecturers and scientists in Europe;

-  Technical and vocational colleges are not adequately meeting the needs of society and of the labour market. This is with there being four times as many of them as higher educational institutions of III and IV levels of accreditation;

-  The days have passed of a well-organized  and centralized system for professional development and retraining. A new system meeting the needs of the market economy has not been created. The highly important European principle of lifelong education cannot at present be fully achieved in Ukraine;

-  Uuniversities are not taking on the role of methodological centres. Innovators, pioneers of social transformation which the country can follow. The level of autonomy of a higher educational institute in these areas is considerably lower than on average in Europe.  Educational institutions with national status are not assuming the role of methodological leaders although they make up around 40% of the total number of higher educational institutions with levels III and IV accreditation.

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2.  Public spending and ensuring the right to education

It is important here to consider both the level of financing and how efficiently this money is being spent.

Despite an increase in educational spending during the year, the problems with low teachers’ salaries, material and technical support for educational institutions, as well as with the reduction in the number of libraries built up over many years, remained unresolved.

Standard norms remain in place for allocating educational resources, with these not enabling educational institutions to react to the particular changes taking place in their area or their specific institution. There are still problems with ensuring autonomy for local authorities with regard to educational spending.

Although government educational spending rose in 2007 from 5 to 7% of GNP, many problems built up over recent years remain.

The World Bank recommends that Ukraine not simply increase public expenditure on education, but increase the efficiency of this spending.

Although Ukraine has more teachers per head of population than in many European countries, the results of the educational system are considerably worse.

The resources which need to be invested to improve the quality of education could be found by increasing the autonomy of local authorities regarding spending and thus increasing incentives to direct services to meet the actual needs of the population.[3]

According to Pavlo Saavedra, World Bank economist, the main cause of inefficiency is the lack of flexibility in establishing budgets for educational expenditure with standard norms for material and technical resources not enabling the local authorities to redirect resources in response to changes in demand.  This ineffectiveness is exacerbated by regulation and incentives linked with the mechanisms for establishing budgets, for financing and administrative management of local authorities and providing educational services. Despite the considerable role played by the local authorities within the system of State funding for education, their ability to allocate resources within the framework of the sectors to improve quality and efficiency is extremely limited.

Martin Raiser, economic adviser to the World Bank adds that in such conditions additional public expenditure will not solve the problem. The most urgent reforms must be aimed at eliminating the inflexible system for allocating expenditure, which should support present networks of educational institutions and provide greater incentives and opportunities for the local authorities to allocate resources to meet public needs. These measures of reform need to be carried out in such a way as to protect those on low income and take into account the social consequences of optimization of schools and staff reductions. Teachers deserve better conditions.  Many of them will be forced to work differently, but will earn a decent salary which will result in an improvement in conditions and in a higher assessment of their work by students and their parents.[4]

Confirmation of the inefficient use of public spending on education is given by the Accounting Chamber report on government contractual work. The auditors found that almost 80% of all government contracts were unfailingly aimed at training specialists, scientific-educational and manual workers, raising their professional level while on all other areas the figure was only between 0.6 and 4.2 percent. In establishing these amounts the Ministry of the Economy does not use a standard approach for determining the cost of training specialists. It makes corrections to funding manually with this leading to an increase in the constructed value for training one specialist, and as a result ineffective public spending.  Furthermore the size of government contractual work was determined by the Ministry of the Economy at its own discretion, in a formal manner and without adequate justification. During 2004-2007 the auditors pointed out, government contractors had not defined or ensured priority government needs with regard to public sector employment of graduates with higher education. As a result of this public funds of over 36 million UAH had been spent inefficiently.[5]

Such a formal approach can give the lie to the principle that the State ensures that the right to free higher education is exercised, and does not simply provide educational services. In view of this one needs to find a sensible balance between ensuring the needs of the economy and people’s right to make their own choice of future profession combined with the right to free higher education.

The problem of inefficient public spending is eloquently demonstrated by the following example. In order to improve education many schools were provided with computer classes with 10-20 or even more computers. Such a step is only to be welcomed. However the subsequent servicing of these computers and computer networks was virtually not financed, and there are examples where such classes are not being used and the technology is aging. This situation is particularly often seen in rural schools where there is a great shortage of staff and the students don’t know how to use computers at all.

