Higher education in Ukraine

The higher education system of Ukraine

Recent policy updates

Relevant projects and initiatives

TAMs and SPHERE seminars organised in Ukraine 

Relevant links


The higher education system of Ukraine

In accordance with the Article 53 of the Constitution of Ukraine, everyone shall have the right to education.

For regulation of the higher education in Ukraine, the following legislation is relevant:

  • Law on Higher Education (2014)
  • Regulation on National Qualifications Framework (based on European Qualifications Framework for  Lifelong Learning) adopted by the Cabinet of Ministries of Ukraine (2011)
  • National Plan on NQF Implementation approved by the Cabinet of Ministries of Ukraine (2015)
  • Regulation on Academic Mobility adopted by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine (2015)
  • Decree about the establishment of the National Agency for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (NQAA) adopted by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine (2015)
  • Midterm Plan on Government Priority Actions 2020 (2017)
  • List of Fields of Study and Program Subject Areas in Higher Education adopted by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine (corresponded ISCED 2011) (2015 and 2017 with changes)
  • Law on Education (2017).

The Law on Higher Education is compatible with the Bologna Process in general and covers the following key provisions:

  • Implementation of the three cycle structure of Higher Education – Junior Bachelor (short cycle), Bachelor – Master – PhD and plus 4th or postdoctoral cycle – Doctor of Science;
  • PhD education is provided by structured education and research programmes within Aspirantura (similar to Doctoral School) at HEI or research institutions, 4 years duration (incl. 30-60 ECTS of education part within programme);
  • Implementation of ECTS (determination of education programs scope in terms of ECTS credits) and Diploma Supplement (obligatory);
  • Decrease of student workload from 36 to 30 hours in 1 ECTS credit;
  • Development of academic mobility, provision of maintenance for job place/study place, scholarship/salary in academic mobility period;
  • University academic autonomyorganizational autonomyhuman resources autonomy and financial autonomy (international grants for research and education could be placed on accounts in public banks and not only in State Treasury, independently command budget incl. reallocation between budget items, etc.);
  • Recognition of academic degrees that were obtained abroad is provided by University Academic Council for further higher education or academic employment. Person who hold a PhD, or other PhD equivalent degrees of foreign countries in the relevant specialisation can apply for academic positions.
  • Establishment of the National Agency on HE Quality Assurance (NQAA) in the capacity of the public institution (it consists of a Secretariat and Public Council (23 individuals from different stakeholders – academics, students, employers) for making decisions on QA issues (incl. accreditation of study programmes);
  • The key approaches for Quality Assurance are defined by the Law in line with Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG);
  • Higher Education Standards (benchmark requirements for key competencies and learning outcomes within each Programme Subject Area (there are 121 Programme Subject Areas (ISCED’ Detailed Fields) in Ukraine).

The Ukraine NQF (NQFU) is conceptually developed in compliance with the criteria of the Qualifications Framework of the European Higher Education Area (QF-EHEA) and the European Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning (EQF). The NQF has 11 levels and these levels define the relative complexity of the competencies by criteria expressed in Knowledge and Understanding, Skills, Communication, Autonomy and Responsibility as well as in integrated competency. The level descriptors are used as benchmarks for classifying qualifications and developing national higher education standards based on learning outcomes. Сorrespondence between education levels, postdoctoral/scientific level (Junior Bachelor – Bachelor – Master – PhD – Doctor of Science) and levels of National Qualification Framework (6 – 7 – 8 – 9 – 10) are determinated by the Law on Education.

There are public higher education institutions under other authorities (Ministry of Healthcare of Ukraine, Ministry of Culture of Ukraine, Ministry of Defense of Ukraine and others). There were 289 Universities and 1,330 mln students in Ukraine on 2017/18 academic year.


Recent policy updates

The Cabinet approved new NQAA’ members list, incl. HERE – Iryna Zolotariova, (December 2018), and HERE Mychailo Wynnyckyj appointed as a Head of the NQAA’ Secretariat. NQAA began activity in 2019 using outcomes of the Erasmus+ project QUAERE. (https://www.kmu.gov.ua/ua/npas/pro-zatverdzhennya-skladu-nacionalnogo-agentstva-iz-zabezpechennya-yakosti-vishchoyi-osviti).

According to the Law on Higher Education, the Higher Education Standard is a set of benchmark requirements for the content and results of the educational activities of the higher education institutions and the research institutes at each higher education level within each Programme Subject Area.

