Ukraine's system of basic education

education Ukraine schools universities


Source:Education for All 2000 Assessment:Ukraine National Report,
Ministry of Education of Ukraine,1990-1999,Kyiv - 1999


General remarks and terminology

In Ukraine a school of the second level is called "basic school" and is a final level of the formal basic education. As it is known, in other countries it has different names - "low secondary school", "grammar school ", "college" and others.

This level is an important link in the continuous education system both in Ukraine and in the democratic countries of Europe and America. It is compulsory, free and aims to give further education, and also an basic vocational orientation to a child.

Duration of schooling at the basic school in Ukraine is five years, and therefore the total duration of formal basic education is eight years, if a pupil completed the course of the three-year elementary school, or nine years in the case of a four-year elementary school. The minimal age of the formal basic education completion is 14 years, maximal - 16 years.

All these variants correspond to the provisions of the educational Laws in Ukraine. The realization of one of them depends on the initial level of the child development before the beginning of the primary education, desire of his parents and school achievements of a child. The majority of pupils in Ukraine graduate the basic school in the age of 15.

Education, received at the basic school, has in Ukraine the official name "basic general secondary education ". This term might be translated in English as "formal basic education ", but in fact it is incomplete secondary education.

Certificate about successful completion of the basic school gives to the 14-15 year old teenagers the right to continue schooling both at the upper secondary school and at the higher education institutions of the I-II accreditation levels.

The Law on Education of 1996 determines "provision of the basic general secondary education " as the main task of the basic school, and the Law on General Secondary Education of 1998 in Article 9 gives such definition:

"Basic (secondary) school is a comprehensive school of the second level with education of a prevailing applied direction ".

Both laws emphasize, that this link is an integral part of the network of general educational institutions in Ukraine, which is created for provision to children of general secondary education (or formal basic education).

The Law of Ukraine "On General Secondary Education " envisages significant changes in the structure of secondary education. It determines a new duration of schooling at the basic school - five years with 190 school days a year (not taking into account the time on tests and final examinations, duration of which can not be more than three weeks).

At the same time the two mentioned Laws do not specify the structure and contents of education - the structure of the course of study and the choice of a complex of subjects, the amount of weekly class lessons for each of them and so forth. Such problems are solved at the Ministry of Education level, which annually in spring issues Regulations concerning curricula for the next year in accordance with the Law on Education.

Curricula of the basic school

According to the provisions of the "Law on Education" (1996) and the "Law on General Secondary Education", the Ministry of Education of Ukraine is responsible for the working out of the standard curricula for schools of different levels. These curricula are periodically updated. Long before the beginning of a school year they are published in mass educational newspapers and newsletters of the Ministry of Education. Schools receive them at the end of spring, and it enables the school authorities to plan activities of a school year.

For example, in Regulation N131 of the Minister of Education (April 3, 1998) "On the Standard Curricula of General Educational Institutions for 1998/1999 Academic Year" there are necessary explanations and seven additions with curricula for educational institutions of different types and appropriate languages of schooling, and also with a six-day time and five-day time mode of schooling.

" The Explanatory note" specifies the procedure of elaboration of the working curricula on the basis of the standard ones, and also their sanction by the appropriate bodies of authorities. In Tab. 4 there is a sample standard curriculum for schools with the Ukrainian language of teaching for 1998/1999 school year (only for basic school).

The Regulations concern up-to-date five years' basic school (the second level of compulsory education), that is 5-9 grades.

At the first glance, the standard curriculum seems to be rather homogeneous, with harmonious structure and with no "leaps" concerning complexity of the course of study and so forth. In fact the basic school is terminated in the eighth grade for the majority of subjects, and the ninth grade is the first year of the upper school and should be classified as a part of the third level of the compulsory education. In the ninth grade there begin the study of many subjects on a rather high level what is planned as training for further schooling in higher educational institutions.

