Saturday, 26 March 2016

Professional-technical schools on the brink of survival

High Council of Ukraine accepted state budget for 2016 year on 25th December 2015 at 4:04 AM! Does any parliament work at night like Ukrainian votes? And all laws, what were secretly voted in Ukrainian parliament’s building, bring negative changes to Ukrainian society. So state budget-2016 isn’t the exception in this tendency, because at that night Ukrainian people’s deputies replaced financing type for professional-technical schools (PTS). From the moment of the foundation these schools were always financed from state budget and in 2016 they must be financed from local budgets: when it’s situated in the city of regional importance – from the treasury of that city, in another cases – from regional treasuries. And such innovations made financial collapse in educational system of the regions and put almost all Ukrainian professional-technical schools on the brink of survival and a lot of them may be closed in 2016, because local budgets don’t have necessary sums to finance vocational-technical education. Moreover, local officials don’t understand why they are forced by the government to finance PTS buildings what are on the state balance and aren’t communal property and nowadays there is no lawful mechanism to exclude them from the list of state property. Besides it, the majority of local bureaucrats are indignant to give cash for education of non-local youth who came to their cities from near-by towns and villages or even from another region. Searching better solution of the problem of PTS financing, Ukrainian parliament voted the amendments to the law about state budget-2016 and in fact returned state maintenance to professional-technical schools, but President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko put a veto on these amendments on 18th March 2016, so budgetary 2016 year’s changes of PTS financing are still valid. And the Minister of Finance of Ukraine Natalia Yaresko, who had invented that changes and had proposed it to Ukrainian parliament, said that government would analyze current situation in PTS during the first quarter of 2016 year and could offer new replacements in state budget-2016.
Meanwhile state power and local authorities can’t divide their duties in reference to professional-technical schools, its teachers don’t see their wages in the pockets and students don’t get their scholarships for 2-3 months. Many Ukrainian PTS have debts for the utilities, that’s why some PTS and its dormitories have already been disconnected from heat, electricity and/or water supply in first months of 2016. And PTS students are mainly children from destitute families or from large families where only one parent has a job, and there also orphans, half-orphans and invalids, so these young persons don’t have money to get private high education or to graduate from some university or academy in general, because their relatives haven’t possibilities to favour in it. That’s why after finishing nine or eleven classes of secondary school, Ukrainian needy youth enter professional-technical schools to get any working vocation and to have unique chance to earn in the life. Acquiring professional knowledge and skills in Ukrainian PTS, children become builders, plasterers, bricklayers, electricians, electric welders, locksmiths, car mechanics, drivers with categories B and C, computer operators, sellers, cashiers, cooks, confectioners, waiters, bartenders, restaurant or hotel administrators, hairdressers, manicurists, makeup artists, tailors, seamstresses, carpenters or woodcarvers, florists, etc. And cutting of PTS state financing can cause its final closing. Since the beginning of 2016 professional-technical schools don’t receive even guaranteed state expenses to buy food for the students-orphans, so PTS workers ask local businessmen for their contributions that the orphans don’t starve, like it happened in Kamyanets-Podilskyy in Khmelnytskyy region, or local volunteers gather needful sums and help PTS, for example, in Teplodar in Odesa region, or teachers use product reserves from own neighbouring vegetable gardens, which are often planted near PTS in small towns in Ukraine. Professional-technical schools’ students survive how everyone can and here are some their stories. Nadia studies in Ostroh High Professional-Technical School in Rivne region and she is from a large family, her mother is invalid and father is unemployed, so she borrows cash in godmother or granny to buy meal, at the same time Vasyl, who is also studying in that PTS, is orphan, his scholarship was his mean of subsistence and nowadays he can hope only for outsiders’ aid. Sofia from Novovolynsk Professional-Technical School no.11 (Volyn region) gets money from her father, who is sole breadwinner in the family with four children, because her mother is in decree. Nadia from Uman Agrarian Lyceum (Cherkasy region) said journalists that her fellows worked at night or in the day-time, arranging with lyceum’s management about their possible absence. And 17-year-old orphan Serhiy is studying in specialized group for disabled students in Uman Professional Lyceum no.9, so he worries what will be with him and where he’ll go in the case of closing of this professional-technical school, where he is able to get some occupation and to live in its dormitory. Though what must PTS teachers do, if they don’t get salary for their teaching and often work, feeling regular starvation, as one of Mukachevo teachers-protesters told journalists about the state of health of some his colleagues? So the workers of professional-technical schools from various Ukrainian regions organized large meeting in Kyiv on 28th January 2016 to attract the attention of state power to solve PTS problems and to return its state financing. That’s why PTS teachers and students blocked traffic on the roads, for example, Kyiv-Chop road in Mukachevo in Transcarpathian region, and Kovel-Zhovkva road in Novovolynsk in Volyn region, and also protested near city councils and state regional administrations in Lviv, Ternopil, Zhytomyr, Sumy, Khmelnytskyy, Rivne, Odesa, Zaporizhzhya regions, etc. But those protests aided a little, because the majority of town councils couldn’t allot any payment to local PTS. And the examples of PTS financing from local treasuries, when Kharkiv city council allotted money for the needs of Kharkiv PTS for all 2016 year, Chernihiv town council found costs to pay teachers’ wages and students’ scholarships in the first half-year of 2016, Drohobych and Ivano-Frankivsk city officials could give financing of salaries and scholarships only in January of 2016 – there are the exclusions in present state of the affairs of Ukrainian professional-technical schools.
So I guess it’s a duty of Ukrainian state power and local officials not to leave PTS teachers jobless and poor children uneducated and without free acquiring some profession. Or do they think in another way? Though children of Ukrainian statesmen, of course, don’t acquire knowledge in Ukrainian PTS. Children of President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko and of the Head of Ukrainian parliament Volodymyr Hroysman prefer British high education, as numerous Ukrainian media sites tell. And where did elder daughter of Minister of Finance of Ukraine Natalia Yaresko enter after finishing Pechersk School International in Kyiv? Ukrainian journalists are silent about it. But I don’t think that two daughters of this inventor of liquidation of PTS state financing, which have American citizenship and had possibility to go to such prestigious secondary school in Ukrainian capital, will work seller, waiter, manicurist or seamstress or will get any other vocational-technical education.
At least. Where are real reforms of this Cabinet of the Ministers of Ukraine, which enjoyed to get credits from International Monetary Found and from diverse world governments and global financial organisations during almost two years? Or is it one of “planned reforms” of current Prime Minister Yatsenyuk’s government – to destroy Ukrainian professional-technical schools and to make Ukraine a country of destitute uneducated people? So why does President Poroshenko not stop this destroying?

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