• Українською
  • Education and Science Reform

    The reform of education is crucial. Obviously, Ukrainian education today does not meet contemporary needs of the individual, the society, or economy, and does not follow global trends. This is why a systemic transformation of this area has started with the main goal of achieving a new quality of education on all levels, from primary school to higher education.

    A large-scale reform of Ukrainian education became possible with the adoption of the framework Law of Ukraine On Education. It determines the goal of education as holistically developing the human being as a personality and society's ultimate value, his/her talents, intellectual, creative, and physical abilities, shaping values and competences required for successful self-realization, raising responsible citizens who can make an informed social choice and act for the benefit of other people and society, using this as a basis for enriching intellectual, economic, creative, and cultural potential of the Ukrainian nation, raising the people's educational level to help Ukraine achieve sustainable development and support its European choice.

    The science reform aims to put an end to isolation and stagnation in the area of research, create demand for high-quality training of researchers and high-quality developments in fundamental and applied sciences, bridge the gap between research and the implementation of its results, integrate higher education and science of Ukraine into the education and research space of the European Union.

    The reform concerns four areas, including secondary education, vocational (technical) education, higher education, and creation of a new science management and funding system. Activities are pursued in each to achieve a common goal of transforming Ukrainian education into an innovative environment where school and university students acquire key competence that everybody now needs for a successful life, and academics have opportunities and resources for research immediately impacting the country's social and economic life.

    Reform plans include introducing new education standards, improving learning facilities at educational and scientific institutions, engaging the best teaching and research staff, and implementing a fair and transparent system of education and science funding. The reform also aims to make teaching and research more prestigious.

    Why change anything?

    We live in the 21st century. The country and the world have changed, as has the society and, fundamentally, needs of the economy, while educational approaches persist from the previous century. Students at Ukrainian schools and universities mostly gain a body of knowledge without being aware of how it can help them with self-realization. The educational process at vocational and higher educational institutions is out of touch with needs of the labor market and economy overall.

    Educational and scientific institutions suffer from a lack of physical facilities, ineffective administration, and inferior management. National economy is based on raw materials and low-technology sectors, significantly undermining Ukraine's potential for development as a competitive country. Results of research and scientific developments only insignificantly contribute to Ukraine's GDP.

    Today we have a chance to change this. A united community of creative people, responsible, active, and entrepreneurial citizens can bring up a powerful state and competitive economy. It is these that secondary and higher school should produce. The content of vocational and higher education should be continuously updated to meet the personnel needs of businesses. The issue of employee mobility, competitiveness, and qualification becomes especially burning. Education and science should turn into a lever of social equality and unity, economic development and competitiveness of Ukraine.

    What does the reform involve?

    1. Secondary education

    The New Ukrainian School concept has been approved to popularize the reform among the general public. What does it involve?

    • A new content of education aimed to form 21st century competences

    After finishing school, the student should have key competences and cross-cutting skills that will be useful in today's world. These include, among others, fluency in the official language, mathematical, general cultural, and environmental competences, entrepreneurial and innovative attitude, economic competence etc. In addition, cross-cutting skills include critical and systemic thinking, creativity, initiative, constructive control of emotions, risk assessment, decision-making, problem resolution.

    • A new school teacher who has mastered present-day teaching methods and can implement the pedagogics of partnership

    The new school greatly changes the teacher's role because he or she no longer is the sole source of knowledge for today's children, who can find any information in books or online. However, it is these conditions that emphasize the teacher's great role as a partner in bringing up a personality. An educational portal is being created to aid the teacher that offers methodological and didactic materials, Ukrainian e-encyclopedias, multimedia textbooks, and interactive online resources.

    The reform requires certification — an external evaluation of teaching staff's professional competences that aims to identify and encourage teachers that have a high level of professional excellence, have mastered competence learning methods and new educational technologies, and promote their popularization. Teachers that pass certification will be paid an extra 20% to their salaries and will become change advocates in school education.

