KYIV. Oct 23 (Interfax-Ukraine) – Foreign students inject $504 million a year into the Ukrainian economy, with each of the 63,000 foreign studentsin the country paying on average at least around $2,000 for education every year, Deputy Education and Science Minister of Ukraine Oleh Derevianko said at the 3rd Business and Universities national forum on Thursday.
“Under today‘s exchange rate, this is around UAH 11 billion, and this is almost the whole sum of the financing of public higher education in Ukraine,” he said.
The deputy minister said that in general, the state provides UAH 16 billion a year to finance higher education.
However, revenue from foreign students could be higher: according to the assessment of the Center for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Development, the number of foreign students in Ukraine in 2013-2014 totaled almost 70,000 or 4.1% of the total number of students (1.724 million).
At the forum organized by the Center for CSR Development the role of partnerships between businesses and universities in developing innovations was discussed at a panel.
Derevianko said that education could be considered as an economic category and a sector that has an export potential. The attraction of a large number of foreign students could bring more funds to the country‘s economy directly, not only via the training or development of human capital.
Deputy Finance Minister of Ukraine Oksana Markarova said that the Finance Ministry is ready to promote the development of education. The ministry has started decentralization reform in the sector: the Education and Science Ministry and universities could be more autonomous and responsible for their funds. She said that this would separate good universities from bad ones and would provide financial aid to the former.
Derevianko said that the rapid development of universities would start with the change of their status from budget-funded institutions to profit-making organizations, which would introduce new principles of financing.
He said that the number of universities in the country should be cut to no more than 60-70 educational institutions (today 317) which would focus on research. In addition, the creation of a three-level 12-year high school and the increase of prestige of high occupational education are among the top-priorities. Some UAH 100 million has been allocated to the development of schools.
According to the Center for CSR Development, Ukraine is 74th in terms of cooperation between universities and businesses on research, 29th in the number of scientists and engineers, and 50th in the number of applications under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) procedure (3.6 applications per million of population). Ukraine is 33rd in the 2015 Bloomberg innovative countries ranking.
Ukraine is 79th in the competitiveness index in 2015-2016 (out of 140 countries), and 64th in the Global Innovation Index (out of 141 countries) in 2015.
Expenses on education in Ukraine totaled 6.7% of the country‘s GDP, and expenses on research work – 0.8% of GDP.