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You're reading: Ukraine’s wasteful education spending

It is hard to find anyone who is happy with the current state of education here in Ukraine. Polls show that 43 percent of Ukrainians consider the education system as “extremely corrupt.” Petty bribes are routinely demanded for tasks as simple as enrolling a child in public school. The system is watched over by a man whose main contribution to government seems to be to ensure that the title of “least popular minister” is never in question.

If there is one sphere in which Ukrainian education excels, it is in spending money. According to a recent European Commission report, public spending on education accounts for 6.2 percent of gross domestic product, which is more than Germany, Canada, Finland, or the Netherlands, to name only a few. So where is the money going?

Research published at and Kyiv Post last year showed that the educational system is designed to serve a population that no longer exists. A 40 percent decline in school-aged children since independence has not been accompanied by a reduction in the number of schools, teachers, or administrative staff. 

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