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Ministry of Education and Science Newsletter, November-December '16
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Oksana Makarenko, Advisor to the Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine, co-founder of NGO "Parental Control" and co-founder of NGO "Smart Education"

"Louis Pasteur's theory of germs is a ridiculous fiction" (Pierre Pachet, Professor of Psychology at the University of Toulouse, 1872).

"There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home." (Ken Olson, founder and president of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977).

 
"Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?" (Reaction by Harry Warner, co-founder of Warner Brothers to the use sound in cinema, 1927).

These are only a few well-known examples to illustrate how in a rapidly changing world, it is difficult, and sometimes even absurd to make certain predictions. Working on the concept of New Ukrainian School, we bore in mind that this reform concerns the future. We cannot clearly determine what knowledge and skills people will need in the year 2030, to be successful in life.  But we cannot just leave things as they are, considering that the current Ukrainian school system continues to prepare children with the skills needed for a successful life in the past century.
 
We must stop stuffing children with information, which becomes obsolete before they graduate from school and have time to use it. Instead we should begin to prepare children for life in a rapidly changing future world containing many aspects unknown to us today. A world which not you and I, but they, will design and build. Therefore, we must shift the focus of attention at school from the transmission of knowledge to the development of competencies.   

"Competency - is a dynamic combination of knowledge, ways of thinking, attitudes, values, skills, abilities and other personal characteristics that determine a person's ability to successfully take part in professional and / or further training activities" (draft framework law of Ukraine "On Education").
 
Over the past 5-10 years, the labor market has changed significantly as have the respective requirements for employees. Over 30% of higher education graduates in Ukraine today cannot find a job corresponding to their academic discipline. The labor market situation is characterized by declining employment and rising unemployment. The number of employed persons aged 15-70 in the first half of 2016 amounted to 16.2 million, corresponding to a labor force participation rate of 56.2%. (State Statistics Commission, 2016 http://www.dcz.gov.ua/statdatacatalog/document?id=401365 ).
 
Employers are increasingly paying less attention to candidate's higher education qualification, as this is considered a narrow professional specialization. So-called "hard skills" whereby drivers require only the ability to drive a car, journalists only need to correctly write articles and accountants need only keep financial records, are diminishing in importance in the career market. Everything else was previously considered a positive, but not a necessary addition.
 
Today, employers are looking for staff who demonstrate not only professional competence but also certain values, competencies and traits that allow them to efficiently and harmoniously interact with others, to be effective, quickly assess the situation, be motivated and organized.
According to studies conducted at Harvard and Stanford universities, only 15% of career success depends on the level of professional skills, while the remaining 85% depends on so-called "soft skills".
 
In November 2015 a study entitled "Skills for modern Ukraine" was conducted by the World Bank, with the aim of examining the nature of skills which were valued in the modern labor market in Ukraine, identifying aspects that need improving and discussing how educational institutions and employment agencies influence the investment in skills and offer practical solutions to existing problems. World Bank experts also concluded that Ukrainian employers require employees with additional cognitive and socio-emotional skills.
 
By 2020, employers will require such skills as the ability to solve complex problems (increase by 52%), critical thinking, creativity, management skills, coordination skills, collaboration, emotional intelligence, judgment and decision-making (taking into consideration both quality and speed of decision-making), client orientation, negotiation skills and cognitive flexibility. According to experts (The World Economic Forum, 2016 https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/01/the-10-skills-you-need-to-thrive-in-the-fourth-industrial-revolution/ ) 35% of key competencies demanded in the labor market will change in the near future.
 
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian school system is focused on retransmission and accumulation of knowledge, in a manner which has not changed in many decades.   
 
The National Report on the status and prospects of education in Ukraine prepared by the National Academy of Pedagogical Sciences of Ukraine for the 25th anniversary of independence indicated the insufficiency of school educational content and its lack of focus on developing the ability to use the acquired knowledge in life and practical applications. 
 
And this is not just a Ukrainian problem.
 
Ken Robinson (2006 TED conference) states that the most common educational systems appeared in the XIX century to meet the needs of the industrial revolution and are based on the principles of mass production, i.e. standardization and humility. Under this method of training individuality, imagination and creativity are suppressed to meet the demands of the XXI century economy. Digital technologies have changed the way people work, play, think, feel and communicate with each other. However, many politicians and experts in highly developed countries are concerned that the large-scale introduction of digital technologies in education and raising standards does not lead to the expected results. Alarming statistics show increases stress and depression (even suicide) among students and teachers, increased youth unemployment leading to lengthy discussions about the need for reform and transformation of educational systems.
 