 Table 10. Standard curriculum of a day-time general educational institution of the II level (basic schools) with the Ukrainian language of teaching

  

Subjects

Weekly school hours in grades 5-9

5

6

7

8

9

total

Compulsory subjects

1 Ukrainian language

5

4

4

3

2

18

2 Ukrainian literature

2

2

2

3

3

12

3 Foreign literature

2

2

2

2

2

10

4 Foreign language

4

3

3

3

2,5

15,5

5 Mathematics, foundations of informatics

4,5

4,5

4,5

4,5

4,5

22,5

6 History of Ukraine

1

 

1

2

2

6

7 World History  

2

1

1

1

5

8 Science of Law        

1,5

1,5

9 Geography  

2

2

2

2

8

10 Environment. Nature study

1

       

1

11 Biology  

2

2

2

2

8

12 Physics    

2

2

3

7

13 Chemistry      

2

2

4

14 Music, art

2

2

2

1

 

7

15 Physical education

2

2

2

2

2

10

16 Working education

2

2

2

2

2

10

17 Health protection

0,5

0,5

0,5

0,5

0,5

4,5

Total

26

28

30

32

32

 

Variable part (options)

Optional subjects (Extra-lessons)

4

5

5

5

5

24

Permissible weekly amount of school hours

29

32

33

34

35

 
Total

30

33

35

37

37

172

Initial acquaintance with these subjects is provided just at the basic school: teaching of the Ukrainian and foreign literature, history of Ukraine, foreign language begins from the 5-th grade, world history, geography and biology - from the 6-th, physics - from the 7-th, chemistry - from the 8-th grade.

General statistical data on the basic education

Though according to the mentioned Laws "On Education" and "On General Secondary Education" basic schools might exist as autonomous educational institutions, practically it happens very seldom. The statistical data in Ukraine testify that there are no such "autonomous" basic schools, which might have only 5-9 grades. Pupils of such age study in incomplete (of the I and II levels) or complete (of the I-III levels) general education institutions. The data on the amount of educational institutions of the secondary education in Ukraine, their differentiation by educational institutions of different types, enrolments of teachers and pupils for 1998-99 school year are given in the following Table.

 Table 5. Educational institutions of the secondary education in Ukraine 
(1998/99 school year)

  

Number of institutions

Number of teachers

Number of pupils

 

Total

Urban

Rural

Total

Urban

Rural

Total

Urban

Rural

Institutions of all types (total)

21903

6913

14990

568678

321126

247552

6876180

4642163

2234017

Among them: 
I level

I-II  levels

I-III levels 

Special institutions


3173

6492

11838

400


401

820

5391

301


2772

5672

6447

99


9854

99481

447942

11401


3351

16936

291650

9189


6503

82545

156292

2212


100926

769489

5938196

67569


43723

199857

4344710

53873


57203

569632

1593486

13696

Among institutions

Schools of the
I level

2671

196

2475

7630

2051

5579

78062

27991

50071

Schools of the 
I-II levels

6226

781

5445

95839

16384

79455

749447

197401

552046

Schools of the 
I-III levels

11065

4772

6293

411896

259311

152585

5541893

3981281

1560612

Gymnasiums

243

241

2

12889

12815

74

143450

142903

547

Lyceums

268

254

14

11497

11092

405

109005

105329

3676

Complexes kindergarten-school

981

330

651

17019

9924

7095

186754

133385

53369

Sanatorium schools

49

38

11

507

360

147

Е

Е

Е

 As Table 5 shows, most pupils receive formal basic education in three-level secondary schools, which have the complete set of grades - from the first up to the eleventh one.

According data on the total enrolments of the system of formal basic education in Ukraine - 5 963 761 students at the beginning of 1998-99 school year. As the enrolments of the comprehensive secondary educational institutions in Ukraine is 6876180 students (tab. 5), the enrolments of the formal basic education is about 86,7 per cent of all students of the system of compulsory education in Ukraine. According to the data of the State Committee of Statistics the total enrolments of the system of secondary education in Ukraine at the beginning of 1998/99 school year was 6 987 081 students, therefore the figure 85,35 per cent would be more correct.

After successful completion of the basic education and passing the final examinations, students of basic schools receive certificates about basic general secondary education

Such certificates give the right: to continue education in comprehensive schools of the III level; to continue education and to receive some profession in the basic vocational institutions; to enter the educational institutions of the I-st and 2-nd accreditation levels.

