Education of Ukraine: A Comprehensive Overview

Ukraine, an Eastern European country with a rich educational history, follows a five-level educational system: preschool, primary, secondary, upper secondary, and postgraduate education.

Education is regarded as a human right and vital for human, social, and economic development.

This article delves into Ukraine’s education, covering aspects like ranking, quality, challenges, and opportunities.

Education in Ukraine
Explore the Education of Ukraine and Learn about its ranking, quality, challenges, and opportunities in this comprehensive article.


What Is Ukraine Ranked In Education?

The education system of Ukraine is assessed using various methods.

According to the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) in 2018, Ukraine ranked 40th out of 79 countries in reading, math, and science.

The average score was 466 points, below the OECD average of 487 points.

In the Global Competitiveness Report of 2019, Ukraine ranked 85th out of 141 countries in education quality.

Primary school enrolment was ranked 31st, secondary education 41st, and higher professional education 13th.

Is Ukraine A Highly Educated Country?

Ukraine has an impressive education system with an 83% tertiary gross enrollment ratio (UNESCO, 2014).

This means 83% of 18-23-year-olds are enrolled in higher education.

The country’s universities have a rich tradition from the Soviet era, attracting students from Africa.

Today, Ukrainian universities are popular among foreign students, offering affordable courses, easy visas, and a path to European job markets and permanent residency.

In 2020, Ukraine hosted over 76,000 foreign students from 158 countries, with India, Morocco, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and Nigeria being the top origin countries.

The most common fields of study for foreign students are in STEM, including MBBS and engineering degrees.

What Is The Education Problem In Ukraine?

Despite its achievements and potential, the Ukrainian education system faces several challenges that hinder its development and quality.

Some of these problems include:

  • Academic corruption: Corruption is widespread in Ukraine, impacting multiple areas, including education. In 2020, Ukraine ranked 117th out of 180 countries on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, scoring 33 out of 100. Academic corruption in the country involves bribery, plagiarism, falsification of credentials, and nepotism. This undermines the credibility of Ukrainian universities and diplomas, eroding trust among students and employers.
  • Population loss: Ukraine’s population has been declining significantly due to low birth rates, high mortality rates, emigration, and armed conflict. According to the World Bank, the population decreased from 52 million in 1990 to 41.5 million in 2020. This has implications for the education sector, affecting student and teacher numbers, demand for educational services, and the funding and sustainability of educational institutions.
  • Lack of university autonomy: Ukrainian universities face limited autonomy and independence from the state, with restricted control over budgets, curricula, staff recruitment, and academic policies. Excessive bureaucracy and political interference hinder their capacity to innovate and meet evolving student and societal needs.
  • Dated facilities: Ukrainian schools and universities face significant challenges with infrastructure, equipment, and facilities. Many suffer from overcrowding, heating shortages, and safety issues. Inadequate classrooms, laboratories, libraries, and IT facilities also impact the learning environment and outcomes for both students and teachers.
  • Armed conflict: Since 2014, Ukraine has faced armed conflict with Russia-backed separatists in Donetsk and Luhansk regions. This has caused thousands of casualties, millions displaced, and extensive damage to infrastructure. The education sector has suffered greatly, with schools and universities damaged or destroyed, forcing students and teachers to relocate and disrupting education continuity and quality. Student and teacher safety and access to education have also been affected.

Why Do Foreign Students Study In Ukraine?

Foreign students choose to study in Ukraine for various reasons, such as:

  • Feasible student visa requirements: Ukraine offers an easy student visa process, especially for CIS countries like Azerbaijan and Moldova. Non-CIS students can also get support from Ukrainian authorities for their student visas.
  • Accredited courses: Ukraine boasts a reputable education system with globally recognized accredited courses, particularly in medicine, engineering, and business. Ukrainian degrees are highly esteemed worldwide. Numerous Ukrainian universities are part of prestigious international associations like the European University Association (EUA) and the International Association of Universities (IAU).
  • Cultural diversity: Ukraine, a culturally diverse country, warmly welcomes students from various backgrounds. Foreign students can immerse themselves in the rich culture, history, and traditions, while also learning the Ukrainian language. They have the opportunity to interact with local students, communities, and fellow international students from diverse nations.


Ukraine values education and has a high literacy rate.

But it also faces many problems that affect its education system, such as corruption, population loss, lack of autonomy, dated facilities and armed conflict.

Foreign students study in Ukraine for reasons like affordability, feasibility, accreditation and diversity.

Ukraine needs to solve its political and security issues, and to reform and improve its education system, for the benefit of its people and its guests.

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