The call comes after one of that country’s most prestigious and expensive private schools, the Pechersk International School, was accused of being involved in “tax optimization.”
It is claimed that the school requires children’s parents to pay for education in the form of “charitable contributions” which are then transferred to a specially created public organization, “PSI”.
The school, where children of diplomats, parliamentarians and celebrities study, is thought to be the only one in Ukraine that is accredited to teach the prestige International Baccalaureate programmes. The holder of an IB diploma is usually admitted to universities participating in the programme without examinations.
An investigative journalist has looked its financial affairs and his allegations were aired at a conference in Brussels. They are strenuously denied by the school.
At a press conference at Brussels press club, Estonian journalist Krister Paris alleged that “charitable contributions” to the school allows it to “minimize taxes.”
Paris also claimed that his extensive journalistic investigations show why “systemic corruption in education holds back other reforms in Ukraine.”
The school, he told reporters, “encourages questionable practices,hides its economy and does not act in a transparent way.”
There are about 350 kids at school which also teaches IB programmes.
His allegations come,he said, at a time of cuts to the education budget and school closures in the country and further planned closures
He said he hopes to “raise international awareness of this issue, not least as this case tarnishes the reputation of Ukraine” and added,, “If this went on in my country, Estonia, it would be a major scandal. Some years ago this would not have raised an eyebrow in Ukraine but this is a problem and hopefully the publicity will effect change.”
Calling on the EU to look into the issue, he said, “EU member states, whose citizens’ children may be attending the school, should pay attention to this.”
“I am here to raise awareness of this on the international level.In the U.S this sort of thing might be called tax management but I would question that. It is, rather, an example of anti EU values. I am here to raise awareness of this on the international level.”
He added, “I have called the school several times but they refused to comment.”
A press officer for the European commission’s education and culture department declined to comment, telling this website, “We will unfortunately not comment. Education is a national competence. The EU cannot supersede the competences of the Member States in the field of education. On this context, you should reach out to the school itself or the Ukrainian authorities.”
A spokesperson for the International Baccalaureate Organization told this site “Accreditation as an IB World School is an educational process only. The financial arrangement of any IB World School is their own concern and would not involve the IB. We recommend you address any such inquiries directly with the school in question.”
Despite repeated attempts by this website to contact the school in Ukraine for a comment no one, as this article went to press, had responded.