World Bank approves $200 mln loan to Ukraine for modernization of higher education institutions
The World Bank's Board of Executive Directors approved today a $200 million project to support the Government of Ukraine's efforts to strengthen efficiency, quality, and transparency of the country’s higher education system.
"The project – Ukraine Improving Higher Education for Results – will help boost the quality of the higher education sector, as well as its relevance to labor market needs, while also promoting resilience and continuity of learning in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic," the WB's press release says.
According to it, the project will finance investments in the modernization of teaching and research facilities and digital learning infrastructure of higher education institutions (HEIs) to ensure learning continuity through remote learning modalities and to support resilience and change management over the longer term. It will also support the development of modern digital infrastructure for distance learning and creation of advanced teaching and research laboratories and learning support facilities. Another objective of this project is to improve transparency of Ukraine’s education sector through modernization of the Higher Education Management Information System and establishment of a National Student Survey and unified information system on competitive research funding of HEIs.
"As Ukraine recovers from the pandemic, we also strongly support Ukraine's higher education system in its efforts to be better technically and digitally equipped for providing learning in the post-COVID-19 world," Arup Banerji, World Bank Regional Country Director for Eastern Europe, is quoted in the press release.
The Ukraine Improving Higher Education for Results Project will be implemented over a five-year period by the Ministry of Education and Science (MOES) of Ukraine. The MOES will have overall responsibility for project coordination and monitoring of the implementation progress.
The project documents indicate that the network of 231 state higher education institutions (there are 327 higher education institutions in Ukraine) is too large and ineffective given the shrinking population and creates problems for both financial sustainability and the quality of services. About 60% of academic higher education institutions have less than 5,000 students. There are also more than 300 state colleges and technical schools in Ukraine, with an average of 550 students. Most universities and colleges/technical schools (about 75%) are legally subordinate to the Ministry of Education and Science.
The World Bank's current investment project portfolio in Ukraine amounts to just over $3 billion, in nine ongoing investment projects and one Program for Results operation, and is expected to grow to around $3.6 billion over the next two months. The investments support improvements in basic public services that directly benefit ordinary people in areas such as water supply, sanitation, heating, power, energy efficiency, roads, social protection and healthcare, as well as private sector development.
Since Ukraine joined the World Bank in 1992, the Bank's commitments to the country have totaled approximately $13 billion in about 70 projects and programs.