 

3.  The Principle of availability

Serious problems remain with ensuring availability of at least primary education in villages. The closure of village schools is by no means always justified.  85% of all schools closed are in village. In village schools there are usually from 10 to 30 children, though sometimes as few as five. It is clearly difficult to speak of a fully-fledged educational process. However the closure of such schools places the development of the entire village in question. In many cases a village fully exists only where it has a school and if this is closed the village is doomed to die out. This problem was highlighted by the Accounting Chamber in its conclusions regarding the dying out of villages.[6]  No wonder that already at the beginning of 2008 legislative proposals appeared regarding a moratorium on the closure of village schools[7]

Despite certain positive steps in increasing teachers’ pay, 2007 saw no breakthroughs. Teachers’ salaries remain too low to guarantee a proper level of education which places in question not only the principles of acceptability and adaptability, but also availability, that is, the very existence of educational institutions. This is confirmed by the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in their concluding observations on Ukraine.[8]

With respect to the principle of availability, one should note problems in higher education. These include shortcomings in the system of licensing and accreditation which do not promote observance of the principle of availability, especially with regard to the resources and staffing base for educational institutions. Assessment of higher institutes is mainly carried out on the basis of quantitative indicators which the institute can achieve by any means. For example, in order to report on the availability of space, unneeded and unsuitable premises are rented. In order to achieve certain results regarding the numbers of PhDs, associate professors, doctors of science and professors among the lecturing staff, any means are used to increase the number of such people. This is true first and foremost of new educational institutions created in the post-Soviet period.  It is not the professional level or skills that determine how a person is treated and their status in a particular institute, but whether they have an academic title. They are not dismissed even if there are significant failings in their work, and corrupt behaviour is forgiven because without them the institute will not get accreditation. This ties the hands of the institute management when fighting corruption and promoting young talented people to top posts.

This accreditation procedure is one of the reasons for the aging of the teaching staff which is of particular concern. At present half the doctors of science working in higher institutes are aged 60 or over. One in four is over 65, and only 14 percent are aged between 40 and 50. Almost a third of those with PhDs are 60 or over, the same percentage is between 40 and 49 and one in five is under 40. Moreover during the last two years there have been no government contracts to prepare for doctor of science level, and the efficiency of this system is decreasing (only one in ten doctoral candidates defends their thesis in the stipulated time period).  Graduates of PhD courses are not renewing the departments of higher educational institutions.

One of the component elements for availability is a functioning network of libraries. Yet the system in Ukraine does not bear scrutiny. According to the Accounting Chamber’s assessment, the number of libraries in the network fell by 515 from 2002-2006 and as of 1 January 2007 came to197 thousand. The number of library users is steadily falling. Most of the premises are in bad condition and the standards for looking after the collections, including rare and valuable publications, are not being observed.  The collections are also not being renewed, with the number of books being removed outweighing the new intake by 1 to 3, which over the last 5 years has led to a reduction of 9 million items. At the same time, around 80 percent of material on socio-political themes from the last century is not in demand which has effectively turned public libraries into archives for holding these collections.[9]

The proper functioning of higher institutes is not possible without the necessary number of habitable hostels. Yet Ukrainian reality is such that as of 1 January 2008, of 3, 010 hostels for higher educational institutes only 95 buildings (around 3 percent) fully met modern requirements, while out of 960 hostels for technical and vocational institutes, the analogous figure was 42 (or approximately 4 percent). Hostels are also extremely overcrowded, with the sanitary norms for providing their young inhabitants with living space and places of common use are systematically infringed. The hostels are largely in an extremely decrepit, and not infrequently, dangerous condition since major repairs were not carried out at the proper time.

At the same time it should be noted that in some higher educational institutes there have been cases where residential and non-residential premises of hostels have been used not as intended by letting them out to other State and private structures; by providing accommodation to students of private educational institutions, or people from outside; by joining together living space areas in order to create lecture halls, hotel-type apartments, etc. The requirements are also ignored regarding providing accommodation on a priority basis to first-year students. The bodies of student self-government of higher educational institutes are not brought into the process of providing accommodation in hostels.[10]

In 2006-2007 a large number of decisions were passed by the State authorities aimed at resolving the problems with student hostels however this was clearly insufficient since new hostels are still not being built.

