1.4 The Ukrainian education system
Ukrainian children start school at the age of 6. A lot of children attend kindergarten before school. Typically, children spend whole day in kindergarten. This is why they have separate bedrooms where they have an afternoon nap. Children are normally organised in year groups which allows teachers to conduct activities according to their age. Children play indoors and on playgrounds, have classes, music, dance and sport activities. Although it might seem to be very late to start school at the age of 6 for the British, Ukrainian children learn to read, write in block letters and count in their kindergarten and they usually have an interview when they join school, which allows teachers to balance groups.
School education in Ukraine is compulsory and free. In most cases, primary and secondary stages of education are united in one school and children don’t have to change school if they don’t want to. However, there are also specialised schools, especially in cities, with emphasis on certain areas of learning (for example, art, foreign languages, maths or science).
School education lasts 12 years.
There are also colleges in Ukraine which provide secondary education and vocational training at the same time. Children who want to get vocational training and are not planning to study at university apply to colleges after Year 9.
Ukrainians have always valued education. Although university diplomas do not guarantee high salaries, most parents send their children to university. There were many universities in Ukraine before the Russian invasion. They attracted not only Ukrainians, but also foreign students, mostly from the Middle East, India, China and Africa.