School and Education in Ukraine


With independence in 1991, the country’s education system was reformed and got a stronger Ukrainian feel. Previously, the number of Ukrainian-speaking classes had rapidly decreased in favor of Russian-speakers; Today, basic education on Ukrainian is mandatory. Ukrainian history and literature have gained a prominent place in teaching. In addition, the school books have been revised and modernized. Since independence, over 500 new titles have been released.

  • A2zdirectory: Describes prehistory and early history of Ukraine. Includes history from colony to an independent nation.

Mandatory compulsory schooling is applied for children between the ages of 7 and 15, but if the parents wish, the children can start at the age of 6. After elementary school there are colleges, lycees and 2–3 year old vocational schools. In addition, a number of schools have been added to the state school system on private or confessional grounds. There are also schools and classes with teaching in whole or in part in the minority languages Polish, Hungarian, Romanian and Bulgarian. In some places there are also special schools for the Roma.

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Ukraine has a rapidly growing number of higher education institutions, including 309 technical schools, 59 academies, 150 institutes and 106 universities (2002). Since 1992 there is also a private institution of higher education in Kiev, Mohyla Academy. Teaching has been internationalized, and at many universities there are foreign lecturers today. In addition, there are a large number of specialized colleges, including several medical colleges. The higher education takes place in Russian and Ukrainian, but also in English in some academies and universities.

Ukraine Country Flag

Ukraine flag source:

In March 1993, Ukraine suspended the transport of tactical nuclear weapons to Russia, stating that the reason was the lack of guarantees for their destruction. The 4 countries of the State Nuclear Society (Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan) subsequently agreed to set up an international commission to monitor the withdrawal and destruction of nuclear weapons stationed in Ukraine.

The conflict around the Black Sea fleet was further heightened in April, when both the Russian and Ukrainian governments each claimed to have supreme authority over the fleet. Later, however, the two countries agreed to begin negotiations on the issue.

In September, Prime Minister Vitold Fokin resigned from the post after the collapse of the country’s economy. He was replaced by Leonid Kuchma, the former employer chairman.

The new government’s liberal economic policies and privatizations encountered resistance in the Supreme Council (dominated by the Communists) and among the workers. Kuchma therefore filed his resignation petition on May 21, but it was rejected. In June, the Supreme Council – in direct challenge to Kravchuk’s moderate foreign policy – decreed the entire nuclear arsenal the Soviet Union had left behind for seizure. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ukraine had suddenly become the world’s third largest nuclear power. See for all countries starting with U.

Kravchuk was politically weakened and in September 1993 transferred the part of the Black Sea fleet to Ukraine to Russia. It was a compensation for the debt that the country had built up against Russia for oil and gas supplies. In addition, the country received support to dismantle the 46 powerful intercontinental SS-24 nuclear missiles that Ukraine had wanted to maintain until the last minute as a kind of insurance against possible expansionist Russian projects. The opposition in Kiev strongly criticized this agreement.

Meanwhile, the economy completely collapsed, inflation reached 100% a month and Kuchma resigned.

In November 1993, the Supreme Council ratified the START-1 Strategic Nuclear Reduction Agreement and accepted the gradual dismantling of the country’s 1,656 nuclear warheads.

The first presidential election following the collapse of the Soviet Union took place in June and July 1994. Former Prime Minister Leonid Kuchma beat the outgoing president by 52% of the vote after declaring his willingness to enter into closer cooperation with Russia and to a full extent Economic Union of the State Society.

Throughout 1994 and 95, the economic and social situation continued to deteriorate. The country’s gross domestic product fell by 20% in 1994 and 12% in 1995, which intensified poverty in the country.

On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Chernobyl reactor accident in April 1986, an international campaign was carried out against the nuclear power plants of the former socialist countries. According to studies, 1 million people are directly exposed to radiation from the Chernobyl plant, 2.4 million live in affected areas, and 12% of the Republic’s cultivable areas are radioactively contaminated.


Kiev, the capital of Ukraine; 2.9 million residents (2015). The city lies on the green hills on either side of the Dnepr’s middle race and is the center of science, culture and industry; here you can find electronic, fine mechanical and chemical industry as well as manufacturing of machinery, rubber, food and wood. In addition to university (1834), the city has a science academy, agricultural academy, and architecture school; in addition, opera and several theaters.

Kiev is rich in contrasts. Steep hills (up to 200 m) and completely flat areas by the river, dense urban areas and large parks, wide boulevards and highways and narrow alleys and alleys. In the 1000-h. the upper part of the city was surrounded by a castle wall, from which remains of the famous Golden Gate can still be seen. The city’s subway network was started in 1960 and is undergoing further development. Several of the older stations are adorned with palace-like decorations.

Many parts of Kiev were destroyed during World War II, but much has been rebuilt and new satellite towns shot up in the area. In Soviet times, Russian was the dominant language in the city; from the 1990’s it was replaced by Ukrainian.

Kiev is located approximately 100 km south of Chernobyl, where the major nuclear accident occurred in April 1986. Under normal wind conditions, Kiev’s population would have been hit by irreparable damage, but the wind direction was customary in the southeast when the accident happened and the radioactive fallout did not hit actual big cities.

Architecture and museums

From Kiev’s heyday, Sofia Cathedral dates from 1000-t. with exterior in Baroque from 1700-t. Its name and Byzantine character are due to the importance of Constantinople as a role model for the city under Yaroslav the Vise. The church houses magnificent mosaics and frescoes from the mid-1000’s. Among several monasteries, the most important is the very large Kyievo-Petjerskaja Lavra (gr. 1051, see the Cave Monastery in Kyjiv) with underground monk cells; Peter the Great added several richly equipped churches to the monastery, now inhabited by monks, but also a museum. The Cathedral of Andreas is built in 1747-61 in Baroque, the Vladimir Cathedral (1862-96) was built on the occasion of the 900 year of Christianity’s introduction in 988 and contains monumental murals. From the 1960’s to the 1980’s a number of pompous political monuments were erected. Kiev has three rich art museums: the Museum of Russian Art, the Museum of Ukrainian Art and the Museum of Western and Oriental Art.


The timing of the city’s rise is disputed, but it remained from the mid-800th. under the name Kænugar∂r, a support point for the Scandinavian custodians on their way from the Baltic to the Byzantine Empire, and the city soon became the center of the empire they created. 988-1299, Kiev was the center of the Russian Church, of which the Sofia Cathedral is still testifying.

During the 1100-t. the political center of gravity shifted towards the NE, and Kiev’s decline culminated when the Mongols in 1240 made it desolate. After being under the Mongols until approximately In 1362, the city was conquered by the expanding Lithuanian Principality, and in 1569 entered into union with Catholic Poland, the entire Kiev area was transferred to it. The city became the seat of the Russian Orthodox clergy academy, founded in 1632, for the resistance to Catholic pressure. From 1654 Kiev was again Russian.

The difference between Russian and Ukrainian culture and language was already considerable, and Kiev came through the academy to play a major role in early Western European influence in Russia. Through 1700-1800-t. Kiev was a still insignificant government city. But the University of 1834 made it the center of emerging Ukrainian nationalism, and railroad connections from 1869-71 provided the basis for industrial growth.

During the revolutions and the civil war, Kiev was on changing hands, but at the same time the center of Ukrainian separatism; therefore, in 1934, Kiev first replaced Kharkiv as the capital of the Ukrainian Socialist Soviet Republic. 1941-43, Kiev was occupied by the Germans, and a large part of the population, not least Jews, were liquidated or sent to forced labor in Germany (see also Babij Jar). Since 1991, Kiev has been the capital of independent Ukraine.