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ENIC UKRAINE
National Information Centre
of Academic Mobility

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SECONDARY EDUCATION

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.


Institutions

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.


Program

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.


Curriculum

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.


Sub-units:

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.

REGULATORY FRAMEWORK

Available in Ukrainian

EDUCATIONAL ASSESSMENT AND EVALUATION SYSTEM

Bologna process. In 1999 in the city of Bologna, a declaration creating a single European educational space was signed, launching the initiative currently known as the Bologna Process. For a decade of its existence, the number of countries that have joined this process increased from 29 to 47. Ukraine joined the Bologna Process in 2005.

In 2004, Ukrainian institutions of higher learning started the transition to a new knowledge assessment system. In accordance with Order No 943 of the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine, dated October 16, 2009, the credit-transfer system is being introduced in Ukrainian institutions of higher learning along with its key concepts (“Student Application Form,” “Study Agreement,” “Practical Training and Quality Commitment Agreement,” “Academic Statement,” and “Supplement to the European-Standard Diploma”).

ECTS. The hours allocated for a subject must include hours of lectures, laboratory and other practicals and seminars, consultations, self-paced and individual work and control sessions. In the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System, 60 credits correspond to one full academic year. Accordingly, one ECTS credit is equivalent to 1,800/60 = 30 hours, on the average, where 1,800 is the average number of academic hours and 60 – the number of credits equivalent to a full academic year. Credits are awarded on common terms for general subjects taught under junior specialist curricula on the basis of a basic general secondary education. The state final examinations are not subject to crediting, that is, the hours allocated for them are not included in the credit total.

The distribution of credits among subject cycles and setting a minimum number of credits for pre-requisite subjects (practicals, term and qualifying papers) are determined in the higher education industrial standard. An institution of higher learning has the discretion to set credits for optional subjects (practice works and term papers), and may also move part of the credits in the variable component of educational content to the credit pool of pre-requisite subjects (practicals, term and qualifying papers). It is the prerogative of an institution of higher learning to design the curricula components and set credits for optional subjects.

The maximum number of in-class hours per credit is 16 for students of the bachelor and junior specialist qualification degrees, 14 for specialists, and 10 for masters. The remaining time is for self-paced study.

The maximum weekly in-class load (including hours of the non-credited subject “Physical Education”) may not exceed 30 hours for students pursuing the bachelor and junior specialist qualification degrees, 24 hours for the specialist degree pursuers, and 18 hours for pursuers of masters’ degrees. Credit tests are usually held at the final seminar, laboratory or practical class.

Knowledge assessment. Before 2004, Ukrainian institutions of higher learning used the old (4-point) knowledge assessment scale. Starting from 2004, some institutions of higher learning (in some of their departments) began to use the ECTS accumulation scale in parallel with the 4-point scale as part of an experiment to introduce a credit module assessment system. Since the 2006/2007 academic year, the ECTS requirements have been implemented for first-year students in all institutions of higher learning, specifically:

  • academic achievements are measured in ECTS points;
  • the modules have been described in accordance with the ECTS requirements; and
  • examination results are evaluated on the ECTS scale (A–Fx).

Marks of the extended scale are awarded on the basis of the point accumulation scale of the institution of higher learning.

Accumulation scale interval Extended scale mark 5-point scale equivalent
90 and up Excellent 5
80-89 Very good 4.5
65-79 Good 4
55-64 Satisfactory 3.5
50-54 Sufficient 3
35-49 Insufficient 2
1-34 Failed 1

ACCREDITATION AND LICENSING

The current structure of quality assurance in higher education in Ukraine includes the following:

  • Licensing of educational activities

Licensing of educational activities of higher education institutions is mandatory.

Licensing is done by the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine and issued with no expiration date.

Before 2021, licensing of each specialty of a certain level of higher education in higher education institutions was mandatory.

Since 2021, licensing of educational activities of higher education institutions at a certain level of higher education has being introduced. Additionally licensing of educational programs is mandatory for programs that lead to professional qualifications in professions for which additional regulation is required (List of specialties leading to professional qualifications in professions for which additional regulation is required).

Licensing of higher education institutions of foreign countries or their separate branches/campuses that operate on the territory of Ukraine is also mandatory.

  • Accreditation of educational programs

Accreditation of educational programs in Ukraine is mandatory. Accreditation certificates were issued by the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine (based on the decision of the Accreditation Commission), and since 2019 by the National Agency for Quality Assurance in Higher Education.