The Ministry of Education and Sciences of Ukraine has formed Scientific and Methodical Council and Sectoral Scientific and Methodical Commissions (SMCs) for HE standards development in 2016.

SMCs under the Ministry intend to develop higher education standards for each Programme Subject Area (ISCED’ Detailed Field), taking into account the proposals of sectoral public authorities, industry associations and employer organisations’ experts. On December 2018, about 200 draft higher education standards were developed. Recently, 55 higher education standards were approved by the Ministry.

The Law of Education (2017) is compatible with the Bologna Process in general and includes the following key provisions:

- According to the Law on Education QA, system novation is Academic Integrity as well as Institutional Accreditation (voluntary procedure by HEI initiative, assessment of quality of educational activity of the HEI).

- Introduce definitions for professional and educational qualifications; descriptions of the National Qualification Framework corresponding with EQF LLL; Sectoral Qualifications Frameworks, Qualifications Centres for Learning Outcomes and Qualifications Recognition (including via informal and nonformal education) in line with Lisbon and Bologna processes; National Qualifications Agency for maintaining NQF implementation in particular.

- Widen University Autonomy via introducing several legal statuses for HEIs – state-funding institution (present status for state HEIs); non-commercial education institution; commercial education institution (Article 22).


Relevant projects and initiatives

The HEREs team representatives are among the active members of the national working group on development of amendments to the Law of Ukraine “On Higher Education” in line with European integration process and they contributed to other relevant legislative and guiding documents.

HEREs prepared a useful resources database on key publications and Ukrainian translations of the EHEA documents, incl. Paris Communique (2018), to be used for modernization of higher education.

HEREs in cooperation with representatives of the Ministry and HEIs prepared Methodical Guidelines for Higher Education Standards Development in line with new Law of Ukraine “On Higher Education” and ESG 2015, approved by the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine in 2016.

HEREs provide methodical expertise of draft standards (more 100 expertise done) in accordance to Methodical Guidelines for Higher Education Standards Development and other EHEA documents (ESG, Tuning, etc.).

In 2016 Tempus & Erasmus+ Structure Projects outcomes were distributed into Clusters in line with key HE reform areas: Quality Assurance system development, NQF implementation and study program modernisation, PhD study development, Lifelong Learning, University Governance in context of Autonomy and Student Support, Integration of Higher Education, Innovation and Research, Business (Knowledge Triangle), Higher Education Internationalisation and Mobility. In addition, projects were assigned to HEREs as Curators.

NEO-Ukraine in cooperation with the HERE team and the Ministry introduced regular Cluster Meetings / Workshops on Outcomes of Tempus & Erasmus+ Projects. National Cluster Meetings / Workshops on the priorities of higher education reform with participation of projects teams, HEREs and other stakeholders are organised by NEO-Ukraine in cooperation with the Ministry to exchange best practice, develop and improve national higher education policy, as well as to identify priorities for Erasmus+ Program calls.  Each Cluster event focuses on key Bologna tools and EHEA approaches. Based on findings of the Cluster Seminars, recommendations for Higher Education reform (national and institutional levels) and for the projects teams are developed, also to maximize the national impact of project outcomes.

QUAERE (Erasmus+, 2015-2018), Quality Assurance System in Ukraine: Development on the base of ENQA Standards and Guidelines – the project team in cooperation with the Ministry are conducting a national survey on QA issues for the preparation of an analytical review and assessment of the national higher education system in the light of the ESG.

QANTUS (Tempus, 2013-2018), Qualifications Frameworks for Environmental Science at Ukrainian Universities – Sectoral Qualifications Framework (SQF) for Environmental Science (for three cycles) and its outcomes were presented and discussed at a meeting of the Ministry’s Scientific and Methodical Council and Sectoral Commission for HE standards development in the context of the preparation of standards for Ecology; a guide for SQF development was placed on the project site; proposals for improvement of draft standards for Bachelor and Master levels were send to the SMC.

ALIGN (Tempus, 2013-2017), Achieving and checking the alignment between academic programmes and qualification frameworks – Mechanisms for HEIs to achieve alignment of academic programmes (Competences and Learning Outcomes) with NQFs were developed, and appropriative modernized programs are under pilot accreditation of EU QAA – project partners, training courses on Learning Outcome assessment in line with NQF are developed.

