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The New Ukrainian School (NUS) is the key reform of the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine in general secondary education that has been implemented since 2016-2017 academic year.

In September 2017, a new Law On Education was adopted, which regulated the main principles of the new education system. In January 2020, a new Law On Complete General Secondary Education was adopted, which set the principles of functioning and development of the general secondary education system.

In Ukraine, an academic year usually starts on the Day of Knowledge – September 1st, ends no later than July 1st of the following year and lasts at least 175 academic days.

During the martial law, the duration of an academic year, the start and end dates may vary and are determined by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine.

Levels and duration of study

Complete general secondary education (CGSE) consists of the following levels:

  • primary education (first level of the CGSE, duration: 4 years);
  • basic secondary education (second level of the CGSE, duration: 5 years);
  • profile secondary education (third level of the CGSE, duration: 3 years).

From September 1st 2027, the duration of profile secondary education will be three years.

The introduction of educational programs of basic secondary education in 2022 and profile secondary education in 2027 within the framework of the 12-year complete general secondary education reform is approved by the decision of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, provided that there are developed state standards of basic and profile secondary education and corresponding typical programs for both levels.


The CGSE is offered by institutions that have the proper license to provide certain level(s) of the CGSE program(s). These are institutions of general secondary education, technical and vocational, professional pre-higher or higher education. The CGSE programs are offered in accordance with the license (permission), issued in accordance with the procedure established by law.

A legal entity has the status of an institution of general secondary education, if it offers programs at one or more levels of the CGSE according to the obtained license.

An institution of general secondary education, depending on the founder, can be:

  • state institution – established by an executive act of a state authority;
  • communal – established by an administrative act of a village, town, city or district council;
  • private – based on a decision of individuals and legal entities under the private law;
  • corporate – established by an agreement concluded by several founders of various forms of ownership on the basis of a public-private partnership.

Types of general secondary education institutions by levels:

  • primary school (provides primary education);
  • gymnasium (provides basic secondary education);
  • lyceum (provides profile secondary education).

A primary school can function as a separate legal entity or as a structural subdivision of a gymnasium or lyceum.

The lyceum, if it has the proper license, can offer primary and basic secondary education programs along with the profile secondary education.

A general secondary education institution offering more than one program, will be defined (whether it is a gymnasium or lyceum) by the highest level of the offered program.

Private and corporate educational institutions, including general secondary education institutions, which operate in accordance with the international treaties of Ukraine, can offer programs at all levels of the CGSE at the same time.

There are special general secondary education institutions that provide the CGSE:

  • special school – an institution of general secondary education for persons with special educational needs caused by disorders of intellectual development, physical and/or sensory disorders;
  • educational and rehabilitation center – a general secondary education institution for persons with special educational needs caused by complex developmental disorders.

The complete general secondary education can also be provided by technical and vocational, professional pre-higher, higher education institutions and other educational institutions that have a license to offer programs of complete general secondary education.

There are specialized institutions that provide the CGSE, like:

  • art lyceum is an institution of specialized art education, which provides art education along with the CGSE programs at all or some levels;
  • sports lyceum provides education in sports along with the CGSE programs at all or some levels;
  • military (naval-military and sports-military) lyceum of advanced military and physical training provides military education for students from the age of 13 along with basic and/or profile secondary education;
  • scientific lyceum provides basic and/or profile secondary education of a scientific profile;
  • professional college of sports is an institution of profile secondary education of a sports profile;
  • an art college is a specialized educational institution that provides professional advanced art education along with the basic and profile secondary education.

The quality assurance system in the CGSE

The quality assurance system in the CGSE includes the following components:

  • internal quality assurance system of an educational institution;
  • external quality assurance system;
  • quality assurance in the activities of management bodies and institutions that provide external quality assurance in education.

The internal quality assurance system is set by an educational institution and includes mechanisms for ensuring academic integrity, procedures for identifying and establishing the facts of violations of academic integrity, academic responsibility of teaching staff and students for specific violations of academic integrity.

The system of external quality assurance of general secondary education and the system of quality assurance in the activities of management bodies and institutions carrying out external quality assurance in the CGSE are determined by the Laws of Ukraine On Education and On Complete General Secondary Education.

The central quality assurance executive body and its regional bodies conduct institutional audits for the educational institutions once every 10 years with the purpose to assess the quality of educational activity of institutions and formulating the improvement recommendations.

