Childhood in numbers
To find a place in a kindergarten is a real problem, and with every passing year, it escalates. Young people move massively to the cities, and many small towns and villages simply do not have kindergartens. If in 1991 Ukraine had 2.3 thousand preschool institutions, in 2000 year the number decreased to 1.2 thousand, and in 2010 - to 1.1 thousand kindergartens.
For the last two years there have been reopened 875 kindergartens more, which is 77 thousand more places, but the preschool institutions are still overcrowded. On average, there are 116 children per 100 places available. The most overcrowded regions are Zakarpattya (142 kids per 100 places), Lvivska (139 per 100), Volynska (132 per 100), Rivnevska (131 per 100) and Chernovitska (130 per 100).
The majority of children going to kindergartens (81%) are in the age of 3-5 years, and 15.2% - babies under two years old.
Embrace the boundless
But even without statistics parents know that if one wants to put his kid in a kindergarten he has to fight. Many parents line up for a place immediately after the birth of a child:
"When Ivan was only nine month old, we lined up in the nearest to the house kindergarten," Kyiv resident Oksana from Vinogradar told ForUm. "For more than two years we were going there for a checkup. In the end of August, we finally brought the documents to apply for admission, but the manager told us our name was not on the list and there were no free places. She offered us a fee-paying group with the same conditions, but with 500 hryvnias more to pay. We decided not to go there. At the end of September, we easily joined another nearby kindergarten. The only thing they asked was to help financially - to buy cleansing agents or to make an official bank transfer for household expenses."
Olga from Solomenski district was less lucky. "We learned from the local education authority that the nearby kindergarten had free places, but when we came there the manager said they do not take children without vaccination and warned that all preschool institutions follow the same practice. Thus, I did not go anywhere else. I believe I have to stay with my son at home. I will try to prolong the maternity leave, but frankly speaking I do want to resume working," she told ForUm. When we noted that her child was refused the place illegally and that properly documented refusal from vaccination is not a ground to refuse a place in a kindergarten the young mother only made a helpless gesture. "They know better the legislation. Besides, the daughter of our friends was also refused the place, as the family does not have Kyiv residence," she said.
Kyiv resident Maryna told us she chose the easiest way. "Our kindergarten is ordinary, but close to the house. We went there last December. We had a long and polite conversation with the manager, after which we were offered to donate to the kindergarten. The sum was bearable for us and the next day our child was enlisted."
Who is to blame
According to the data from the Education Ministry, as of September 20, 2012 the net of preschool institutions of Ukraine numbered 16 thousand 321 establishments, and various forms of preschool education cover 99.9% of children.
The law of Ukraine "On preschool education" says: citizens of Ukraine have equal rights for preschool education regardless of types and forms of ownership of kindergartens.
As ForUm learned from the Education Ministry, the issue of formation and control of preschool queues is not stipulated by the law, meaning officially there are no lines. However, the Ministry recommends introducing the program of electronic registration in all regions of Ukraine. Education authorities of Kyivska, Chernovitska, Ivano-Franskivska, Donetska and Vinnitska regions have already launched such program. Now parents can check through Internet the number of available places in a kindergarten and enlist their children. The availability of places can be checked also without Internet - parents should simply appeal to the local education authority for information.
Documents, certificates, applications
The manager of a kindergarten must enlist children during the calendar year basing on applications from parents. In turn, parents must provide the following documents: application form, birth certificate, medical certificate proving the child can attend preschool institution, medical certificate from district pediatrician about epidemiologic environment. Enlistment of children in nursery is carried out on the usual terms.
For enlistment into kindergartens or groups for children with speech disorders, parents must provide additional documents, like evaluation of psychological, medical and pedagogical consultation or of territorial healthcare facility, certificate from tuberculosis dispensary and referral from the local education authority.
This is the procedure of admission of children to state and communal kindergartens.
If you 'cannot', you should
If kindergarten management requires more documents from you, the Education Ministry recommends appealing to the local education authority, as the law of Ukraine "On preschool education" stipulates that persons violating legislation on preschool education bear responsibility through the due process of law.
If you come across power abuses and corruption, appeal to the local education authority. Believe it or not, but for many workers of education sphere the name of this authority sounds scary, as this state body has enough information and powers.
Besides, parents have a right to choose the type of the preschool institution: a classical kindergarten, a short period staying group based of education institutions, a center of development or licensed tutors.
There are no diplomas or certificates proving preschool education, thus it cannot be an obstacle for admission to a school. However, advantages of kindergartens are obvious: a child can communicate, play and develop, while the mum can resume working and socializing. To go or not to go is a personal choice of every parent. The point is not to be deprived of this choice because of power abuse or legal ignorance.
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