IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


UCL academics contribute proposals for policy reform to aid Ukraine’s post-war recovery

10 July 2023

A new report, Ukraine’s Road to Recovery, draws on UCL expertise to offer solutions for Ukrainian reconstruction and recovery that are shaped by robust research insights and evidence.

Young people in a crowd holding Ukrainian flags. Gina / Adobe Stock

The report, published today and coordinated by the Universities Policy Exchange Network (UPEN), presents the results of an independent rapid review of evidence to inform recovery in key areas prioritised by Ukrainian partners. These include the economy, labour market, skills development, population dynamics and the rebuilding of housing infrastructure.  

Professor Fabien Postel-Vinay (UCL Economics) co-authored the first chapter on the Ukrainian labour market, likely challenges relating to reconstruction and recommended policy responses. Professor Lorraine Dearden, Professor of Economics and Social Statistics at IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society, authored a second chapter on strategies for education and skills development to aid both economic and societal recovery.  

Both higher education and vocational training will be essential for the country’s immediate and long-term future, and Professor Dearden emphasises the need for a focus on quality education over quantity.  

Beside education deficits created by the war, educational inequalities created by the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be forgotten. Both mean that policies will need to allow for a large section of children and young adults who potentially lack the capabilities and/or qualifications they need to access routes into vocational and higher education. 

Importantly, skills development and retraining should target the adult population to fit the needs of the recovering economy. However, good skills development is a long-term process, and it is often difficult to predict future skills needs. Therefore the Ukrainian government will need to carefully consider a broad portfolio of educational routes that address both short- and longer-term skills deficits through coordinated planning and high-quality, well-funded education providers. 

Such policies will require substantial financial investment, especially at the outset of the recovery process, therefore leaders and policy makers will need to explore funding methods that are sustainable in the long run. 

Professor Dearden highlights that both the UK and Australia have well-established experience of implementing a more equitable loan design that is sensitive to the host country’s graduate labour market, using income-contingent loans. The report concludes that collaboration with the UK can offer valuable experience.  

Plans for the country’s education and skills need to be closely interlinked with proposals for the labour market and industrial policy, to set Ukraine on the path to economic success, modernisation and social cohesion. 

The report was commissioned by Universities UK International with support from Research England, UKRI and the Royal Society. Preliminary findings were presented at the Ukraine Recovery Conference hosted on 21-22 June 2023.

Jamie Arrowsmith, Director of Universities UK International said: “I hope that this report will serve as a catalyst for academic-policy collaborations in the months and years ahead – and helps inform the direction of future research endeavours, including with partners in the UK, that make a positive contribution to Ukraine’s road to recovery."

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Credit: Gina / Adobe Stock.