    It is equally important to increase the number of ways for teachers' continuing education. Now they only can pursue it through post-graduate institutes of pedagogical education (PGIPE), which unfortunately are no model of progressive thinking at times. The teacher should have the right to choose where and how to improve their qualifications. Forms of advanced teacher training are to be diversified and will include PGIPE courses, workshops, webinars, online courses, conferences, self-directed learning (certificate recognition).

    A teacher should spend a total of at least 150 hours in five years towards improving their qualifications. The teacher will decide him- or herself where and how to take advanced courses, but will do it annually. Allocations for teachers' professional growth will be made as part of the education subvention in the national budget.

    • Modern school management and administration system

    The reform's important achievements include starting a competitive selection of the director of a general secondary education institution (for six years and up to two terms in a row) and expanding their powers regarding the organization of their school's activities.

    The Law of Ukraine On Education requires every educational institution to publish information about all funds received and their purpose. This has enabled parents to monitor the use of their charitable donations and funds from the national and local budgets.

    • New system of education quality control

    The Law has annulled school attestation — a procedure that was discredited by corrupt practices. It also canceled inspections at district education administrations. Instead, the State Service of Education Quality is now in charge of assuring quality in education. It will employ peer experts that will advise schools on ways of improving the learning process. The main goal is guidelines rather than sanctions.

    The institutional audit of an educational institution is the only scheduled activity of state supervision (control) over school. It will be conducted once every 10 years.

    How does this change the school?

    The school will be a place where children will be acquiring not only knowledge but also the ability to apply it and values to analyze the surrounding world and reality. It will be not only an educational institution but also a safe environment for development where children learn to communicate with each other. Such learning requires implementing new teaching methods, changing the format of communication between students, parents, and teachers, introducing project-based work and learning through action.

    All of this cannot fit into a two-year profession-oriented senior school where children have to get profound knowledge of subjects they want to major in and prepare for EIE without any harm to their health. This is why we need to start a full three-year profession-oriented school where children will get adequate knowledge.

    The new senior profession-oriented school will have academic and vocational lyceums. The academic lyceum will enable the student to extend their knowledge and enter a higher educational institution. The vocational lyceum will enable schoolchildren to get their first occupation together with general secondary education.

    Key achievements

    New content of primary education defined:

    • The State Standard of Primary Education approved; it is based on a competence approach applied to teach 448.6K first graders from September 1, 2018.
    • Standard educational programs approved for grades 1–4 of general secondary education.

    The learning environment modernized for the New Ukrainian School by purchasing:

    • Computers and equipment (9.5K interactive projectors, 19.2K laptops, 8K tablets/netbooks, 16.5K multi-functional devices etc.)
    • Furniture (364,223 one-child desk sets, 9.2K two-child desk sets, 6.9K teacher sets, 77.1K items for the recreation area)
    • Didactic materials (361.8K printed teaching aids, 57.8K natural objects, 164.3K models and layouts, 16.8K musical instruments etc.)

    Other achievements:

    • About 5K schools got equipment for natural sciences and mathematics rooms (518 biology, 308 geography, 466 mathematics, 448 physics, and 499 chemistry rooms).
    • Room for 24,211 additional children was created at preschool establishments.
    • 277 general secondary education hubs and their 302 branches created, including 165 hubs and their 213 branches in united territorial communities.
    • The Concept of Development of Pedagogical Education and the Professional Standard of a Primary School Teacher approved.
    • Conditions created for prioritized admission of future teachers and doctors for rural areas.
    • Qualification of NUS teaching staff improved by training 2.1K teacher trainers;
    • 22K primary school teachers; 18.5K teachers of foreign languages.
    • 516 inclusive resource centers and 24 resources centers for support of inclusive education created.
    • The number of students with special education needs who get inclusive education has gone up 65% (from 7,179 in 2017/2018 academic year to 11,839 in 2018/2019 a.y.).
    • The State Service of Education Quality created and a decision made by the Government to create its territorial bodies.