Repairs to and reconstruction of existing student hostels are carried out in the main only at the expense of the specific institute, and in the majority of cases are of a cosmetic nature. Furthermore, as already noted, people are given accommodation in these hostels who are in no way connected with studies, specifically employees of housing and communal services departments, law enforcement agencies and other State structures.[11]

Development over recent years of vocational training raises questions in the first instance with regard to availability. Although the Cabinet of Ministers is doing some work in this sphere, the situation overall is critical. Over the last decade the number of vocational institutions has decreased by a third. The problem of renewing the technical and material base of such institutions is acute. One in three of them require major repairs and only 10 percent of the available equipment meets modern demands. The heating and plumbing systems need to be replaced.

Of concern is the level to which vocational institutions are provided with study tools, equipment, and textbooks and manuals. They are the least equipped with computer technology. There is a continuing exodus of well-qualified and experienced educational staff. In vocational institutions around 4 thousand industrial trainers are needed and 1, 770 lecturers.

Attention should also be given to the issue of educational institutions founded by religious organizations. According to Article 11 of the Law “On freedom of conscience and religious organizations”, all religious educational institutions are created and function as one of the forms of religious organizations. The problem lies in the fact that according to this law religious organizations do not have the right to found general education institutions, although this right is held by, say, civic organizations.. in order to resolve this problem draft laws were tabled for the consideration of the Verkhovna Rada by National Deputy V. Sretovych during 2006 and 2007, however not one of them has yet been passed.[12]

 

4.  Accessibility of education

There are problems with access to educational institutions in rural areas. This includes even the problem of physical accessibility of schools for village children.

The School Bus Programme which government bodies refer to when these closures are mentioned in practice only partially solves the problem

One can cite experience with implementing this programme in particular areas, for example, the Cherkasy region, as confirmation of this. For many school children and educational worker in the Cherkasy region the transport issue is very real. More than 9 thousand children and almost 2 thousand teachers living in rural areas do not live within walking distance of a school. Their transport problems were supposed to be resolved by the School Bus Programme which envisages the organization of regular free transportation of students and teachers from rural areas to their places of study and home again. However the fulfilment of this programme in 2006 and the first 2007 was found by the controlling inspection department for the Cherkasy region to leave a lot to be desired.  Merely financial infringements were identified to the sum of 160 thousand UAH. It was also stated that the Cherkasy Regional Council had failed to finance this programme, and that the transport servicing was carried out inefficiently and cases had been found where the vehicles had not been used as intended.[13]

The difficulties in implementation of this programme in 2007 were noted by the President who stated that the Cabinet of Ministers was not taking measures in full to implement the School Bus Programme. He added that the information from the Cabinet of Ministers to a letter from the President dated 11 September 2007 on allocation by 1 October of money for implementing the programme contained only data regarding amounts planned in the State Budget and financing, but that no relevant measures for ensuring this income for the given programme had been allocated to the special fund of the State Budget. The President proposed that the Cabinet of Ministers again consider the issue of funding for the programme since the organization of regular and free transportation of students was an integral aspect of the State’s safeguarding of the right of citizens to receive general secondary education.[14]

A lot of younger-age children are deprived of access to school education.

According to UNESCO figures published in the report “Education for all by 2015” in November 2007, in Ukraine around 300 thousand children of younger school age do not have access to education. It is not clear over what period these figures were calculated, although the majority of figures in the report are as of 2005.[15]  How these figures were refuted by the President’s Secretariat which gave different information. Thus, according to figures from the Ministry of Education and Science and the State Committee of Statistics, as of 1 September 2006 there were 46, 395 children from 6 to 18 who were not receiving a full general secondary education. Of these, 11, 925 do not attend educational institutions due to the state of their health and 13, 999 for other reasons.[16]  The figures of the State authorities would appear to be considerably underestimated.

One of the reasons why children do not attend school is the refusal of school administrations to admit children in the absence of official registration of their parents. Millions of Ukrainians do not live at the address they are registered at due to the inadequate system of registration.”[17]  The problem in 2007 was exacerbated by a strict position taken by the local authorities.

On 3 August at a meeting of the Kyiv City State Administration the Mayor Leonid Chernovetsky suggested that only children registered in Kyiv should be able to study in city schools. He instructed schools to establish within the space of two weeks how many children or their parents live in the capital but are not registered. The Mayor considered that their children create a “huge load” on the city’s educational institutions..[18]

Another important aspect in ensuring accessibility of education concerns educational opportunities for particularly vulnerable groups of children.

