Education in Ukraine

KNU of Taras Shevchenko

Here`s where we intent to make an overall overview of secondary and higher education in Ukraine to describe it first of all and then compare it with Western one.



We will not center on pre-school education as it almost ceased to exist in our country after the Inpependence. As we were mentioned earlier, many of kindergartens are privatized and rearranged for shoe or garment factories. So we will concentrate on secondary and more on higher education. Not just on statistics, which you can find plenty in the net, but mostly on the very core of educational process, recalls of real pupils and students and what can give Ukrainian to a person in perspective.


Secondary education


We go to school at 6 years. In accordance with the educational level of functioning educational institutions of I degree (elementary school); II degree (primary school); III degree (high secondary school). So after entering a school kid is in the elementary school for 3-4 years. When I entered a school there was 3-year cycle of elementary education. Now it constitute 4 years. After this follows primary school of 5-9 classes. When you graduate from 9 class you ought to pass exams and you can get an certificate about "Incomplete Secondary Education" and then there is a choice what to do next. Young people can enter so called vocational-technical schools. It is analogue of Western colleges but it still related to secondary school: when your graduate from vocational-technical school or professional-technical school (PTS) you will have certificate of "Secondary professional education". This is for people who want to achieve working profession like electrician, locksmith, auto-mechanic etc. These schools aren`t prestigious and in folk we saying that they are "for dupes" but modern practicality overcomes " the sense of uniqueness" and hackneyed pride lately. More and more people choose real profession to themselves instead of illusive university diploma that doesn`t give any extra in applying to work. Wherein the median employment of graduates of vocational schools by received profession in Ukraine in 2006-2007 academic year was 86%. But also you have a choice to graduate from school with "Full Secondary education" certificate. 


Secondary education in Ukraine is mandatory but on the other hand nobody will punish parents if they don`t give their child to school in time. Our society really is very tolerable and compromise in reality. Bit freedom and democracy is not for good when it is overmuch. Many people speculate and mistreat on tolerance of our people and that is one os the biggest erasons why do we live so poorly. But it is for exploration of Ukrainians, not for our current article 🙂 


secondary education, school, Ukraine, learning process

We take foreigners for education, no problem. That is no special requirements for them from our legislation. But it is desirable to know Russian or Ukrainian to educate. Otherwise it can be special terms for such pupils as language courses. Everything can be discussed with scholar manegement in personal touch, don`t worry.


Last time Ukraine took course to make its educational system more similar with European and that`s why we underwent some useful and not much changes in learning process. First of all, the marking scale was changed from 2-5 to 1-12. Soviet scale where "2" means "E" or "Fail", "3" = "satisfactory (C)", "4" = "good (B)", "5" = "excellent (A)" was extended for 3 marks can reveal the shades of each mark. Here`s what does it mean:

  • "12" = "5+"
  • "11" = "5"
  • "10" = "5-"
  • "9" = "4+"
  • "8" = "4"
  • "7" = "4-"
  • "6" = "3+"
  • "5" = "3"
  • "4" = "3-"
  • "3" = "2+"
  • "2" = "2"
  • "1" = "2-"


Doubtful improvement. But not less boudtful was decision to increase the learning cycle from 10 to 12 years and now the most early children graduating in 18 years old. Not bad, they should know everything during this time 🙂


I forgot to say the main thing: exams after school are replaced by tests. This all calls "External independent testing" in Ukraine or "gosekzamen" (state exam) in Russia. And it is a really big hit on corruption. Because independent comission from different schools or even from another city is watching the process of testing and detect cheaters. No mobile phones, no additional literature, just you and computer. After this testing former pupil is eligible to send documents into different istitutes ir universities and will be accepted based on his/her testing results. When I was in age of 17 and graduated from school there was no testing and I had to pass exams in chosen university. And yes, it was very difficult to pass on budget place without bribe or connections just for your own knowledge. Because every university has its own requirements and its hard to determine what do you need to learn. Modern testing is comparatively good way.


Higher education


Institutions of higher education are: College (uchilische), college, institute, conservatory, academy, university and others. 

For higher education, there are four levels of accreditation: 

  • The first level – technical school, other equivalent institutions of higher education; 
  • The second level – college, other equivalent thereto higher education institutions; 
  • The third and fourth levels (depending on the effects of accreditation) – institute, conservatory, academy, university.

Educational levels: 

  • undergraduate education; 
  • basic higher education; 
  • complete higher education; 


Educational qualification levels: 

  • Junior Specialist; 
  • Bachelor; 
  • Specialist and Master.


So it`s a formal structure of higher Ukrainian education. But it says nothing except diversity of educational institutions here in Ukraine. Here we have 220 state universities. For example, in France it is only 41 state unversities. No comments. We should be the most intelligent nation in Europe. But ut`s not. Because of quality of education. In Europe higher education is for chosen people, in Ukraine it is for almost everybody, so when it is not personal but "conveyor" education, it is hard to provide high level of presentation of information.


But we really have decent level of higher education, left from Soviet Union. If one wants to learn good he will because we have a very strong requirements and programms in our universities. The priblem is to find a work after graduation. By statistics only 12-15% of the graduates remain in their sepcialization on the average. Most of them, up to 85% are people of medicine. In other branches everything is not so peachy. Histocals remain in their field only on 5-7% of cases. What we can speaking about if even France can`t find so much workplaces to its graduates having 5 time less number of universities. We need a reform in our economics and education system undoubtedly.


But Ukraine is a nice place for foreign students as we have the same level of knowledge and much more less payment. It opens wide opportunities for African and Arabian students to continue learning in Europe or worldwide as Ukraine ratified Bologne system in 2005 and Europe must is obliged to accept people with Ukrainian diplomas.


At the end of the article I want to show a little ranking of national universities of Ukraine and than we can compare it to European.


KNU, university, Kiev
KNU of Taras Shevchenko

  1. Kiev National University named after Shevchenko (KNU)
  2. Kiev Polytechnic Institute (KPI)
  3. Kharkiv National University. Karazina (KhNU)
  4. Kharkiv Polytechnic Institute (KhPI)
  5. Lviv National University. Franko (LNU)
  6. National University "Lviv Polytechnic" (LPI)
  7. Odessa National University. Mechnikov 
  8. Tauride National University. Vernadsky (Crimea) 
  9. Donetsk National Technical University 
  10. Kyiv-Mohyla Academy 
  11. National University of Life and Environmental Sciences of Ukraine
  12. Donetsk National Medical University. Gorky (DonMU)
  13. Kharkiv National University of Radio Electronics (KNURE)
  14. National Aviation University (NAU)
  15. National Aerospace University. ME Zhukovsky "Kharkiv Aviation Institute" (KhAI)
  16. Sumy State University (SGU)
  17. Donetsk National University (DonNU)
  18. Chernivtsi National University named after Yuriy Fedkovych (ChNU)
  19. Carpathian National University named after Vasyl Stefanik
  20. Dnepropetrovsk National University named after Oles Gonchar (DNU)


educational process in Dnipropetrovsk national university

All of these universities are famous in Ukraine. I don`t understand how does this ranking composed but it pretend to be objective. As for me, I graduated from KNURE and I don`t work by specialization 🙂


In compare with worldwide universities, Ukrainian ones can`t compete. I can`t tell is it fair to say so, but I have big doubt about international raitings. For example, Moscow State University, best of former Soviet institutes,  has only 25-th rank in Europe and 165-th rank by American international research. Of course no Ukrainian university got into that rankings. But this is the indervaluing of our potential in the world, that`s for sure, we can much more better.


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