THE CRISIS IN THE HIGHER EDUCATION SYSTEM OF CONTEMPORARY UKRAINE IN THE CONTEXT OF NATIONAL SECURITY CHALLENGES
The article analyzes the state of the art in the Ukrainian higher education system and education reform during the post-Maidan period. Political, economic factors of university reform are examined in detail for an insight into the transformations over the last years. Special attention is paid to the close correlation between the institutional dynamics of higher education and political factors – the ideology of reform and the government policy in higher education, the political line-up in the parliament and MPs’ views on education and research. The author finds that modernization in higher education during this period was largely correlated with the dynamics of the political transformation of the government.
Two periods in university policy are singled out: the reform period (from mid-2014 to mid-2016) and the stabilization period (2016–2019). The author elicits that the current crisis in the Ukrainian higher education system is caused by the attempt to implement neoliberal approaches toward university policy, while failing to address and even exacerbating unresolved post-Soviet problems. The decline in the quality of higher education has a negative impact on Ukraine's economic competitiveness, the reproduction of the nation's intellectual resources and human capital, as well as social cohesion. It may also trigger new humanitarian security challenges.
In the second part of the article, the author focuses on the macroeconomic conditions for the development of higher education in 2014–2019, the dynamics of public funding and the structure of education expenditures. The analysis finds that during this period, the share of higher education expenditures in the structure of total public expenditures also decreased, and the rationale of the government was motivated by neoliberal approaches.
Particular attention is paid to the analysis of science and research funding in Ukraine. Currently, academic research is in deep crisis, and the system of public funding of Research and Development is inefficient. University research remains underfunded, which results in the further deterioration of the already low research and innovation capacity of national universities. The level of public funding for science in 2014–2019 was the lowest in twenty years and amounted to 0.2–0.25 % of GDP, which did not cover even the minimum needs of the industry. The critical state of affairs in science and research is potentially a national security challenge, as it undermines opportunities for the technological modernization of the national economy, the development of innovative industries, and contributes to the leaking of intellectual resources from Ukraine.
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