Without sufficient financing, education and healthcare reforms are doomed to failure

Author : Olha Babiy

Source : 112 Ukraine

Local budgets do not have enough resources to meet the current needs of the healthcare and education
13:23, 2 March 2018

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The year 2017 brought some innovation laws to Ukraine, which gave rise to two outstanding reforms - educational and medical ones. These two reforms provide for a complete reloading of these industries, but it must be remembered that almost 90% of medical and educational institutions are located in small towns, villages, and districts, and are not concentrated in large cities or the capital. This is important, and I will now tell you why is it so.

How to carry out reforms, where to take money from them? Everyone knows that under the Constitution of Ukraine, education and medicine in the country are free. Financing of medical and educational expenditures at the expense of the state budget is a state responsibility.

According to the Article 49: "... The state creates conditions for an effective and accessible medical service for all citizens, and public health services are provided free of charge in state and municipal health institutions, the existing network of such establishments cannot be reduced..."

Article 53 says "... The state ensures the availability and free of preschool, secondary, vocational, higher education in state and municipal educational institutions..."

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For the past two years, representatives of the supreme executive bodies have been actively promoting decentralization and delegation of powers to local councils, but none of the speakers said a word about the insane expenditures that the central government delegated to the local budgets. This is the problem of the vocational education and the shifting of payment obligations for the utility bills of medical and educational institutions. Not only specialists work in the hospitals and schools, but also technical personnel, without which the vital activity of institutions is simply impossible. And the wages of unskilled personnel is also a great challenge for the local budgets.

But what should the local authorities do, if a vocational school is located in a small town? And this vocational school is unique and the only educational institution (except secondary schools) in the town. For example, Stryi, Lviv region, has a vocational school No. 35, which prepares oilmen, and in Holovino rural town in Zhytomyr region, there is the only vocational school in the country for the preparation of natural stone processors.


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Are local budgets able to cope with these costs? December 7, 2017, employees in the medical and educational spheres in Volovets district ( Transcarpathian region) have blocked the route Kyiv-Chop, protesting the salary arrears for the last 2-3 months. Do you understand this desperation of the ordinary people?

You are just talking about the reforms! Even with those delegated powers, the local budgets cannot cope with the costs for education and healthcare.

A number of ministers and the Ministry of Finance have provided a subvention for the development and compensation of expenses for delegated authority in education and healthcare systems. But from the calculations given in the tables that I gave in past materials, we see that in Kyiv region, the subvention from the state budget is covered only by half. For the second half of the needs, the central government is expected to draw funds from local budgets.

So do we have decentralization or just nominal decentralization?

You can say about the decentralization as much as you can, but figures mean that this is rather a pseudo decentralization, because this system of financing state reform of industries leads to the erosion of funds from the city budgets.

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In 2018, over 37 million USD would be allocated from the local budgets for education and healthcare reforms. The total need for additional subsidies for local budgets of the Kyiv region is 38 thousand USD. The subsidy of the Kyiv region from the state budget for the implementation of the transferred expenses for the maintenance of educational and health institutions amounts to 22.7 thousand USD. The rest of the local budgets should deprive themselves of the financing of their own needs in order to ensure the expenses that the state budget should cover.

The central power transfers the authority to the local level. At the same time the legislator, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, adopts two reforms, which require significant financial content.

And all of this is played out against the backdrop of fundamental reform in the medical and educational spheres. Medical and educational reforms envisage huge investments. Are these reforms possible without the financial content? Of course not. The local budgets cannot supply the already existing network of educational and medical institutions.

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Speaking about the medical sphere, development means the acquisition of modern electronic and computer equipment, launching of the new bases, introduced by the Ministry of Health of Ukraine. And we see that the local budgets have no funds for such development.

In the educational sphere as well: if teachers together with the authorities in the field are not able to cover their current expenses, then what development, the purchase of new books, textbooks, furniture, modern equipment and updating of curricula can generally be said!

I demand to urgently review and provide additional subventions from the state budget for delegated authority to local budgets (concerning education and medicine). The figures for funds and additional subsidies to local budgets to ensure the proper functioning of institutions of the educational and medical spheres are just shocking.

Verkhovna Rada deputies, as the main legislators of the country, should understand that without sufficient financial support, all the reforms for which they voted in 2017, namely: educational and healthcare reforms, would fail. Reforms without financial background are just empty intentions and profanity.

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This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or 112.International and its owners.

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