Say a word for tuition students  

A few years ago for education of my friend, her parents (not businessmen, not politicians, but ordinary average Ukrainians) paid more than 65 thousand UAH in the highest-rated state university in the country.  Nowadays, we can only imagine, what a serious burden can be laid on the shoulders of students’ parents, as prices for tuition basis in some Ukrainian state universities have been raised to terrible rates but the peoples’ ability to pay is almost at the same level. For example, a year of education in her Faculty will cost not 16 000 UAH but 38 000 or 152 000 UAH, and it’s only bachelor degree. For such amount you could "buy" at least half of the small apartment in the newly-erected building in the capital...

Non-tuition students «to the left», tuition students «to the right»

For many years the problems of tuition students in Ukraine are being carefully ignored. They say: "Expensive tuition basis? Everything is in your hands, study hard, join the non-tuition basis, achieve a scholarship and study for free. " Unfortunately, in practice, it turnes out otherwise: someone doesn’t has a few points for the " non-tuition basis ", and someone doesn’t has enough non-tuition places in the chosen field. Then, the students, who choose the tuition form of education in the State Institution of Higher Education, often feel the moral and psychological coercion, and become the "second-rate" students. Although, that fact, that the student is on the tuition basis does not mean, that he is stupid or less talented than the student on the non-tuition basis – before university and during the education. Unfortunately, even with more or less equal scores, at the end of the month one part of the students gladly achieve the scholarship, and the other part has to take money from their parents...

Realities of Ukrainian education

According to the research "Higher Education in Ukraine: State and Problems" (edited Zhilyayev I.B, Kovtunets V.V, Syomkin M.V) since the 1995 market relationships have been introduced into State Institutions of Higher Education: the quantity of students who studied on the non-tuition basis has been decreasing rapidly, and the quantity of students who studied on the tuition basis has been increasing. Nowadays, almost every second student studies at his/her own expense and without scholarship.

At the same time, the current system of scholarships charging requires a review, and government circles agree with it. So it was proposed to divide the students into two categories: those, who can’t survive without government assistance, and those, who belong to the family with average income or higher. Students from the second category don’t require any scholarship, and therefore, the country's budget could save a lot of money. But such move hasn’t been supported by society yet.

Instead, the new Law of Ukraine "On Higher Education" establishes that the minimum scholarship shouldn’t be lower than the subsistence minimum in Ukraine (currently it is about 1,400 USD). Now, non-tuition students achieve about 930 UAH per month and have a chance to increase it. And the half of Ukrainian students does not achieve scholarships at all. At the same time, prices for education on the tuition basis are growing for thousand. Unfortunately, nobody speaks about it until ... until the students’ protest appears, as it happened at the Faculty of Yuriy Fedkovych Chernivtsi National University.

Expensive to be a lawyer

- In March 2016, we knew of the possibility of increasing tuition fees, which was proposed by accounts department of Chernivtsi National University. I would like you to understand, that the tuition basis for a lawyer costs 12 000 UAH at the moment, and they want to raise it up to 17 thousand - tells the magazine "I am a student" Andrew Hubchenko, who is studying law at Chernivtsi National University. - After our request to justify this decision, Head of the University noted, that calculation of the cost is economically reasonable and consistent with the principles of righteousness. Is it morally to take the last penny from the students? No, it is not. According to the CNU law students, in university administration, there is a stereotype that in law field study only rich students, but it is not so, and such considerable  increase in price for tuition basis – at once 5 000,  can be a serious blow for them. Whereas, for the university - a good profit. At the Faculty of Law at Yuriy Fedkovych Chernivtsi National University, there is hundreds of full-time students and 90% of them are tuition. Moreover, the students with the Chernivtsi regional branch of the Student Anti-Corruption Agency, which was established in spring 2016, investigated about the calculation of the cost for studying Law at the CNU and found that this Faculty is the most profitable in their university.

- In this case, the is discrimination on the ground of profession - comments the Head of Chernivtsi Regional branch of the Student Anti-Corruption Agency, Christine Vorobei. - Analyzing the cost of education, it can be concluded that the prime cost of education does not meet the payments for it. After all, law students do not need additional equipment, devices or chemical reagents, but the fees are among the highest in comparison with other departments of Chernivtsi National University. At the same time, current expenses under "Costs for the purchase of materials, payment services and other current expenditures" are different at different faculties and institutes in the current academic year, but the cost of education  at all fields are equal - 1059 76 UAH., - said Christine Vorobei.

 

So what for they raised the tuitions fees for the students at the Law Faculty? (And by the way, the tuition fees in 2016/2017 in the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv for entering the Faculty of Law also increased and is one of the highest in Ukraine - 44 000 per year!)

 Who will protect the rights of tuition students?

Chairman of the Student Anti-Corruption Agency Nikita Andreev also said that the education issue in Ukraine has always been problematic:

- Tuition fees should be reasonable and form transparent. Moreover, it should not change during the education time, - said Nikita. - The existence of a moratorium on raising tuition fees during the semester – is a principled position of student organizations. It’s quite another matter that in our country common legal nihilism is widely-spread, and there are people who do not consider it necessary to follow the laws.