    2. Vocational (technical) education

    • Multiple-channel funding 

    As a result of decentralization, vocational establishments are to be funded locally from 2016 by oblast budgets, budgets of oblast-level cities that are oblast centers, and budgets of oblast-level cities. However, some oblast-level cities failed to fund their vocational establishments. This is why these are funded by oblast budgets and oblast-level cities that are oblast centers from 2017. Starting from 2017, the national budget allocates educational subventions for secondary education in vocational schools and funds nationally significant occupations and creates sector-specific learning and practice centers.

    • Upgrading physical facilities

    The national budget is funding the creation of sector-specific learning and practice centers at vocational (technical) institutions. These centers will increase the number of students and learners at VTI; graduates employed in their field of study; apprenticeship at such centers for on-the-job learning masters and teachers of special subjects.

    • Modernizing the content of vocational (technical) education

    Designing and implementing new state competence-based standards of vocational (technical) education and introducing elements of dual vocational education will provide quality, flexibility, and mobility in training the workforce based on employers' needs.

    • Introducing elements of dual education

    Elements of dual education allow on-the-job learning and on-the-job practical training to occur in production for 60–70% of academic hours so that practical training can be delivered on modern equipment by using innovative technologies and secure the appropriate quality of professional training of qualified workers based on the employers' needs and demands.

    • Introducing partnership projects in education

    The reform involves active participation of all stakeholders, including employers, in designing education standards and educational programs, forming the government and regional need for workforce, reinforcing physical facilities, and restoring the prestige of vocational education and popularizing worker occupations.

    Key achievements

    • The national budget funded the creation of 100 sector-specific learning and practice centers based on vocational (technical) institutions in 2016–2018.
    • 6 multi-discipline centers of vocational education have been created.
    • 17 competence-based standards of vocational (technical) education have been approved.
    • Elements of dual education were introduced from September 1, 2018 at 198 vocational (technical) institutions, 7,175 learners are following the curriculum in 114 mono-professions; more than 800 employers are engaged in organizing vocational practical training.
    • 4 memorandums of cooperation were signed in 2018 between the Ministry of Education and Science and PJSC Ukrainian Railways, the Federation of Employers of Ukraine, Industrial Enterprise ZIP LLC, Fomalgaut-Polimin LLC, and 5 learning and practice centers were created by raising funds from social partners.
    • Ukraine-wide contest of professional excellence WORLDSKILLS UKRAINE, 5 Ukraine-wide and 25 regional contests of expert excellence among students of vocational (technical) institutions were conducted.

    3. Higher education

    • Creating a system for assuring and consistently improving the quality of higher education based on guidelines and standards of the European Higher Education Area

    The Ministry's effort in this field includes providing guidance to higher educational institutions in creating a system of in-house quality assurance of higher education and creating a system of external quality control of higher education. We have to approve new competence-based standards of higher education. They will guarantee that universities will be ensuring in-house quality of higher education.

    It is crucial for us to have an effective National Agency for Higher Education Quality Assurance which ideologically should be the honor and conscience of higher education and have impeccable reputation with the society. It is these independent agency that should provide external quality control of higher education.

    • Ensuring academic integrity

    Massive effort is made to create a National Repository of Academic Texts, an effective instrument for detecting plagiarism and a resource for information exchange between academics. The resources of the National Repository will be helpful in expert examination of texts for derivation.

    • Enhancing expert training and ensuring adherence to standards of integrity and equal access to higher educational institutions

    State-funded places are to be allocated through a wide competition based on entrant-defined priorities; a single subject-specific entrance examination to be introduced on the basis of the External Independent Evaluation for 081 "Law" and 293 "International Law" entrants; an entrance examination in a foreign language to be introduced on the basis of EIE organizational and technological processes for admission to the second (master's) level of higher education for specialties identified.

