The Ukrainian education system is undergoing a transformation aiming to adapt it to the European and global education processes and to build a system which eventually ensures that graduates can compete not only in Ukraine but also in the European and international labour markets.

At this stage, the Ministry of Education and Science is preparing reforms in the secondary and higher education that are to significantly change the Ukrainian education system. In particular, they plan a transition to the K-12 schooling system, as well as a reduction of the number of students receiving state scholarship (state quota) in higher education institutions. Students’ enrollment to a new primary school (1-4 grades) and a new professional high school (10-12 grades) is planned for 1 September 2018. The Ministry is also going to reform the high school (after the 9th grade) by giving students a choice of three ways of finishing secondary school: academic high school, vocational lyceum or college.

Although the Ukrainian government promised to make education a top priority in the 2017 state budget and to increase teachers' salaries up to 30%, the economic situation in the education sector remains alarming. The president of the Trade Union of Education and Science Workers of Ukraine (TUESWU), G. Truhanov, says: "Salaries of education personnel are still low, especially considering the sharp increase of the utility and electricity tariffs by two to three times. The announced increase of teachers’ salaries is not enough, it does not even compensate for the increase in tariffs."

TUESWU is concerned about the lack of funding in the education sector, which results in teachers’ salary arrears (as of 1 September 1 2016 amounting to €1 million), state adaptations of the education institution system by merging small schools, closing education institutions, especially in rural areas, and reducing education personnel (the government plans to cut almost 23,000 research posts and about 4,000 teaching posts). As a result, Ukraine witnesses a high departure of qualified teachers and academic staff and students abroad.

Under these conditions, TUESWU together with the Confederation of Trade Unions of Ukraine continues the fight for the reform of the pay system and for increased public financing of the education sector, as well as for the establishment of fair and reasonable utility and electricity tariffs. If the dialogue with the government does not result in anything, the trade unions plan to resume protests in late September 2016.