Also, Nikita Andreev notes that student organizations such as the Anti-Corruption Agency and the Ukrainian Association of student self-government are ready to protect the rights of students independently of the bases of education or funding sources.

Education should be free or ...

Article 4 of the Law of Ukraine "On Higher Education" provides: "All persons who acquire higher education in higher educational institutions have equal rights and duties." Doesn’t it contradict coexistence of tuition and non-tuition forms of education in state universities? So one student pays, the other - no, one student achieves a scholarship, the other - again, no. In practice there is no equality Instead, we get the division of students into several categories (“grades”):

1. Those who are non-tuition and achieve a scholarship.

2. Those who are non-tuition but don’t achieve a scholarship.

3. Those who are tuition and pay for education.

Thus, the tuition students pay not only for their education but for education of non-tuition students. And how should they feel themselves? Wouldn’t it be right to make only non-tuition basis in state and refuse the tuition basis? Or, otherwise, abandon the status of budgetary institution and pay income tax?

- Proportion of non-tuition and tuition places is close to optimal, although the structure and distribution should be improved - reflects Nikita Andreev, but notes: - The most talented students and those, who can’t afford to pay tuition fees, should study on the non-tuition basis.

The issue of distribution of tuition and non-tuition places in state universities is ambiguous, and the student of Yuriy Fedkovych Chernivtsi National University Andrew Hubchenko encourages students to defend their rights actively, "In many universities there are problems with payment of tuition, and students shouldn’t be afraid to express their opinion on this issue, because the University can’t exist without students as the students without the University. You should change not the law but the way leaders of the University think. "

This way of thinking is based on existing regulations. Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine in the time of Minister Tabachnyk,  issued valid to the present Order "On approval of procedure for providing paid services by state and municipal educational institutions", and agreed it with the Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of Finance and adjusted with the Department of Justice. Here are the rules that in fact are incompatible with the status of budgetary institutions. Representatives of the Chernivtsi regional branch of the Student Anti-Corruption Agency wrote in their investigation "Paragraph 2.1" Valuation of paid educational services "above mentioned Procedure provides that:" Valuation of paid educational services is based on economically justified costs associated with its provision. Cost unit is the cost of obtaining appropriate educational services paid by one individual for the whole period of its provision", i.e the prime cost of specialist training. However, paragraph 2.1 mentioned above Procedure contains the following paragraph 4: "According to this Procedure educational institution can differentiate the amount of charge for the provision of paid educational services, reasoning from the licensed volume, correlation of supply and demand in specific areas (specialties) of education at the national (regional) market of educational services ", which includes not a general rule but the exception to it.

Not by the general rule of the mentioned Procedure but by this paragraph-exception, guided leaders of Chernivtsi University and other universities, thereby generating inequality of rights and responsibilities of students of different specialties.

Students Chernivtsi University protested against increase in prices for education and it is not clear whether the leadership will make concessions. According to the current Law of Ukraine "On education" (p. 73) "higher educational institution is allowed to change the fees as provided for by the treaty, not more than once a year and not higher than the officially defined rate of inflation for the previous calendar year".

However,this is only “the tip of the iceberg”. Students are not calling into question whether they should pay somebody in the state budget university? State higher educational institutions want to have the status of budgetary institution and achieve money from tuition students at the same time. And, probably, such "oxymoron" funding system seems logical in the economic model oly of our country.

The American example

Instead, other countries have begun to radically revise the approach to the education system. For example, last year Germany has canceled all fees, decided that the amount $ 1,300 per year discourages the Germans from entering college. In the next year, the same will make Chile.

In November, there will be a new president in the US, and the education issue is very popular in campaign speeches of candidates. In particular, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, declared that would fight for that every American who carefully studied in school, could go to college, and no matter how much money his parents have without borrowing. Magazine "I'm a student" tried to change the pre-election schedule of Sanders Clinton connected with future of American Education in Ukrainian fashion.

Five possible steps towards social justice in financing of higher vocational education

(Magazine 'I'm a student "):

1. Provide free education in state universities, which have the status of budgetary institution.

2. Make tuition basis only in state universities, which achieve budget funds, and in private universities.

3. Introduce the concept of student loan with low interest rate (learn from successful experience in the UK).

4. Develop a formal program "Study-Work", where the student is allowed to work during the education and becomes able to pay for it.

5. Students with low-income should achieve the scholarship, which will be designed to cover their expenses for food and accommodation.

So, for our education such steps will be radical and will generate a lot of new problems - for example, how to work off such free education? (By analogy with working off budget, that until recently existed in our system of higher education). However, one thing is clear: the current model of higher education funding needs another vision. Indeed, as underlined authors of quoted earlier research "Higher Education in Ukraine: State and Problems", "lack of a proper state and public control over the targeted use of funds of Higher Educational Institutions leads to the confidence in the high school."

 

 




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