Kula A. E., Degtyarova I. O.

Oles Honhcar Dnipropetrovsk National University


Having joined the Bologna process Ukraine has proved striving to be a fully-fledged participant in the process of European integration and European Higher Education Area, and country's strong willingness to modernize Ukraine’s higher education following the best standards and European values. Reforming of higher education legal base has been one the core issues since then and there have been a lot of public discussions and debates lately both in the political and academic area.

The Ukrainian legislation regulating higher education is provided by the Constitution of Ukraine, the Laws of Ukraine “On Education” (1996). “On Higher Education” (2002), and “On Scientific Research and Scientific Research-Technical Activities” (1991), other regulations issued by the President of Ukraine, Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, Ministry of Education and Science.

In 2003-2007 projects of bills were introduced to the Parliament. Four times bills were not supported by different Presidents of Ukraine President (June 24, 2004, September 22, 2005, February 21, 2006 and March 22, 2007), primarily because of budgetary and fiscal considerations. At the same time, ten amendments were made to the Law “On Higher Education” and 1 amendment done by the Constitutional Court of Ukraine to limit amounts of state expenditure.

In 2008, the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine together with the academic community elaborated the Draft of a new Law of Ukraine “On Higher Education”, providing a range of measures for modernization of national higher education, in particular the implementation of Ukraine’s commitments to the Bologna process. But it was negatively treated by the Ministry of Finance and other agencies because of financial matters connected with greater university autonomy.

Further attempts to reform the legislation were made within the program of economic reforms for 2010–2014 by President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych “Prosperous society, competitive economy, effective government”: increasing autonomy for educational institutions to administer their finance; optimization of the network of educational institutions with regard to demographic and economic realities and the need to enhance the quality of education (establishment of enlarged regional universities), introducing of a new model of financing HE (from everyday maintenance to the forming of the budget based on the number of students and the standards of tuition fees; empowering educational establishments to raise additional funds through legalization of “endowment” – non-profit charity funds; the use of grant support for research projects and educational innovations; expanding the list of paid services provided by educational institutions; reforming of state order for training specialists based on the regional economic forecast.

Further in 2011 the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine submitted to the parliament a new version of the draft law “On Higher Education”, which was formally legitimized at the Third National Educators Congress, though, this project provoked a negative reaction of many academic groups, NGOs and student organizations and independent experts. However, another 2 alternative drafts were prepared by the official representative of the President of Ukraine in the Verkhovna Rada Yuri Miroshnichenko and by the parliamentary opposition. But again, neither experts nor legislators could reach a consensus.

Nowadays, the public discussion is in progress. There are 3 drafts of the Law “On Higher Education” registered in the Parliament. 1st project (№ 1187) was developed by a group of deputies from the ruling party “Party of Regions” (M. Soroka, S. Kivalov, H. Kaletnyk), other two are alternative: 2nd – oppositional one (№ 1187-1), which was developed by A. Yatseniuk, V. Klitschko, O. Orobets, and the current chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Science and Education L. Hrynevych, and the 3rd project № 1187-2 was submitted by V. Baloha and prepared by a working group led by the Rector of the National Technical University of Ukraine “Kyiv Polytechnic Institute” M. Zgurovsky from previous government and alternative projects. Thus, the Ministry is not the author of any project, but now they actively support draft 1187.

It’s very important that the society, academic community, faculty, students, politicians are discussing the future of Ukrainian higher education, are debating on the changes to the Law that must be introduced, that confirm the active position of civil society, but also the politicization of education issues. The Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Science and Education L. Hrynevych said: “These debates are not held between authors of different bills, but between two paradigms – two visions of not only higher education, but also the entire Ukrainian society. Today we choose not only a model of higher education, but a model of society, the model of country we will live in”. Thus, the academic community, policy makers, experts and students agree that the various projects offer essentially different ways of Higher Education of Ukraine, and the Parliament should adopt the law, which will provide basic academic rights, real university autonomy and decentralization of higher education.

The Resolution on the results of the Roundtable “Bills on higher education: the findings of community” was adopted by the leading experts in educational policy and representatives of student organizations, it is considered that “the revival of higher education in Ukraine is possible only if the law ensure the autonomy of higher education institutions, which is based both on a broad decentralization and the democratization of governance practices within the universities themselves, the decentralization of higher education at the national level, an increase of public funding and at the same time establish full transparency and accountability on the use of budget funds”. It is worth mentioning that all bills legalize Bologna terminology: European Credit Transfer System, ECTS credits, the European Higher Education Area.

The extended session of the Parliamentary Committee on Science and Education February 27, 2013 “On legislative provision development of higher education in Ukraine” was devoted to discussing the future of higher education in Ukraine. The Recommendations of the Parliamentary Committee hearings defines the priority problems and their solutions, in particular for improvement of legal mechanisms of equal access to higher education, elimination of inconsistencies of higher education content and the needs of society and the labor market, improving the management of higher education, providing university autonomy, establishing a system of quality assurance, integration of Ukraine to the European educational area.

Today, first we must formulate a unified strategy for higher education and science in Ukraine and a common vision of goals for changing legislation. Higher education of Ukraine must lead to national progress and all-round development; provide quality training for government and high-tech economy and sustainable development of the country. This requires innovative administrative and legislative decisions. That is the main purpose of higher education, and it must be taken while reforming the legislation base.

Thus, new Law should provide the implementation of the European experience of LLL-learning, of government-public system of higher education, establishing of Schools of Business, Corporate Universities, integration of university-employer (order for training specialists must be reformed), development and promotion of national and international academic mobility of students and teachers.

The list of references:

1. Kremen V. Higher Education in Ukraine: UNESCO-CEPES Books on higher education / V. Kremen, S. Nikolajenko and others. – Bucharest, 2006. – 99 p.

2. Finikov T. The national system of higher education joining to the European Higher Education and Research Area: Analytical Report / T.Finikov. – K., 2012. – 54 p.