Such a variety of possibilities for young people after formal basic education give them the opportunity to select the most appropriate way. A lot of students prefer vocational training in the network of secondary or higher vocational institutions to precipitate going out on the labour market. A variety of choice causes the fact that the enrolments of upper secondary schools in Ukraine is more than twice as less of 15-17 years old age group. The enrolments of such educational institutions within all Ukraine are 39,8 per cent of this age group.

The minimal scope of young people by the comprehensive education is in Lugans'k oblast (33 per cent). Similar situation (about 35-37per cent) is in all oblasts (Donets'k, Odessa and others), where there are many secondary vocational institutions. The maximal enrolments in secondary comprehensive schools are in Chernigiv oblast (48,7 per cent). In perspective due to the increased amount of young people aged 18-23 who enters the higher education institutions, this figure might be about 50-60 per cent.

Much better is the situation with providing of formal basic education. The scope of young people aged 10-14 by schooling in basic schools is in Ukraine about 96 per cent. Even higher parameters of scope of children and teenagers by schooling in basic schools are typical for oblasts of the Centre, for many oblasts of the West and North. The highest parameter for this educational level is in Vinnytsia - 99,8 per cent.

Lower in comparison with average for Ukraine is the scope of youth by basic education in industrial oblasts of the East - Donets'k (91,5 per cent), Lugans'k (92,3 per cent), Kharkiv (95,6 per cent).

The analysis of parameters of children scope of 10-14 years old age group by schooling in 1990-1998 testifies, that for all Ukraine they remained approximately constant and were about 96-98 per cent. Taking into account very difficult conditions, in which now Ukraine is, it is necessary to recognize that such a high scope is a certain achievement of the system of education in Ukraine.

It is very important that in the period of an economic crisis and significant reduction of education financing Ukraine succeeded to keep practically total children scope of 7-14 years old age group by the basic education. And basic education is, as earlier, education for all.


PROSPECTS

The problems of ensuring possibilities of education and improving its quality are examined by the "Law on General Secondary Education" (adopted in June 1999). It underlines the importance of co-ordination of interests of the society and the state and interests of students and their parents.
The "Law on General Secondary Education (1999) envisages increasing of the nomenclature of pre-school and compulsory educational institutions, types of subordination. Implementation of the Law provisions will promote improvement of quality of education, autonomy of educational institutions and possibilities for their development.

Within the structure and the content of general secondary education the new Law stipulates transition for the recognized European and world standards. The three level structure is to take into account the three successive stages of the development of a child personality.

The first stage Ц the elementary school Ц will include 4 years of studying. It will enable to relieve students and give teachers the opportunity to achieve success in improving basic knowledge and skills in Mathematics, Language, Valeology and environmental subject.

The second stage of the compulsory secondary education will comprise the modified 5 years basic school, where students will get knowledge and skills in science and humanitarian subjects, mother tongue and foreign languages. It will ease to make choice for each individual for further education. The first and the second stages will form the formal basic education for all with 9 years of duration.

The third stage will last three years in institutions of general education and in the system of professional training. At this stage thorough study of the limited group of subjects, which will be chosen by students for their further studying (in universities, institutes and academies), is envisaged. The youth will get specialities and opportunities to enter the labour market, studying in institutions of vocational training.

The "Law on General Secondary Education" introduces not only the European standard of duration of studying (12 years) but also the appropriate standards of school years duration (190 working days), intensity of weekly education, current and final examination of students progress and a lot of other forms of experience of the European and American democratic countries.

Analogous positive changes in activities of the system of education will be stipulated by other Laws Ц On Pre-school education, On Higher Education and so on.

The speed of the progress of the system of education for all in Ukraine will depend upon deepening of economy reforming, increasing of GNP amount, improvement of financial maintenance of pre-school and school institutions. Work of hundreds of thousands of teachers of schools and tens of thousands of professors of high educational institutions in direction of new approaches to training of students, preparation them for life and activities in a democratic, legal and European state Ц independent Ukraine Ц will promote acceleration of this process.

 


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