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ENIC UKRAINE
National Information Centre
of Academic Mobility

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QUALIFICATION LEVELS

The structure of higher education includes educational levels (incomplete higher education, basic higher education, complete higher education) and qualifiaction levels (junior specialist, bachelor, specialist, and master).

Junior specialist. The standard schooling time under the junior specialist’s program on the basis of a complete general secondary education is 2–3 years, and on the basis of a basic general secondary education while at the same time obtaining a complete general secondary education it is 3–4 years. Graduates who successfully pass state examinations receive a junior specialist’s diploma that gives them the right to engage in professional activities and apply for enrollment in the bachelor’s degree program.

Bachelor. Bachelors are prepared on the basis of a complete general secondary education. The standard schooling time is usually 3–4 years or two-three years less if the study proceeds from the qualification level of a junior specialist in the same specialization area. Graduates who successfully pass state examinations receive a bachelor’s diploma that gives them the right to engage in professional activities and apply for enrollment in a specialist’s or master’s degree program.

Specialist. The standard schooling time under the specialist’s degree program on the basis of a bachelor’s qualification is 1–1.5 years; and schooling time for a medical or veterinary specialist’s degree ranges from 5 to 6 years on the basis of a complete general secondary education. Graduates who successfully pass state examinations and publicly defend their thesis receive a specialist’s diploma that gives them the right to engage in professional activities and apply for enrollment in a master’s degree program or in a post-graduate department.

Master. The master’s qualification can be obtained after the bachelor’s or specialist’s qualification. To obtain a master’s degree, the student normally needs to study for 1-2 years. Graduates need to pass state examinations, which includes public defense of their master’s thesis. Those who successfully pass state examinations receive a master’s diploma that gives them the right to engage in professional activities and apply for enrollment in the post-graduate department.

Academic Degrees

Candidate of Sciences is an academic degree that can be earned by the holder of a master’s or specialist’s qualification and, usually, studies at the post-graduate department of an institution of higher learning or a research establishment. An alternative way of obtaining this degree is bypassing the post-graduate department and studying under the guidance of a thesis supervisor who works at the educational institution. This approach was practiced in the Soviet Union for those who were not able to study at the post-graduate department. Earning the degree of Candidate of Sciences means the successful public defense of a relevant dissertation. The standard time of study in the post-graduate department is 3 years (daytime) or 4 years (extramural).

Doctor of Sciences is the highest academic degree available for holders of the degree of Candidate of Sciences who study under a doctoral program (or use an alternative way in their pursuit of this degree) at a higher educational institution or a research establishment. Earning the degree of Doctor of Sciences means conducting original research, obtaining significant innovative scientific results that promise practical application, publishing them in the scientific press and publicly and successfully defending a relevant dissertation. The time of study under the doctoral program on general terms does not exceed 3 years.

VOCATIONAL EDUCATION

Vocational education is a system of training qualified workers. Vocational education is a component of the educational system of Ukraine. It is a complex of teaching and organizational arrangements aimed at helping people to acquire knowledge, abilities, and skills in their chosen vocational areas.

Vocational education is acquired in vocational educational institutions under a day-time, evening (shift-based), intra-extra mural, distance learning, and external study arrangement, on the job and off the job, and under individual curricula. The pre-requisite for vocational education is a basic or complete secondary education.

Types of vocational educational institutions:

  • vocational educational institution of a specific specialization profile;
  • vocational school of social rehabilitation;
  • higher vocational school;
  • vocational lyceum;
  • vocational lyceum of a specific specialization profile;
  • vocational school of arts;
  • vocational and technical school of arts;
  • higher vocational and technical school of arts;
  • school-agro-industrial firm;
  • higher school-agro-industrial firm;
  • school-factory;
  • vocational and technical education center;
  • vocational education center;
  • production training center;
  • training and re-training center for workers;
  • vocational training facility;
  • training center and others.

The academic year in vocational educational institutions may not exceed 40 academic weeks. During the term of study, students are required to pass current, subject-oriented, intermediate, and exit knowledge quality control. The exit knowledge quality control takes place at the end of the study cycle and envisages qualification examinations that include:

  • trial qualification work meeting specific vocational qualification requirements for graduates of a vocational educational institution of the appropriate accreditation level; and
  • the need to defend a graduation work or project, or an equivalent creative work.

Vocational education has different stages. Such stages are reflected in respective qualification levels, specialization complexity levels, and educational levels. Each stage of study in a vocational educational institution has its theoretical and practical completion and confirmed by awarding the graduates (students) the qualification degrees of Qualified Worker and Junior Specialist in accordance with their acquired professional knowledge, abilities, and skills.

A graduate of a vocational educational institution who successfully passes the qualification examinations is awarded the qualification degree of Qualified Worker of the appropriate category in the selected specialization field.

A graduate who completed a course of study in an accredited higher vocational school or vocational center of a specific accreditation level may be awarded the qualification degree of Junior Specialist.

