The Council of Europe has consistently supported the efforts of Ukraine to reform and institutionally strengthen the system of vocational training for public authorities, to make it flexible and innovative, to create appropriate conditions for professional growth and to base it on contemporary international standards and principles of good governance.
"A perfect contemporary vocational training system means more than just a system with good teachers and programmes. A modern, perfect vocational training system creates the necessary preconditions for continuous improvement, encourages teachers to enhance curricula, enables students to achieve the best results from their studies and apply them in practice, as well as enables management to choose the most effective training," said Daniel Popescu, Head of the Democracy and Governance Department, Directorate General for Democracy and Human Dignity, Council of Europe.
Considering the provisions of the European Commission's Memorandum on Lifelong Learning, the new model of vocational training for civil servants, heads of local state administrations, their first and deputy heads, local self-government officials, and local council deputies being formed in Ukraine is based on the following principles:
- identifying professional development needs;
- proximity of educational services to the place of residence and work of the person;
- compulsory and continuity, ensuring the lifelong pursuit of self-education and professional development;
- dedication, prognosticity and proactive nature;
- innovation and practical orientation;
- individualisation and differentiation of learning approaches;
- guaranteed funding for vocational training.
The efforts to improve the vocational training system are conducted with the assistance of the Council of Europe Centre of Expertise for Good Governance. Specifically, with the help of its toolkit on best practices, human resource management and analysis of the training needs of public servants. This support is currently provided through the Council of Europe Programme "Strengthening Good Democratic Governance and Resilience in Ukraine" under the Council of Europe Action Plan for Ukraine "Resilience, Recovery and Reconstruction" for 2023-2026.
The cooperation was initiated at the request of the National Agency of Ukraine on Civil Service (NAUCS). It began with the Council of Europe's peer review "Reforming the System of Training for Local Self-Government Officials in Ukraine". Thus, they jointly identified priorities for further work. These include stimulating demand and analysing the training needs of local self-government officials, creating conditions for the operation of a modern competitive training service market, and a number of other recommendations.
At the request of Ukrainian partners, the Council of Europe was also involved in the development of the Concept for Reforming the System of Vocational Training for Civil Servants, Heads of Local State Administrations, their First and Deputy Heads, Local Self-Government Officials and Local Council Deputies. The recommendations of its peer review formed the basis of the Regulation on the System of Vocational Training for Civil Servants, Heads of Local State Administrations, their First Deputies and Deputies, Local Government Officials and Members of Local Councils. As a reminder, this Regulation was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine Resolution No. 106 of 6 February 2019.
In general, a number of innovations have been launched to support the reform of the vocational training system in Ukraine with the participation of the Council of Europe.
An essential event for the reform was the NAUCS' launch of the Knowledge Management Portal in 2020. This contributed to the implementation of the Council of Europe's recommendations. In particular, the Portal informs about the available vocational and academic training programmes in the speciality of Public Administration and Management. It also allows representatives of public authorities to register for the advanced training programmes of their choice.
The NAUCS also established an Expert Advisory Council for the approval of advanced training programmes for civil servants, heads of local state administrations, their first and deputy heads, local government officials and local council deputies. This was to ensure the quality of advanced training programmes developed by various providers of vocational training services. Various stakeholders, including local self-government associations and international organisations, joined the Council. They review advanced training programmes for compliance with the needs of public authorities, priority areas of advanced training, as well as the current requirements for the programme content and structure. The Council reviews up to 100 advanced training programmes each month. We are proud that for the fourth year in a row, the Expert Council has been headed by the Council of Europe's consultants!
The annual Competition of Best Practices in Educational Innovations helps to identify, collect and disseminate the best professional learning tools at the national level. It was launched by the NAUCS in line with the recommendations of the Council of Europe. Today, the competition has become a modern exchange platform for educational programme providers. It allows to deepen their cooperation and serves as a tool for raising the standards of professional training and self-education. Competitors are the providers of educational services in the field of vocational training, state authorities, local self-government bodies, as well as others whose employees are subject to the Law of Ukraine "On Civil Service" and conduct internal training. The 2023 competition to be announced soon - don't miss out! Share your experience with the colleagues and get recognised!
Modern forms and methods of public service development allow to effectively transform the system of public authorities and local self-government in Ukraine. This also enables public authorities to provide citizens with services of higher quality, even in the face of Russia's armed aggression against Ukraine, and contributes to the European integration of the country.
"People are the main resource of public authorities. And the quality of governance at the central and local levels largely depends on the qualifications of public authorities, their competence, motivation and ethics. Therefore, investing in the vocational training system means investing in Ukraine's future. It is essential to reap the benefits of good democratic governance," said Daniel Popescu.