Why do our children leave the country?

Author : Volodymyr Pylypenko

Source : 112 Ukraine

Thousands of potential students easily abandon the prospect of developing their native country. But gladly ready to work abroad
21:36, 10 July 2018

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Large migration, brain drain, migration collapse – it is only a short list of descriptions of current trends in the Ukrainian educational sphere.

Thousands of potential students easily abandon the prospect of developing science in their native spaces. But gladly ready to work in the cherished countries.

Their wish to study in the West every year only increases. The favorite country is Poland, of course. There are even special Polish recruiting agencies that come to Ukraine for a kind of "hunt": when they attend schools, they offer free-of-charge training, accommodation, and prospects for Ukrainian students to continue their educational and career growth.

Headhunters want promising Ukrainians to work for the benefit of the Polish economy. And not only Polish.

According to the official data, the number of Ukrainian students in foreign universities for the period 2008-2013 grew from 21.5 thousand to 32.6 thousand. Germany, Russia, Czech Republic, Italy, Spain, France, Canada, and Austria were the most desired for our entrants. Even then, foreign educational centers created favorable conditions for our citizens. In the Czech Republic, for example, of the 1,636 Ukrainian students, only 30 people paid for tuition.

Today the situation is even more complicated. The government reports that during 2009-2016 the number of Ukrainians who went abroad to receive higher education increased by 18.6% and is about 70 thousand.

Numbers are considerable, aren’t they? What then awaits the country with such a large educational outflow? And why do not young people see the future in their home state?

The face of fear

According to the Minister of Education Grynevych, the root of educational migration is personal fear.

These days in an interview she said that the increase in the number of Ukrainian students who study in Western countries is primarily related to security issues.

According to her, this process became more active after the beginning of Russian aggression in Ukraine. People have become more likely to send their children to study abroad in order to secure them, which is "a tragic and complex truth that needs to be understood."

At the same time, she noted that the Ministry of Education and Science (MES) is trying to do everything possible to improve the quality of Ukrainian higher education. For example, in order to encourage young people to study at home, the MES introduced a system of double diplomas (the main time student studies at home, and for some time goes to an internship, and subsequently receives two diplomas: Ukrainian and foreign one).

Of course, such proposals in the educational sphere should be welcomed. Although it seems, this is not a panacea in the current situation. The problem is much more global, and its solution requires a very professional and systematic approach.

A good life. What is it?

The most important factor that influences and shapes moods in the society is the socioeconomic conjuncture. It is a fact.

Young people (like their parents, who seek prosperous living abroad) "vote with their feet," preferring to study in foreign universities. The latter, for their part, contribute to the development of this trend by offering attractive scholarship programs.

The most active in this direction is again Poland. About 60 thousand students from Ukraine study there today. Due to the Ukrainians, local universities are trying to solve the problem of recruitment, as young Poles are going to study to the United States, the United Kingdom or Germany.

Despite the complication of Ukrainian-Polish relations, one can assume that the educational "emigration" of Ukrainians to the neighboring country will continue. And this must be understood and taken into account at the level of state policy.

So, according to the ex-Minister of Economy of Poland Jacek Pekhota, now in Poland there are about 2 million Ukrainians. Given the rapid growth of the Polish economy, there is a need for greater involvement of foreign workers. Ukrainian students are satisfied with such prospects.

Poland and other European countries, providing Ukrainians with favorable conditions for obtaining higher education (including the possibility of free education), besides filling the places in universities and solving the problem of "aging" of the population, pursue one more goal. It is about forming a loyal attitude of Ukrainians to the countries where they studied, and creating, in particular, the Polish lobby (in case of their return to their homeland and employment in state structures).

Therefore, hardly the argument of "fear" is decisive and should be taken as peremptory reality. In addition, the authorities are already habitually writing off all the problems for the war, refusing to recognize that due to a number of mediocre reforms, not only the economy suffers, but also the educational sphere.

In order for young people to study in Ukraine, it is not so necessary to introduce a system of double diplomas, but to improve the quality of higher education, so that Ukrainian diplomas are competitive internationally.

To do this, first of all, it is expedient to minimize corruption in higher education institutions, revise the list of specialties in the direction of those that are really needed in the modern market, stop the mass appropriation of status "national" by higher education institutions. In particular, to reduce the number of universities to the optimal level.

Let's look at the statistics. In 2017 in Ukraine with a population of 38.7 million people (without Crimea and ORDLO) there were 657 universities of I-IV levels of accreditation. In Poland, with the same number of population - 457. In Germany (81.2 million people) - 427. Do you feel the difference?

Therefore, during the reform of the system of higher education, it is necessary to create an optimal balance between the expansion of the degree of autonomy of universities and the state regulation of the educational process. I'm not talking about raising the level of material and financial security. Soviet tubes in the laboratories do not exactly push us to the top of technological progress.

These are only some, but very important steps, without which it is unrealistic to qualitatively change the educational sector and, accordingly, to stop the critical migration situation.

Where our children run, we know perfectly well. There, where they are offered a better life. And it's not the children who are to blame, but the state that is incapable of taking care of them. Therefore, the only way to keep our youth at home is to create decent living conditions for them at home. So far, there is no need to talk about such conditions.

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