For example, the prosecutor’s office in Zhytomyr found a flagrant violation of the rights of a child with disabilities to unimpeded access to an educational institution. Anatoly Horshkalyov, who of his own choice decided to attend second grade classes together with other children encountered basic problems – how to get into the school since wheelchair access at the time had not been organized. He is carried into the school through the emergency exit which doesn’t have normal steps.[19]

There is a serious problem of access to education for migrants, refuges and members of certain ethnic groups, for example, Roma.

The State does not finance vocational or higher education for refugees or people whose parents have applied for refugee status. Since the children of refugees are not Ukrainian nationals, their vocational or higher education is fee-paying, on the basis of an individual contract. It is therefore possible to see only individual cases where children of recognized refugees can gain such education while others are forced after school to find work.

There is also a problem of access to education for refugee children separated from their families. These are children who arrive in Ukraine without their parents and do not have relatives who can help them. At present there are no normative documents addressing this issue as a result of which these children do not even go to school. There are various reasons, of an economic, administrative and educational nature. In the vast majority of cases these are young people who have already reached the age of 16. They have no documents about their education or personal documents, and in the best instance have had 3 years of elementary education. Special attention therefore needs to be given to these young people and separate classes created where they can gain an education on intensive programmes and be able to become fully-fledged members of society.

The implementation of a system of independent external assessment is an important test for the Ukrainian system of education as regards the principle of access to education. Despite all the advantages of this system, it is important to note the obstacles which can arise in implementing the system. It should be noted that thus far the principle of non-discrimination of particularly vulnerable groups of the population has not been adhered to.

For example, people with I and II group disability are at the present time deprived of the possibility of receiving a certificate attesting to independent external assessment since the State has not created the necessary conditions for this (by printing the tests in Braille, ensuring transportation for those in wheelchairs, etc). Their entry to higher institutes will be determined at interviews[20]

The problem of objective assessment is not new in the world, and research into methods has long been a separate field in pedagogical studies. In most countries there are State and private institutions for which assessment are the main form of activities. Educational institutions have become the users, and the controllers of the quality of these specific services, however it is difficult to imagine that American or European university would agree to recognize marks if they cannot be certain of their accuracy. It took decades of hard and responsible work to develop methods of assessment so that these confirm to educationalists and scientists the accuracy of the marks given and earn their trust. Institutions wishing to win the right to assess on a contractual basis the knowledge of specific educational institutions or the government must prove on the basis of tests that they can do this more accurately, cheaply and quickly than others.  This entails a certain danger that a political decision to create a signal examining institution which is at the same time instructed to prepare the methods for assessment, carry it out and control the quality of its own work, could lead at first to the dictatorship of this body and then to corruption within it as this happens on many occasions when attempts are made to establish justice with the help of special bodies with exceptional powers.[21]

 

5.  Acceptability and adaptability of education

There is a difficult situation with providing educational institutions with textbooks which has a significant impact on observance of the principles of acceptability and adaptability.

There are problems with receiving official stamps for textbooks recognizing that the publications, learning means and equipment comply with State educational standards. This procedure can basically be considered a form of State censorship. The main shortcomings of this system include the following:

-  Members of the subject commissions within the Scientific-Methodological Commission of the Ministry of Education and Science do not bear real, not merely declarative, responsibility. There is no specific legal field for relations between members of the commission, the head of the commission and authors or publishing houses;

-  Subjectivity of the commissions – a manuscript can be rejected any number of times with the Commission refusing to grant is official seal of approval and at each new meeting of the committee ever new comments are made;

-  The influence of representatives of the Ministry of Education and Science on the work of the subject commissions;

-  Conflict of interests – the members of the commissions can have an interest in pushing some textbooks and stalling others;

-  The lack of clear formalized and understandable indicators of the expert opinions and assessment of textbooks and lack of procedures for their use.

-  Infringements of the procedure for taking decisions, procedural arbitrary rule. Instead of 2 months, the process can drag on for 5 or 6.  Moreover, the reasons which are most often given: “no time”, the holiday season – the commissions don’t meet – are not stipulated in the procedure for assigning the official stamps;

-  Shortcomings and lack of transparency of the expert assessment procedures;

-  The lack of qualified experts;

-  the appeal procedure is not defined;

-  the lack of personal and institute liability for a low quality of assessments and failure to observe procedure;[22]

