Complete general secondary education in Ukraine is compulsory. It is designed to shape a personality able to live in society, interact with nature in a civilized way, striving for self-improvement and lifelong learning. A personality ready for conscious life choices and self-fulfillment, responsibility, work and civic activity.

Programs and textbooks


grades 1-4

first - primary education

first cycle - adaptational and game-like (grades 1-2)

second cycle – main one (grades 3-4)

grades 5-9

second - basic secondary education

first cycle – adaptational (grades 5-6)

second cycle – basic subject-centered education (grades 7-9)

grades 10-11 (12 *)

third - specialized secondary education

first cycle – specialized and adaptational (grade 10)

second cycle – specialized (grades 11-12)

Children attend primary education usually from 6-7 years. Children with special educational needs can start primary education at another age.

Students at each of the three levels can be educated in a single or in different schools.

* The “New Ukrainian School” reform envisages that first 12th-graders will go to school in 2029/2030 school year. Prior to that, students study under the 11-year school system. You can find more details about the reform here.


Students can learn in different forms or by combining them. The main forms of education are as follows:

Full-time (day, evening)

Directly at school.


A mix of short sessions of schooling and independent study in-between.


Individualized learning, during which the student and teacher interact remotely.


Learning that involves different schools that interact with each other.


When the student learns the program independently, after which the teacher evaluates results of learning.

Family (at-home)

When parents independently organize education for the child, and assessment is conducted by teachers.

Pedagogical patronage

A distance form of learning when the teacher teaches the child at home.

On-the-job training

Practical on-the-job training under the guidance of practitioners, usually typical for not of vocational, professional pre-higher education.

Duration of studying at each level can vary – it can be longer or shorter. It depends on the form of studying, results or individual educational trajectory of the student. At the same time, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine sets the duration of complete general secondary education for children with special educational needs.


The school year in Ukrainian schools begins on the Knowledge Day – September 1st, and ends no later than July 1st next year.

The structure and duration of the school year, week, day, classes, breaks between them, etc. is determined by the pedagogical council of the school. At the same time, it takes into account the educational program, peculiarities of students and the region, and so on. This is one of manifestations of organizational and pedagogical autonomy of schools enabled by the NUS reform.

Duration of classes

35 minutes – in grade 1

40 minutes – in grades 2-4

45 minutes – in grades 5-11(12)


During the school year last in total of at least 30 calendar days.


Inclusive education creates opportunities for equal access of all children to education, takes into account human diversity, and effectively involves all its participants in the educational process.

If a school receives an application from a student with special educational needs (SEN) or their parents, or individuals acting as such, the school must form an inclusive/special class and/or group. Inclusive and/or special extended day groups can also be formed for students with SEN – also at the request of parents.

Children with special educational needs (SEN) are those who need additional support during their studies. In particular, these are children:

  • with mental or physical disabilities, with HIV/AIDS;
  • who are refugees or also IDPs;
  • who are homeless or orphans;
  • who are representatives of national or religious minorities;
  • from low-income families;

School creates conditions for education of children with SEN in accordance with an individual development program, taking into account their individual needs and abilities. The school sets up resource rooms and media libraries to teach pupils with SEN. The school also organizes and/or provides psychological, pedagogical, correctional and developmental services, as well as teaching aids.

An individual development program and an individual curriculum (if necessary) are developed for each student with SEN according to individual learning characteristics. These documents determine the list of necessary psychological, pedagogical, correctional and developmental services for the child.

Pupils with SEN are assisted by a teacher’s assistant and a student’s assistant. The latter may be a social worker, one of the student’s parents or a person authorized by them. The student’s assistant is allowed to participate in the educational process only after special training, which is confirmed by the relevant document.

Special conditions to undergo external independent evaluation are provided for persons with special educational needs.


During the teaching process, teachers use formative and summative assessments.

Formative assessment has been used in Ukrainian schools since 2018, as part of the educational reform. Therefore, it is systematically used only in primary school, which by now got encompassed by the reform. In senior and basic school, formative assessment is not yet used by all teachers and not always on a regular basis.