    Key achievements

    • Requirements to the content of higher education updated by creating a system of higher education standards that matches the national framework of qualifications, 41 Bachelor's and 4 Master's standards approved.
    • A new membership of the National Agency for Higher Education Quality Assurance approved.
    • Proceedings of the National Repository of Academic Texts regulated, operational testing of the first stage of the National Repository of Academic Texts at State Scientific Organization "Ukrainian Institute of Scientific and Technical Expertise and Information" commenced.
    • Admissions to higher educational institutions: 59.2% state-funded students admitted under priority one.
    • The single entrance examination in a foreign language was for the first time administered during the 2018 admissions campaign by using EIE for admission to a Master's program in fields of study such as 03 "Humanities" (other than 035 "Philology"), 05 "Social and Behavioral Sciences", 06 "Journalism", 08 "Law", 24 "Service Sector", 29 "International Relations".
    • The number of entrants from temporarily occupied territories almost doubled in 2016–2018.
    • Ukraine got a separate funding window for Erasmus+ Program contests in 2019–2020: €2.5 mln in additional funds was allocated for Key Action (KA) 1 International Credit Mobility, €2 mln — for Key Action (KA) 2 Capacity Building in Higher Education, and €1.5 mln — for Jean Monet.

    4. A new science management and funding system

    • Creating the National Council for Science and Technology Development

    We are creating a system where all scientific and technical pursuits will be coordinated by the National Council for Science and Technology Development. Its members include representatives of the academic community, government agencies, and the real sector of economy. The key function of this Council is to produce strategic R&D public policy decisions.

    • Creating the National Research Fund and forming its governing bodies

    The main function of the National Research Fund is to provide R&D grants both to individual scientists and to teams and institutions. The National Research Fund will enable researchers to get additional funding competitively to carry out specific science projects.

    • Ensuring the creation of state key laboratories and enabling national higher educational institutions to get the status of a research university.

    Key achievements

    • The National Research Fund created.
    • The action plan of reform of national science approved.
    • 8 inter-university centers of collective use of laboratory equipment created at higher educational institutions
    • Financial support of science projects and scholarship programs for young scientists increased 1.63 times (to UAH 94,869.5K).
    • Access expanded to electronic scientific databases such as Scopus and Web of Science for scientists, students, including post-graduate ones through national budget funding: 67 and 64 institutions were registered in Scopus and Web of Science in 2017, respectively; 135 and 105 — in 2018. Ukrainian scientists now use Scopus and Web of Science five times more.
    • Participation in and funding of two projects was made possible through implementation of the International European Innovative Scientific and Technical Program EUREKA — the network project of Design and Development of Ultraviolet Shielding Materials (Kyiv National University of Technologies and Design) and the cluster project of 5G-Based Electronic Health Care of the Future (National Technical University of Ukraine "Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute").\

    Government's key next steps in 2019

    • Determining the competence-based content of basic secondary education (approving the State Standard of Basic Secondary Education).
    • Testing the teacher certification procedure aimed to introduce contemporary forms and methods of motivation of teaching staff to develop professionally.
    • Regulating activities of the educational hub as an instrument of creating high-capacity networks of educational institutions.
    • Providing learners with electronic educational resources (developing and posting electronic educational resources on the National Education Platform).
    • Providing equal access to high-quality general secondary education and government support to students with special education needs at their residential address.
    • Developing the network of inclusive resource centers.
    • Continuing the creation of additional places at preschool establishments.
    • Undertaking a systemic reform of vocational (technical) education (by drafting and submitting the Law On Vocational (Technical) Education to the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine).
    • Creating contemporary sector-specific learning and practice centers by raising employers' investments and National Budget funds.
    • Providing regulatory support of the creation and operation of professional excellence centers, creating conditions for expanding dual education.
    • Introducing new training content for specialists with higher degrees that meets the labor market requirements (by updating standards of higher education).
    • Providing guidance to local educational administration bodies during optimization of the network of vocational (technical) educational institutions.
    • Upgrading physical facilities at higher educational institutions that train teachers.
    • Ensuring lifelong learning (by drafting and submitting the Law On Adult Education to the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine).
    • Supporting the activities of the National Research Fund of Ukraine, introducing grants to support science activities from the general fund of the national budget.
    • Conducting state certification of scientific institutions.
    • Introducing basic funding of scientific and technical pursuits of higher educational institutions in research areas of top priority for the state.
    • Supporting the activities of the National Agency for Higher Education Quality Assurance.
    • Introducing the office of the Education Ombudsman.

    Documents and materials