Boards of Executive Directors of the World Bank have approved a $200 million project aiming for support to Ukraine’s government on the improvement of efficiency, quality, and transparency of the higher education system as the bank reported.
“The project – Ukraine Improving Higher Education for Results – will help boost the quality of the higher education sector, as well as its relevance to labor market needs, while also promoting resilience and continuity of learning in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the message says.
The project will finance the projects for the modernization of teaching and research facilities and the digital learning infrastructure of higher education institutions (HEIs) to ensure learning continuity through remote learning modalities and to support resilience and change management over the longer term. It will also improve the transparency of Ukraine’s education sector through the modernization of the Higher Education Management Information System and the establishment of a National Student Survey and unified information system on competitive research funding of HEIs.
This project will be implemented for five years by the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine that is responsible for common coordination.
The documents of the project state that the network of 231 state higher educational establishments (totally, there are 327 higher educational establishments in Ukraine) is too big and inefficient considering the population that shortens and creates issue for financial stability and quality of services. Almost 60% of higher educational establishments educate less than 5,000 students. There are over 300 state colleges and technical schools in Ukraine; about 550 students receive an education there. The majority of higher educational establishments and colleges/technical schools are legally subordinated to the Education Ministry.
Moreover, it is noted that the government had defined the necessity to create the impetus for optimization of the network of higher educational establishments with the use of the bottom-up approach; during the past years, their number reduced by 25% including colleges and technical schools but still a lot of things should be done. Particularly, the further aggregating of universities with differentiation and diversification of their types and optimization of the geozone of covering. It is necessary to hold events with the engagement of the higher educational establishments; the audits of them should be held.
The World Bank also notes the low transparency of the system and bad feedback: 85% of youth plan to get the higher education; however; this high demand badly affects the information on accessible variants of education and results of the employment, leaving students and their families unaware during making an important decision on transition to the higher education.
Earlier, Acting Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine Serhiy Shkarlet got the official warning from the EU representatives about the danger of the changes in the Ministry that destroy the previous reforms.