Public dialogue surrounding the reform strategy for the Ukrainian school system has been ongoing for nearly three years. This has included representatives of all stakeholders - teachers, parents, employers, political parties and governments, independent experts and international organizations.
 
The concept of "New Ukrainian School" was subject to public discussion, approved by the MES board and confirmed by the Ukrainian Government at the meeting on 14 December 2016. In parliament, the second reading the draft law "On Education" is close to finalization. This shows that the "New Ukrainian School" is no longer only a dream. This is a specific action plan, backed by higher wages for teachers beginning in 2017 and the first results of intensive work by the reform team on new standards for primary school.
 
Under current plans, children will start year one of the "New Ukrainian School" in 2018. However, at the initiative of the Prime Minister of Ukraine, Volodymyr Groysman, a more optimistic option is being prepared, because the risks resulting from delays in reforming school education are very high. These include:
  • deterioration in the competitiveness of school education in Ukraine, continued trend towards deterioration of the quality of all types of education;
  • decline in the quality of human capital and consequently a worsening of Ukraine's economic competitiveness;
  • loss of the nation's scientific and technological potential
Therefore, the Prime Minister has stressed that the implementation schedule for reforms should be more intense and the Ministry of Finance concurred, arguing: "If one were to take into consideration costs from negative trends that we are already seeing in society, overall costs would be greater without investment in education."
 
The "New Ukrainian School" has been identified as one of the government's priorities and is focused on making graduates competitive under today's conditions. This means releasing from school fully developed graduates, capable of critical thinking, with a well-rounded personality, a patriotic and active point of view, innovative and able to change the surrounding world while participating in life-long learning.
 
Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine Liliya Hrynevych always emphasizes that we must move from school knowledge to school competencies. This means, that it is necessary to remove excessive and insignificant information from curricula, distinguish essential core knowledge and teach children to really work with this knowledge and to provide an understanding of how this knowledge is applied to solving everyday problems.
Changing learning outcomes and the introduction of new approaches and teaching methods will require more time from students and teachers. Therefore, it is planned that the children will study for 12 years, to acquire all skills and knowledge necessary for the 21st century at an advanced level without endangering their health and well-being.
 
New educational standards will be based on the Recommendations of the European Parliament and of the Council of the European Union "On basic competences for lifelong learning"(18.12.2006), but not limited to them.
 
The following key competencies have been identified for the "New Ukrainian School" (Article 12 of the new basic draft law "On Education"):
  • Communication in the state language (as well as in an additional native language where applicable)
  • Basic competence in natural science and technology
  • Information and digital competence
  • Suitability for life-long learning
  • Communication in foreign languages
  • Mathematical competence
  • Initiative and entrepreneurship
  • Awareness and expression in the cultural sphere
  • Environmental literacy and healthy lifestyle
  • Social and civic competence
 
All these competencies are equally important and interconnected. Common to all is the ability to:
  • read and understand;
  • express opinions verbally and in writing;
  • think critically;
  • logically justify one's position;
  • be proactive;
  • be creative;
  • solve problems, evaluate risks and make decisions;
  • apply emotional intelligence;
  • work together as a team.
 
The competence-based approach requires reforming teaching methods and, therefore, improving the system of teacher education and teacher training. Teacher education is being reoriented towards competency training, pedagogical partnership and an individualized approach. This is a major challenge for the Ministry of Education, considering that as of today, the school system has nearly half a million teachers.

The draft Law "On Education", provides for a diversification of forms of professional development for teachers: courses at institutes for professional development, seminars, webinars, online courses, conferences and self-study (recognition of certificates). Teachers will be entitled to choose the place and method of training.

In essence the "New School" will change the role of the teacher. After all, for today's children, the teacher is no longer the only source of knowledge. Information can also be found in books and online. Modern electronic gadgets compete with the teacher for a student's attention. Increasingly, developers of web-content win this battle for attention, after referring to language which is more interesting and understandable to generation Z. However, these very conditions reinforce a the teacher's essential role in an individual's education. An educational portal with teaching and didactic materials will be developed to assist teachers, including Ukrainian-language encyclopedias, multimedia and interactive textbooks and online resources.
 
It is important to use teaching methods based on cooperation (games, social and investigative projects, experiments, group tasks, etc.). Pupils will engage in joint activities, contributing to their socialization and allowing them to successfully acquire social experience.
 