COMPLETE SECONDARY EDUCATION

The senior school (10th-11th years) is the final stage in acquiring a complete general secondary education, which forms a holistic world view. Senior school graduates have developed learning and communication skills, the ability to get information from various sources and process it on their own, and the ability to apply the acquired knowledge in everyday life.

Duration. The schooling in the senior school takes 2 years. A complete secondary education may be acquired in general and specialized secondary schools, boarding schools, lyceums, gymnasiums, colleges, and other institutions of general secondary education of the ІІІ grade. A complete secondary education may also be obtained in a vocational educational institution, or institution of higher learning of the I-II accreditation levels.

Senior schools provide primarily a specialized education. The specialization of a pupil is determined on the basis of his or her preferred areas of study, available personnel and resources of the school, as well as the social-cultural and production environment and further educational prospects available for school graduates. The specialization-oriented study of a number of subjects ensures a proper level of training for school graduates sufficient for the enrollment in institutions of higher learning. Depending on the operating conditions of a specific general educational institution, the specialization-oriented teaching may be implemented on an institution-wide scale and within individual classes or pupil groups alike.

The educational content and study requirements in the senior school are divided into three levels:

  • mandatory study results, which are determined by the state basic and complete secondary educational standard;
  • specialization level, whose content is determined in the curricula approved by the Ministry of Education and Science, Youth and Sports of Ukraine;
  • academic level, whose curricula focus the areas of study related to the specialization-oriented subjects (for example, physics in the chemistry-biology specialization area).

Pupils who are yet to make up their mind as regards their future specialization receive general (comprehensive) training.

Knowledge assessment. Knowledge in the senior school is measured on a 12-point scale.

The annual study load in a senior school is determined by the basic curriculum, standard curricula, working curricula of general educational institutions and so on. The basic curriculum of institutions of general education of the II-III accreditation levels is divided into invariable and variable components.

Compliance of the educational level of pupils with the educational quality standards is established through state final examinations. The content, forms, procedure, and schedule of such annual examinations are determined on an annual basis and approved by the Ministry of Education and Science, Youth and Sports of Ukraine.

Graduation. Pupils who have finished the 11th year of study (senior school) and acquired a complete general secondary education are school graduates. As a rule, school graduates are in the age of 16-17 years.

Pupils who have finished the 11th year of study and passed the final state examinations receive a certificate of complete general secondary education and supplement to it specifying the scores earned for educational achievements. For excellent academic achievements, graduates are awarded certificates of basic general secondary education with distinction.

Graduates who have high academic results are awarded the gold medal “For High Academic Achievements” or the silver medal “For Academic Achievements” and receive а certificate of complete general secondary education with distinction. This certificate comes with a supplement specifying the scores earned for educational achievements. Graduates of the 11th grade who fail the examination in at least one subject receive school report cards in which the mark of “failed” is placed against each such subject. Secondary school graduates are required to pass the independent external knowledge assessment test in the subjects required for the enrollment in a chosen institution of higher learning. This higher educational institution may change the list of such subjects following its enrollment requirements.

School graduates with a complete general secondary education have the right to apply for enrollment in any institution of higher learning.

KNOWLEDGE ASSESSMENT SYSTEM

Approaches to knowledge assessment in the system of general secondary education of Ukraine are based on the Criteria for Assessing Knowledge of Pupils in the System of General Secondary Education approved by Order No 329 of the Ministry of Education and Science, Youth and Sports of Ukraine, dated April 13, 2011.

According to the applicable legislation of Ukraine, the academic results showed by pupils in subjects of the invariable component of the curriculum of an educational institution are subject to mandatory assessment.

Since 2000, Ukrainian schools have been measuring the knowledge of their pupils on a 12-point scale introduced by Order No 428/48 of the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine, dated September 4, 2000 and titled “On the Introduction of a 12-point Scale for Assessing Academic Achievements of Students in the System of General Secondary Education”.

Teachers measure the knowledge, abilities, and skills of the first-year pupils verbally in an informal manner. But starting from the next year and on, such assessment is made on a 12-point scale, with marks ranging from 1 to 12 awarded.

Academic achievements of children with special educational needs are assessed in accordance with the requirements of applicable legislation of Ukraine.

The object of assessment in the system of general secondary education is the result of the day-by-day study efforts of pupils in class and at home.

The assessment is made upon the results of the following test types:

  • verbal (individual, in-group, and head-on quizzes);
  • written (independent work and tests);
  • graphic (work with diagrams, graphs, charts, outline maps); and
  • practical (various experiments and learning projects, work with bio material, and handicraft).

The assessment system has 4 (four) academic achievement measurement tiers:

  • first tier – the lowest (1-3 points). The pupil’s answer is fragmentary, evincing only introductory ideas of the subject;
  • second tier – medium (4-6 points). The pupil can repeat the basic studied material, is able to complete tasks following a model, and has elementary learning skills;
  • third tier — sufficient (7-9 points). The pupil knows the essential features of notions, phenomena, and relations among them, is able to explain basic regularities and applies the acquired knowledge independently in standard situations, and has developed such mental capacities as analysis, abstraction, and generalization. The pupil’s answer is correct, logical, and well-reasoned, although the pupil is lacking in his/her own judgments;
  • fourth tier – high (10-12 points). The pupil has profound, strong, and systemic knowledge; the pupil is capable of applying it to creative tasks, his/her academic activities are marked with the ability to independently evaluate various situations, phenomena, and facts, formulate and defend his/her own position.

