Ukrainian Minister of Education announces intent to reduce number of universities

Ukrainian Minister of Education announces intent to reduce number of universities

Oksen Lisovyi, Ukraine’s Minister of Education and Science, has proposed decreasing the number of universities in Ukraine in a recent column for Ukrainska Pravda.

He argued that the current number of universities is simply too large for the number of students graduating, noting that the state sometimes ends up “financing the walls” of many institutions rather than prioritizing quality of education.

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Lisovyi pointed out that the number of graduates in Ukraine has gradually decreased over recent decades, rendering the country’s educational system, which was adequate in years past, outdated for today’s needs. Consolidating multiple schools into a single university is one solution.

“We are sometimes literally financing the walls of institutions, preserving institutional legacies rather than improving current education,” Lisovyi wrote.

“Instead of dividing limited funds between multiple struggling universities, it would be more effective to consolidate resources into fewer, stronger institutions. Focusing investments to create centers of excellence would be a better strategy.”

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However, he added that universities merging with other institutions would maintain their sectoral specializations, a degree of autonomy, and retain highly qualified personnel.

“Specialized scientific schools will become independent institutes or faculties,” he wrote.

“Highly qualified personnel will be retained because their value is recognized. Some experts will continue working in sectoral institutes, while others may join departments of the university that their institution is integrating with.”

Lisovyi also pointed out that the World Bank’s “Improving Higher Education in Ukraine for Results” project includes funds to modernize the physical infrastructure and equipment of the institutions being consolidated.

“We are talking about funds of up to $1.5 million per institution, some of which will be specifically allocated for the development of the joining establishments,” the minister said.

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