Ukraine has announced major cuts in higher education following a Presidential decision to reduce the state wage bill. The country's post-Soviet economic crisis has meant that government employees, including university staff, have been receiving their salaries months in arrears.
President Leonid Kuchma wants the overall backlog reduced to the equivalent of one month's wage bill.
Student intake this year has therefore been cut by 4,600 full-time places and 5,200 correspondence places. Twelve colleges offering degrees by evening and correspondence courses have been closed. However, according to Yury Orobets, the deputy minister of education, the number of students enrolled under a contact system through which their tuition fees are paid by their future employers, has increased considerably.
According to Mr Orobets, the cuts have already made it possible to reduce the debt in salaries and grants in the higher education sector from 18.6 trillion (Pounds 68 million) karbovantsy to 17.1 trillion.
In medical colleges and academies, which come under the health ministry budget, the cuts will be even more drastic. According to acting health minister Andriy Serdyuk, one in three lecturers will be made redundant. Redundancies are also scheduled in scientific and medical research.