Formative assessment gives an opportunity to look at the learning progress and not only at the student’s results (for example, the number of errors). The teacher conducts formative assessment in particular through:

  • observation of educational and other activities of students;
  • reviews of students’ work, learning achievements, results of their diagnostic works;
  • self-evaluation and mutual evaluation of student performance;
  • evaluation of personal development and socialization of students by their parents;
  • feedback on how students perceive and understand taught material.

Summative assessment can be topical, semester-based and annual.

In the first cycle of primary school, only oral assessment is conducted.

In the second cycle of primary school, oral or tiered assessments can be used with four tiers: beginner, intermediate, sufficient and advanced.

A 12-point grading scale is used in primary and secondary schools. Points are also divided into four tiers: 1-3 – beginner, 4-6 – intermediate, 7-9 – sufficient, 10-12 – advanced.

For the summative evaluation a teacher uses oral or written diagnostic/control assignments – in the form of tests, practical works, etc. The teacher picks forms of assessment, content of assignments at their own discretion.

Upon completion of studying at each level of complete general secondary education, students’ learning results are assessed in the state final examination (SFE). That is, students pass the SFE after completing 4th, 9th and 11(12) grades.

The SFE allows to assess the extent to which student learning results meet the requirements of state standards of school education and the quality of educational activities in schools. The SFE can take various forms – it can be conducted at school or as an external independent evaluation.

Results of the SFE are determined on a 12-point scale. Points for the exam are separate from annual points. Results of the SFE are entered into the certificate of attainment of a certain level of education, are taken into account when determining the average score of the certificate and when determining applicants for gold and silver medals.

The procedure, forms of conducting and the list of subjects tested at the SFE are determined by the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine. They may differ in different years, but most often it is the Ukrainian language, mathematics and/or history of Ukraine.

There were cases when the SFE was canceled. For instance, the examination was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as in 2022 due to the Russian military aggression against Ukraine.

The External Independent Evaluation (EIE) is a form of assessment of high school graduates’ learning results. It is held annually in the form of tests in various subjects. EIE is based on programs whose content must meet educational standards.

Results of EIE are used primarily for admission to higher education institutions. EIE provides equal access to higher education and assessment of compliance of school learning results with state requirements.

EIE is conducted by a specially authorized state institution – the Ukrainian Center for Educational Quality Assessment.

EIE tests usually take place in May-June. However, in certain circumstances, they may occur later, as was the case during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2022, due to the military aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, for the first time, instead of a full-fledged EIE, a simplified version – one national multi-subject test – will be used. It will include tasks in three subjects: Ukrainian language (without literature), mathematics and history of Ukraine.


Complete general secondary education is the path to education at other levels. Thus, higher education can be obtained only on the basis of complete general secondary education.

On the basis of basic or complete general secondary education it is possible to obtain vocational or professional pre-higher education.


Executive branch

Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine

The Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine is the central executive body in the field of education and science.

The State Service of Education Quality is the central executive body for ensuring the quality of education. It takes care of compliance with the quality of education and educational standards, in particular in school education. It helps schools to improve the quality of education, guarantee it and build public confidence in Ukrainian education.

Local administration

Departments of education of local authorities. Bodies of local self-government.

School founders: these can be public authorities, community councils, individuals and/or legal entities.

School administrators. The school may also have a collegial governing body of the educational institution, a collegial body of public self-government, and other bodies provided for in the charter documents of the school.


New Ukrainian School (NUS) is a comprehensive reform of school education in Ukraine, which began in 2016 and will last until 2029. Its main goal is to create a school that will be pleasant to study at and that will give students not only knowledge, as is the case today, but also the ability to apply it in everyday life.

The NUS reform is a long-term reform, because it is impossible to quickly change the educational tradition that has existed for decades. Therefore, today, after the first educational processes launched under NUS standards in 2018, in fact, two education systems coexist in Ukraine.