The situation in educational institutions is such that only around a third of students are assured textbooks. According to official data from the Central Control and Audit Department of Ukraine, the average percentage of textbooks reaching educational institutions is 67% of the number required. Some of these arrive in numbers which mean that one textbook needs to be shared by 3 or 4 school students. It is also typical for textbooks or the main consignment of them to reach the school library in the middle of the academic year, i.e. when the course has long been running and students have already had to buy the textbooks themselves. The most interesting thing in this sense is the fact that one can freely buy textbooks which state that they are not on free.[23]

The system for testing teaching material is also far from perfect. One should note firstly the purely formal nature of the testing, the infringements of timeframes for receiving the textbooks for testing (or there simply not being the books stipulated in the order); the low level of methodological backup for the test; the lack of pay to the teachers trying out the textbooks; as well as the unreliability of test carried out at the expense of the publishers.  Very often the problem is discussed of the lack of previous testing of textbooks which arrive in the schools on a tender basis in accordance with a move to new content, structure and term of studies.[24]

An important aspect in ensuring the right to education is the development of self-government in educational institutions. This is especially relevant in the context of safeguarding the principles of acceptability and adaptability in education. For example, student self-government enables the authorities, as well as the administration of a particular institution, to determine the specific needs of the student, the shortcomings of the educational system and what changes are needed to improve the situation. In other words, it helps the institution move and change with time, improve its work taking into account the rapid changes taking place in the world.

Despite the fact that student self-government is becoming more active and important, it also has significant problems. In 2007 these problems including:

-  the lack of legislative regulation for student self-government  stipulating the guarantees for its activities, independence from other structures, as well as material and technical autonomy;

-  the lack of guaranteed funding. No normative acts nor provisions, nor the current law “On higher education” allows for any source of financing for bodies of student self-government and the implementation of its projects, this making student self-government highly dependent on the administration of the institute.

-  pressure on free bodies of student self-government . At the present time there are a number of private higher institutes which covertly or openly oppose the activities or the very creation of bodies of student self-government  fearing that these will uncover their own not entirely transparent and lawful policy.

-  Interference in student self-government by the Ministry of Education and Science. The Ministry sometimes tries to forcibly impose its model on this or that body of student self-government , distorting the very foundation of self-government;

-  Insufficient awareness among students of the institution of student self-government. In many higher institutes they often don’t even suspect that there could be student self-government, let along its creation and activities.

Another aspect in the observance of the principles of acceptability and adaptability in education is ensuring that graduates of higher educational institutions have enough academic and work practice to gain the skills need to apply the knowledge received. The level of both academic and work practice at present is not adequate. Many students, for example, studying law subjects find themselves in the courts but are occupied there in sticking stamps on envelopes and sending correspondence throughout their practice. Or there are simply visits to the place they are supposed to be doing their practice to have their name ticked off. This problem is typical for many higher educational institutes.

A system is gradually being introduced whereby graduates of a higher educational institute whose studies were paid for by the State, must after the end of their studies work for three years in their field at a working place designated by the State. The system has already been introduced in law and medical faculties. . These postings are in unpopular, sometimes outlying areas and badly-paid work. A person who refuses to accept them has to return the money paid by the State for his or her education. This effectively renders meaningless the rules about free higher education since the person incurs considerable material expense due to the obligation to work where sent.

In our view such practice is unlawful since it is not envisaged by any legislation. The law states that such situations where a person works for a particular period are possible where the student has signed an agreement with the educational institutions. This makes sense if the person has been sent to study by a public authority and they are able to enter the institute without competing for a place. However the practice over recent years has made such contracts compulsory for any person who is simply not admitted to an institute otherwise. We believe that this practice is unconstitutional since it deprives a person of the right to free higher education. Our assertion that such procedure is of questionable legality is confirmed by the fact that there are no known cases where graduates were forced to pay for their studies after refusing to work where sent.

 

3.   Recommendations

1)  Not simply increase public expenditure on education but ensure that the money is spent efficiently.

2)  Increase the autonomy of the local authorities with regard to spending on education.

3)  Encourage academic freedom in all higher educational institutes.

4)  Improve the system of licensing and accreditation of higher educational institutes.

5)  Carry out comprehensive reform in order to resolve the problems of rural education, in the first instance at the elementary level.

6)  Gradually increase teachers’ salaries.

7)  Carry out a range of measures to improve library provisions for the public.

8)  Resolve the situation of providing students with hostels in higher educational institutes.

9)  Remove obstacles in the way of religious organizations founding educational institutions.

10)  Ensure the constitutional chance to receive free higher education in Ukraine without any conditions and abolish the system where people have to work where sent if they study at the expense of the State.