Each consecutive tier of requirements includes the requirements of the previous one and adds new ones.

If the academic achievements of a pupil fail to meet any of the said assessment tiers, the mark of “failed” is given in this case.

When measuring the academic achievements of pupils, the following aspects are taken into consideration:

  • evaluation of his/her answer: correct, logical, substantiated, integrative;
  • knowledge quality;
  • development of general and subject-specific abilities and skills;
  • command of such mental operations as analysis, synthesis, comparison, classification, generalization, conclusion, etc.;
  • ability to identify problems and resolve them, ability to formulate hypotheses; and
  • independence of evaluative judgments.

On the consent of local education authorities, educational institutions may use other academic achievement assessment systems in their practice. However, the marks awarded upon the results of a semester, year, and the state final examination have to be converted into points. Senior schools hold examinations in three subjects:

  • Ukrainian language (the retelling is compulsory);
  • History of Ukraine (compulsory for pupils of the universal study profile) or major subject (for pupils studying in specialization classes);
  • Any subject from the invariable at the pupil’s choice.

After finishing their schooling for a complete general secondary education, graduates are subjected to an external independent knowledge assessment in the form or a written test in one or several optional subjects required for enrollment in an institution of higher learning. The results of the external independent knowledge assessment are regarded as results of the entrance examinations of the institution of higher learning. The external independent knowledge assessment is administered by the Ukrainian Knowledge Quality Assessment Center in cooperation with local education authorities, oblast institutions of post-graduate pedagogical studies, and educational institutions. In the competition for enrollment in an institution of higher learning, the average score of the certificate of complete general secondary education is also taken into account.

The development chronology of the knowledge assessment system in Ukraine is as follows:

In 1935, five verbal marks are introduced in Soviet schools: “very bad,” “bad,” “acceptable” “good,” and “very good.”
Starting from 1945, academic achievements of pupils in Soviet Ukraine are measured on a 5-point scale — "5", "4", "3", "2", and "1".
In 1993, the knowledge assessment scale was reduced to four points — "5", "4", "З", and "2."
Since 2000, schools in Ukraine have been using a 12-point knowledge assessment scale.

knowledge assessment scale Marks
4-point 2- 2 2+ 3- 3 3+ 4- 4 4+ 5- 5 5+
12-point 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

BASIC SECONDARY EDUCATION

The basic school (5-9 grades) provides a basic general secondary education, which is the foundation of secondary education for all school children, developing them to a point where they are ready to choose a form of further education and specialization. At this stage, general educational institutions create for pupils conditions for self-paced and more in-depth study of specific subjects important for the targeted higher educational institution (lyceum, gymnasium, vocational-technical school, educational institution of the І—II accreditation levels, etc.).

Duration. Schooling in the basic school takes 5 years. The right to provide a basic general secondary education is granted to general educational institutions of the 2nd accreditation level.

The study conditions in the basic school, as a rule, differ from those in the elementary school, i.e., new subjects are introduced, the teacher and class collectives change, as well as the study regime.

Knowledge assessment. The knowledge of pupils is measured on a 12-point scale, with marks ranging from 1 to 12 awarded.

The educational content of the basic school is the same for all pupils. The personal approach is implemented through individual study methods, depending on the learning proclivity of a child, as well as extracurricular classes.

Academic hours in the basic school are distributed among fields of study and their content is determined in the basic curriculum approved by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, standard curricula developed by the Ministry of Education and Science, Youth and Sports of Ukraine, working curricula of general educational institutions, and so on.

Basic curriculum. The basic curriculum of the basic school has two components: invariable and variable.

General educational institutions with teaching in national minority languages, specialized schools, lyceums, gymnasiums, and colleges are allowed to increase the study load limit for the account of the overall study limit to a level not exceeding the sanitary and hygienic standards.

The educational level of graduates of general educational institutions of the ІІ accreditation level is controlled through state final examinations. The content, forms, procedure, and schedule of such annual examinations are determined on an annual basis and approved by the Ministry of Education and Science, Youth and Sports of Ukraine.

Graduate. A graduate of a basic school (9-year pupils) receives a certificate of basic general secondary education  and supplement to it specifying the scores earned for educational achievements. For excellent academic achievements, graduates are awarded certificates of a basic general secondary education with distinction.

Graduates who fail an examination in at least one subject receive school report cards. Pupils who fail to obtain an education-confirming document may continue studying externally.

Graduates of specialized schools (boarding schools) for children requiring physical and/or mental development correction receive certificates of completion of a specialized school (boarding school).

A certificate of a basic general secondary education entitles its holder to enrollment in a 3rd accreditation level school, vocational-technical educational institution, or institution of higher learning of the I-II accreditation levels.