ELITE (Tempus, 2013-2018), Education for Leadership, Intelligence and Talent Encouraging – Concept for “Universities’ role in Leadership and Organizational Development” developed and presented to stakeholders incl. the Ministry; Centres of Leadership were established in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odessa; selection of school directors (principals) realized by certified experts at the Centre of Leadership in Borys Grinchenko Kyiv University on Order of the Kyiv Municipality; assessment of Universities’ teams at the Centre of Leadership in the Institute of Higher Education was realized in frame of University Leadership project in cooperation with the British Council Ukraine.

PICASA (Tempus, 2013-2017), Promoting Internationalization of HEIs in Eastern Neighbourhood Countries through Cultural and Structural Adaptations – a University guide for internationalization was developed and implemented on institutional level, procedures of quality assurance for University internationalization in the realm of learning, teaching and research are under development.

In 2017 the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine approved list of members of Ukraine’ Bologna Follow-Up Group including representatives of the HERE team. The Group in cooperation with HEREs and NEO-Ukraine engages in preparation of materials for Report on Bologna Process implementation in Ukraine.


TAMs and SPHERE seminars organised in Ukraine

TAM Roundtable “Instruments of Motivation at the Personal, Institutional, National levels in the context of the Internal Quality Assurance Systems Development in Higher Education”, National Academy of Educational Sciences of Ukraine, Kyiv, May 24, 2018. TAM trainer – QA expert Tia LOUKKOLA, Director of Institutional Development, European University Association, Member of the Competition Commission for NQAA – Ukraine, demonstrated a high level of competence in Quality Assurance issues. Participants got detailed and comprehensive explanation about new approaches to Internal Quality Assurance Development in line with ESG, about engagement of stakeholders (employers, students, academic and administrative staff) into QA process using modern approaches, incl. practical examples.

Materials: http://erasmusplus.org.ua/en/news/2157-instruments-of-motivation-at-the-personal-institutional-national-levels-in-the-context-of-the-internal-qa-systems-development-in-he.html  

TAM Seminar “Formation Of The Quality Assurance Agencies In Higher Education: Criteria and Procedures for Selecting Members Of QAA and Forming QA Experts’ Pool”, National Academy of Educational Sciences of Ukraine, Kyiv, September 11, 2018TAM expert – Steffen WESTERGARD ANDERSEN, Director of Operations, Universities and Higher Education Institutions of Arts and Culture, the Danish Accreditation Institution, demonstrated a high level of competence in QA procedures, QA experts’ pool development issues. Expert prepared helpful presentations and real cases, clearly described the main principles of QA experts’ pool development using very practice. Therefore, participants identified and realized issues regarding development of QA agency, experts training in the context of Quality Assurance in Ukraine, and defined key problems and ways for their solutions in frame of discussion sessions.

Materials: http://erasmusplus.org.ua/en/erasmus/ka3-support-to-policy-reforms/events-and-materials/2319-seminar-formation-of-the-quality-assurance-agencies-in-higher-education-criteria-and-procedures-for-selecting-members-of-qaa-and-forming-qa-experts-pool-tam-sphere-eacea-11-september-2018.html

TAM Annual Conference «European Integration of Ukraine’ Higher Education in the context of Bologna Process», Taras Shevchenko National University, Kyiv, November 27, 2017. Event was organised in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine. Plenary Session “European Integration of Ukraine’s Higher Education: Conclusions from the Bologna Process Implementation Report 2018” included presentation of TAM expert – Michael GAEBEL, Director, Higher Education Policy Unit, European University Association, member of the Bologna Follow-Up Working Group, Bologna Process Implementation Report 2018, co-author of the Trends 2018 Report and discussion on Trends 2018 issues.

Materials: http://erasmusplus.org.ua/en/news/1993-vii-international-bologna-process-conference-tam-event-european-integration-of-ukraine-s-higher-education-in-the-context-of-bologna-process-27-11-18-kyiv-ukraine.html  


Relevant links

Governmental Portal – http://www.kmu.gov.ua/kmu/control/en/publish/

EU Support Group for Ukraine –http://www.kmu.gov.ua/kmu/control/en/publish/article?art_id=248400038&cat_id=248274610

Study in Ukraine, Ukrainian State Center for International Education, the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine – http://studyinukraine.gov.ua

National Erasmus+ Office – Ukraine – http://erasmusplus.org.ua/en/

National Erasmus+ Office – Ukraine – Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/NEOinUkraine/