The first is the “old” 11-year-old system

Used by students who went to school in 2017 and earlier. Now they are students of all 5-11 grades, except for the NUS pilot classes (read about them below).

The second is the New Ukrainian School

According to the principles of which all pupils of grades from 1 through 4 are already taught. 2022/2023 school year will be the first year when all 5th graders of Ukraine will study according to the NUS principles.

At the same time, there are more than 100 classes in Ukraine that has been piloting the NUS reform in every subsequent grade every year. That is, when in 2022 all 5th graders will study under NUS, these pilot schools will test the principles of NUS in 6th grade – and when all 6th graders become part of NUS, they will pilot 7th grade. And the same thing will happen every year: the “pilot’’ will be a year ahead of the all-Ukrainian wave of transition to NUS standards. In 2028/2029 school year, these pilot classes will be the first 12th graders in Ukraine.

The basis for the reform was laid down by new laws and state standards of education, which allow implementing NUS principles in practice. These are the Law on Education (2017), the Law on Complete General Secondary Education (2020), as well as the State Standard of Primary Education (2018) and the State Standard of Basic Secondary Education (2020).

The main principles of school education reform and the approximate schedule for the implementation of the reform are set out in the Conceptual Principles of the New Ukrainian School.

A key change for students goes down to new approaches to learning and content of education. Instead of memorizing facts and notions, students acquire competences. It is a dynamic combination of knowledge, skills, abilities, ways of thinking, views, values, and other personal qualities that determine a person’s ability to successfully socialize, conduct professional and/or further educational activities.

The list of competences that students acquire has been developed taking into account «Recommendations of the European Parliament and of the Council on key competences for lifelong learning».

These are the following competences:

  • fluency in the official national language;
  • ability to communicate in native (if different from the official) and foreign languages;
  • mathematical competence;
  • competences in the field of natural sciences, engineering and technology;
  • innovation;
  • environmental competence;
  • information and communication competence;
  • lifelong learning;
  • civic and social competences related to the ideas of democracy, justice, equality, human rights, prosperity and healthy lifestyle, with awareness of equal rights and opportunities;
  • cultural competence;
  • entrepreneurship and financial literacy.

Common to all competences are cross-cutting skills: reading comprehension, ability to express one’s opinion orally and in writing, critical and systemic thinking, ability to logically justify an opinion, creativity, initiative, ability to constructively manage emotions, assess risks, make decisions, solve problems, ability to cooperate with other people.

The new standards stipulate that teachers must work in different ways, so there is a gradual large-scale retraining of teachers as well.

The new NUS evaluation model assumes that instead of usual scorecards at the end of the year, first-graders receive a Certificate of Achievements. The updated model is based on formative evaluation, which allows drawing conclusions about the learning process, and not just the result (number of errors) and students’ progress.

NUS is a school which students attend with pleasure. In NUS their opinions are taken into account, they are taught to be responsible citizens and think critically, unafraid of expressing their own opinions. At the same time, parents are actively engaged in school life as well, because they know there is a spirit of cooperation and mutual understanding in NUS.

Ukraine and PISA

Ukraine first joined the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) in 2016, and in 2018 for the first time took full part in the study.

The programme compares the educational systems of about 80 countries around the world by measuring students’ competences in reading, mathematics and sciences. PISA also examines factors that influence student learning success.

The average score of Ukrainian pupils in reading is 466 points (in the leader country - 555, OECD average being 487). 74% of Ukrainian students have reached the second level of reading competence (77% - in OECD countries).

In mathematical competence, the average score of Ukrainian pupils is 453 (in the leader country – 591, OECD average being 489). Mathematical competence proved to be the biggest challenge for Ukraine: more than a third of pupils failed to reach the basic level of knowledge of mathematics (24% - in OECD countries).

The average Ukraine's score for competence in natural sciences is 469 (in the leader country – 590, OECD average being – 489). 74% of Ukrainian schoolchildren reached the second and higher level. This is almost the same figure as in OECD countries - 78%.