The Statement of the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights on inadmissibility of discrimination on the grounds of age in educational reforms

16/10/2015 11:42

On inadmissibility of discrimination

on the grounds of age

in educational reforms


On October 6, 2015 during a briefing in Ukrinform the First Deputy Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine Ms. Inna Sovsun declared intentions of the Ministry within reforming of system of the general secondary education to transfer teachers on the contract basis, having begun with teachers of older (pension) age who continue to work. Thus with such teachers, according to her, one-year contracts are concluded which will be renewed only "if there are hours, a free salary, necessity for additional teachers".

On my belief, the statement of the responsible official of the Ministry that during reform the system will be actually created in which the factor of age of the person will have significance while determining working conditions and, finally, dismissal of the worker, testify to direct discrimination on the grounds of age. Such approach to reform unambiguously breaks both provisions of the Constitution of Ukraine, standard of the current legislation on labor, social protection and principles of prevention and counteraction of discrimination, and the international obligations of Ukraine.

I will remind that article 24 of the Constitution of Ukraine established that it can't be privileges or restrictions according to the inexhaustible list of signs, including on the grounds of age. Also according to point 6 of part one of article 1 of the Law of Ukraine "On Principles of Prevention and Counteraction of Discrimination in Ukraine" direct discrimination is a situation when it behaves less favorably with the person and/or a group of persons upon their certain signs, including age, than with other person and/or a group of persons in a similar situation, except cases when such treatment has lawful, objectively reasonable purpose which ways of achievement are appropriate and necessary.

The announced transfer of only teachers of a retirement age to one-year contracts with low probability of their continuation actually means less favorable treatment which will result to their less advantageous position in comparison with teachers of other age categories, violation of their labor law etc. After all according to part 1 of article 1 of the Law of Ukraine "On Basic Principles of Social Protection of Veterans of Work and Other Citizens of Old Age in Ukraine" the state guarantees to each citizen of old age an appropriate standard of living, satisfaction of various vital needs, in particular, by realization of the right for work according to vocational training, labor skills. According to part of the second article 11 of the Law refusal in employment and dismissal of the worker at the initiative of the owner or his authorized body based on reaching of a retirement age is forbidden. Discrimination of citizens of old age in the field of work is forbidden, and the officials breaking these guarantees are brought to responsibility according to the current legislation (part 3 of article 2 of the Law).

The similar principles concerning working citizens of older age are enshrined in Recommendations of the ILO No. 162 on elderly workers and No. 166 on the termination of the labor relations at the initiative of the employer, the ILO Convention No. 158 "Termination of Employment" of 1982.

Besides, such approach can't be considered proportional to the purpose announced by Ms. Inna Sovsun – updating of teaching structure of comprehensive schools and ensuring teaching at schools by people, "who can teach in a new way".

It means that results of passing of independent certification – system which introduction is expected as a result of adoption of the new Law of Ukraine "On Education" have to become the only basis for not extension of the contract with the teacher irrespective of age.