Based on the results of the institutional audit, the founder and the institution are provided with:

  • a conclusion on the quality of educational and management activities of the institution and its internal quality assurance system;
  • recommendations on improving the activities of the institution, including bringing educational and management processes into compliance with the requirements of legislation, in particular licensing conditions.

Study modes

The CGSE can be obtained through the following modes:

  • full-time involves the direct participation of students in the educational process;
  • distance learning is an individualized process of obtaining education, which takes place mainly through the mediated interaction of distant participants;
  • network – mastering of educational program takes place with the participation of various educational bodies that interact with each other on a contractual basis;
  • external – the program is completely mastered by a student independently, and the assessment of the learning outcomes and awarding of a qualification in this case are carried out in accordance with the legislation;
  • homeschooling – education is organized and carried out independently by parents. Parents are responsible for their children's education and its compliance with the educational standards. Assessment of learning outcomes and awarding of educational qualifications are carried out in accordance with the legislation;
  • individual teaching – a teacher works individually with a student. This mode ensures access to education and mastering of the program by the student, who is entitled to such mode of schooling due to psychophysical condition or for other reasons determined by law.

Education at the levels of basic and profile secondary education can also be obtained in part-time (evening) or extramural modes. Profile secondary education of a vocational stream can be obtained using a dual form of education, when general education is combined with practical training at workplaces.

Duration of classes

The structure and duration of academic years, academic weeks, academic days, classes, breaks between them, forms of organization of the educational process are determined by the pedagogical council of an educational institution.

Classes in primary school cannot exceed 35 minutes for the 1st school year, 40 minutes for 2nd, 3rd and 4th school years, 45 minutes for 5th-12th years, except in cases specified by law.

The duration of breaks is usually at least 30 calendar days.


An educational institution develops and uses one program per each level of the CGSE or one-cycle program developed for several levels of education.

Programs are developed based on typical or other programs approved by the central quality assurance executive authority in secondary education: State Service for the Quality of Education.


On the basis of a study plan outlined in the institutional program, an annual curriculum (one or more) is approved, which specifies the list of subjects (incl. integrated courses), mandatory and optional components, in particular, subjects, courses, integrated courses, and the number of learning hours per week or the number of hours per academic year.

The individual curriculum is developed also for external and individual study modes, and in the case of homeschooling it is done at the request of a student or his parents.

Language of instruction

The language of instruction in institutions of general secondary education is state language – Ukrainian. Some subjects or integrated courses may be taught in English or another official language of the European Union in addition to the official language.

Pupils who belong to indigenous peoples or national minorities are taught the language of the respective indigenous people or national minority in educational institutions or via national cultural societies.

Enrollment, deduction and transfer to the next year of study

A communal educational institution, in accordance with the procedure established by law, shall admit all students for primary and basic secondary education, who:

  • live in the service region of an educational institution;
  • are siblings of children studying at this educational institution;
  • are children of employees of this educational institution.

Children with special needs who live in the communal school region have the right to priority enrollment for primary and basic secondary education.

Enrollment to state, communal educational institutions for basic secondary education can be carried out on a competitive basis, if this does not violate the rights of students who received primary education in this institution.

Enrollment to state, communal, and corporate educational institutions for profile secondary education (academic or vocational streams) takes place on a competitive basis.

Students are transferred to the next year of study after the end of the academic year.

The decision to admit homeschooling students to the next year is based on the learning outcomes.

Pupils who have obtained primary education and/or basic secondary education and continue their studies at the same educational institution are admitted to the next year of study in accordance with the procedure established by law.

Completion of studies

Each student must pass the State Final Attestation for each level of the CGSE in the Ukrainian language, mathematics and other subjects set annually by the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine.

During the quarantine restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and under martial law, the SFA was cancelled.

Documents on education

After completing studies, students receive the following educational documents:

  • Certificate of Primary Education
  • Certificate of Basic Secondary Educationc
  • Certificate of Complete General Secondary Education

For visually impaired students, such documents can be produced using Braille.


Primary education

Basic secondary education

Profile secondary education

Assessment system

State final attestation

Additional materials:

Information statement on the State Final Attestation during martial law

Information statement on obtaining the level/qualification of complete general secondary education and admission to higher education programs in Ukraine and changes caused by COVID-2019

This information has been produced with the financial assistance of the Council of Europe. The views expressed herein can in no way be taken to reflect the official opinion of the Council of Europe.