11)  Improve provision of educational institutions with textbooks, as well as the procedure for preparing such textbooks and getting them approved.

12)  Resolve problems with the development of student self-government including through making changes to legislation.

13)  Introduce human rights education in educational institutions.



[1] Prepared by Maxim Shcherbatyuk, UHHRU lawyer

[2] implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights General Comment No. 13  The right to education  http://unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/(symbol)/E.C.12.1999.10.En?OpenDocument  

[3] World Bank report “Improving future relations and spending “Overcoming fiscal, efficiency, and equity challenges in public education spending” http://web.worldbank.org/

[4] Ibid

[5] “State contract work needs to be changed” // Information on the website of the Accounting Chamber  http://ac-rada.gov.ua/achamber/control/uk/publish/article/main?art_id=1056085&cat_id=411

[6] “The village is being helped to die out” // Report on the website of the Accounting Chamber »  http://ac-rada.gov.ua/achamber/control/uk/publish/article/main?art_id=955131&cat_id=411

[7] “BYuT wants to introduce a moratorium on closures of village schools” // the Internet publication ProUA

http://ua.proua.com/news/2008/03/20/092742.html

[8] UKRAINE Concluding Observations of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights E/C.12/UKR/CO/5 23 November 2007 http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cescr/docs/cescr39/E.C.12.UKR.CO.5.pdf

[9] “Bad days for Ukrainian libraries” // Information on the website of the Accounting Chamber  http://ac-rada.gov.ua/achamber/control/uk/publish/article/main?art_id=943340&cat_id=411

[10]  Analytical reference note: “The state of student hostels in Ukraine” // website of the Students’ Union “Students’ Platform”  http://gurtojitok.in.ua/docs/analitychna-dovidka

[11] “What needs to be done for systematic resolution of the problem of student hostels?” // website of the Students’ Union “Students’ Platform”  http://gurtojitok.in.ua/article/chernih/

[12]  See further Y. Reshetnikov “Religious education in Ukraine and its legal situation” // Religious Information Service of Ukraine http://risu.org.ua/ukr/study/research_conference/education_yresh_0710/

[13] I.V. Khimchuk “Will the kids get to the village school?” // Education website, http://osvita.org.ua/articles/235.html

[14]  “V. Yushchenko insists that the Cabinet of Ministers ensure financing for the State targeted School Bus Programme” // National Radio Company of Ukraine  http://nrcu.gov.ua/index.php?id=4&listid=53417

[15]  “In Ukraine 300 thousand children do not have access to education”  // UHHRU website http://helsinki.org.ua.index.php?id=1196448561;  “300 thousand children in Ukraine don’t go to school.”  // 1+1 NEWS, http://news.1plus1.ua/ukrayina/300-tisyach-ditei-v-ukrayini-ne-hodyat-do-shkoli.html#

[16]  The President’s Secretariat doesn’t agree that 300 thousand children don’t go to school // UHHRU website  http://helsinki.org.ua.index.php?id=1196859876.

[17] See the section on Freedom of movement and to choose ones place of residence.

[18] “Chernovetsky deprives children from other cities of education // UHHRU website http://helsinki.org.ua.index.php?id=1186491948.

[19]  “In the Zhytomyr region the prosecutor’s office is standing up for the rights of the disabled //

http://zhitomir.info/news_17121.html

[20] A. Bazhal: “External independent assessment – repletion is the mother of learning” // the newspaper “Weekly Mirror”, № 7 (686) 23 — 29 February 2008 року, http://dt.ua/3000/3300/62126/

[21]  V. Petriv: “Independent testing: have they once again gone “their own way”? // the newspaper “Weekly Mirror”, № 10 (689) 15 — 21 March 2008, http://dt.ua/3000/3300/62355/.

[22] “The system of educational publishing in Ukraine and the possibilities for change” // Ukraine – Netherlands project: the Civic Platform for Educational Reform in Ukraine, http://upper.org.ua/library/127.html

[23] “Parallel Report to the UN Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights by the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union and the International Renaissance Foundation regarding Ukraine’s implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights  // UHHRU website  http://helsinki.org.ua.index.php?id=1193993286.

[24] “The system of educational publishing in Ukraine and the possibilities for change” // Ukraine – Netherlands project: the Civic Platform for Educational Reform in Ukraine http://upper.org.ua/library/127.html.

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