Accreditation of educational programs in Ukraine can also be confirmed by an accreditation certificate issued by a recognized independent or foreign accreditation agency for quality assurance in higher education (List of foreign accreditation and quality assurance in higher education agencies, certificates of which are recognized in Ukraine).

Higher education institutions develop educational programs within licensed specialties or (after 2021) at a certain licensed level of higher education in accordance with the Higher Education Standards approved by the Ministry of Education and Science. Within one specialty at one level of higher education it could be two or more accredited educational programs. The number of such educational programs and their names are determined by higher education institutions. Educational programs within a certain specialty provide for the assignment of various professional qualifications in accordance with the specialization and learning outcomes (competencies) which should be mastered by students of the relevant educational program.

The Higher Education Standards describe the requirements for higher education programs at a certain higher education level and specialty, and are used to assess the quality of higher education system. The Higher Education Standards are approved by the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine, and developed in accordance with the National Qualifications` Framework. The standards define the following requirements for educational programs: the ECTS credit load; admission requirements; list of mandatory competencies of graduates; normative program content in terms of learning outcomes; forms of final attestation/examination; requirements for the creation of educational programs and the requirements of professional standards (if applicable).

For the first time, educational programs are accredited by the National Agency for Quality Assurance in Higher Education for a period of five years, and the subsequent accreditations are done for 10 year periods.

The higher education institutions have the right to issue diplomas of the established template for the accredited educational programs.

  • Accreditation of higher education institutions by levels (I-IV) was cancelled (in 2014).

  • The Law "On Higher Education" from 2017 provides the possibility of institutional accreditation for higher education institutions.

Institutional accreditation is not mandatory and is carried out by the National Agency for Quality Assurance in Higher Education. The institutional accreditation certificate is issued for a 5 year period and gives right to higher education institutions to self-accredit educational programs, except for those programs that should be accredited for the first time. For the first time the accreditation of educational programs should be carried out by the National Agency for Quality Assurance of Higher Education. As of 2021, the self-accreditation mechanism is under development and implementation.

Information on licensing and accreditation is added to the Unified State Electronic Database on Education: https://info.edbo.gov.ua/ and is available in the «Реєстр суб’єктів освітньої діяльності» (Registry of educational activity entities).

Read more in Information on the licensing and accreditation procedure in the system of higher education of Ukraine.

CLASSIFICATION OF EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS

In terms of ownership form, institutions of higher learning in Ukraine may be state, communal, or private. Regardless of their ownership form, they have equal rights and provide an equation of the same quality. Ukrainian institutions of higher learning are classified by types as follows; universities, academies, institutes, conservatories (music academies), colleges, and technical schools.

University is a multidisciplinary institution of higher learning of the IV accreditation level that provides higher education within a broad range of humanities, economic, natural, and other studies, and is a leading research and methodology center. There may be classic and specialized universities.

A university is recognized as classic if it prepares specialists in at least eight areas of study, as well as doctors of philosophy and doctors of science in at least twelve research fields, including at least two liberal arts, economic, natural studies or technical specializations.

A specialized university is recognized as such if it prepares professionals in at least four areas of study, as well as doctors of philosophy and doctors of science in at least eight research fields, including at least six specialization areas (except for arts and higher military educational institutions (higher educational institutions with special study conditions).

Institute is an institution of higher learning of the III or IV accreditation levels or a structural unit of a university, which provides higher education in a specific area of study, education, culture, or manufacture.

Academy is an institution of higher learning of the IV accreditation level, which operates to provide a specific higher education, helping students to obtain a qualification in a specific area of science, industry, education, culture, and arts, engages in fundamental and applied research, being a leading research and methodology center in its specialization area, and has the relevant level of human and material resources.

An academy is recognized if it prepares specialists in two areas of education and doctors of philosophy and doctors of science in at least two research fields (except for arts and higher military educational institutions (higher educational institutions with special study conditions)).

Conservatory  is an institution of higher learning of the ІІІ or IV accreditation levels that provides a higher education in the field of culture and the arts.

College is an institution of higher learning of the ІІ accreditation level or a structural unit of an educational institution of the ІІІ or IV accreditation levels that provides a higher education in related areas or in several specialization fields.

A professional college is created if its daytime departments have at least five hundred people.

Technical school is an institution of higher learning of the І accreditation level or a structural unit of an educational institution of the ІІІ or IV accreditation levels that provides a higher education in several related specialization fields.

Universities, academies, institutes, and conservatories may train students under any type of academic program (junior specialist, bachelor, specialist, master, candidate of sciences), as well as under post-graduate programs. A university (academy) may be awarded with national status for excellence in research activities.