Co-chairman of the OPPOSITION BLOC faction in the parliament, Oleksandr Vilkul said: “The power pushes Ukraine into the Middle Ages, reducing the accessibility of higher education, including through the reduction of state orders and scholarships.”
The government plans to reduce the number of scholarships recipients several times. If in 2016 70-75% of students received them, then in 2017 they will be 40-45%, and in 2018 they should remain only 25%. In another two years - only 15%.
“Scholarships should be raised, but not through the selection of payments from students. Scholarships are investments in the future of our country, but the government directs money to a 900% bonus to officials,” Oleksandr Vilkul stressed.
He noted that the current level of scholarships is insufficient, but it makes it possible to have at least some funds to students from low-income families. “The decision not to pay scholarships to most students will deprive young people who come from other cities and whose parents are not able to give children money, opportunities to study in universities,” he said.
Recall that for the academic year 2017-2018, the Cabinet reduced the state order to budget places by 6.8%, compared with 2013.
“Reducing budgetary places and scholarships will increase the outflow of talented young people from Ukraine. A lot of countries offer Ukrainian students free education, and even free accommodation. Only in Poland in recent years the number of Ukrainian students has increased at times. And given the growing crisis in Ukraine, most of them do not even think about going back,” the opposition leader said.
To protect the youth, Oleksandr Vilkul submitted to the Verkhovna Rada a draft law No. 6191 of March 15, 2017, which returns the scholarship payment system that was earlier (before the adoption of the pro-government draft law No. 1774-VIII of December 6, 2016 on reducing the number of scholarships).
In Oleksandr Vilkul’s draft law it is proposed:
- to receive academic scholarships from 2/3 to 75% of students, as it was before. Today, only 40-45% of students receive scholarships;
- to establish a minimum amount of academic and social scholarships at least below the subsistence level (today the Cabinet itself sets the amount of scholarships);
- to assign increased academic scholarships not according to the criteria established by the Cabinet, but as previously - by the decision of the academic council of the university;
- to return the norm of the social scholarship for orphans at the level not less than 150% of the amount of the scholarship, and also an annual aid for the purchase of textbooks of at least 3 scholarships;
- for students with disabilities, we propose to provide a guaranteed social scholarship, which they will receive along with a disability pension.
In addition, Oleksandr Vilkul registered in the parliament a draft law (No. 5315) on charging penalties for non-payment of scholarships, salaries and pensions. The Verkhovna Rada Committee on Social Policy recommended introducing that draft law to the session hall for voting.