Many teachers currently complain about the lack of respect from students and the lack of confidence from parents. I want to emphasize that confidence comes from a constant equal dialogue between all participants of the educational process, which is currently almost totally absent from the Ukrainian education system. Partnership-based pedagogy, based on communication, cooperation and collaboration between teachers, students and parents is also in its infancy. Students, parents and teachers are united by common goals and aspirations, becoming voluntary and willing partners and equal participants in the educational process and are jointly responsible for the outcome. Dialogue and multilateral communication between students, teachers and parents will replace authoritarian one-way communication between teachers and students.
 
In addition, it is essential to change approaches to the system of evaluating learning outcomes. Assessment should serve to analyze individual progress and not for ranking students. They should serve as recommendations for action, not a sentence. If we wish to cultivate true innovators, it is important to change the reaction to errors. If Thomas Edison had been afraid of making mistakes, as is the case for most children in school today, how many extremely interesting and useful things would not be available for the enjoyment of humanity? When children identify a mistake and correct it themselves, why should this result in a reduced score? Grades should serve to analyze individual progress and plan personal growth, instead of being used for ranking students. Most everyday tasks do not have the right answer in the back of the textbook. Each person solves their own equation. Therefore, instead being punished for falling to completely correspond to an ideal, children should receive help to discover and develop their skills, talents and capabilities. They should learn to think of different ways to explore and analyze the situation. And most importantly, learn to ask their own questions instead of only providing the right answers.
 
Under the concept of the New Ukrainian School, the learning process will consider the age characteristics of children's physical, mental and intellectual development. For this purpose, a two-cycle organization of the educational process will be put in place for primary and basic secondary education.
 
Children will learn to cope with stress and tension. Educational problems will be resolved in an atmosphere of psychological comfort and support. The "New School" will reveal the potential of each child, helping them not only know and understand themselves, but choose a profession. Testing after 9th grade will help children decide what to do: whether to acquire academic education in high school and prepare for admission to university or learn a trade in vocational school and enter the labor market at the end of their secondary education.
 
Each pupil will receive fair and equitable treatment, ruling out any discrimination. The efforts and success of all pupils will be recognized. Teachers will be taught how to nurture dignity, optimism, strength of character and honesty in pupils and themselves.
 
Pupils will have the freedom to choose subjects and their level of difficulty. They will be able to study in inter-age subject or interdisciplinary groups.
Significant changes will apply not only the structure of schools, but to the overall educational environment. Substantive changes will be made to equipment and facilities, curricula and learning tools.
 
Planning and designing the educational environment of schools will focus on children's development and their motivation to learn. Organizing the new educational environment requires extensive use of new IT technologies, new media learning tools and upgrades to laboratory facilities.
In addition, the development of scientific skills and inventiveness will be supported by programs for children's access to science museums, observatories, open training courses and other resources.
 
The educational environment of the "New School" should not be limited to the school building. Infrastructure will be developed to provide various forms of training to students, teachers, parents and school administrators.
 
The "New School" will encourage inclusive education. Special conditions will be created to allow students with special needs to learn together with peers. Individual development programs will be introduced for these children, including corrective and rehabilitation measures, psychological support and educational tools necessary for the learning process.
 
Details of the concept can be found here:
http://mon.gov.ua/%D0%9D%D0%BE%D0%B2%D0%B8%D0%BD%D0%B8%202016/12/05/konczepcziya .pdf .
 
The draft law "On School Education" and other rules and regulations have been developed based on this concept.
We invite you to participate in further social and public dialogue on areas that enjoyed the most impact and interest during the discussion the concept:

1. Pedagogical partnership. How can effective cooperation of teachers, parents and children based on mutual trust and respect be implemented in practice? How to achieve a balance of rights, obligations and responsibilities in the triangle of child-teacher-parents?
 
2. Willingness for innovation. This concerns not only technological innovation. What changes are needed to the content and forms of education? Are teachers, parents and administrators ready for innovation? How can we prepare agents of change? Where will pilot locations for innovation be situated?
 
3. New standards and learning outcomes. What should be considered as an acceptable result? What results are required by the state, employers and parents? How to measure the success of a competency-based approach?
 
4. Autonomy of schools and teachers. How to allocate resources and powers between levels of government? How to balance the extensive rights granted to educational professionals as part of the reform with accountability for results?
 
5. Financing education. What will be paid for and who should pay? How to ensure not only equality but also equity in the distribution of funding?

 
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A new reader of contemporary children's literature has been printed at the expense of budget funds for the first time in Ukraine's 25 years of independence and will be delivered to all school libraries soon.
The reader includes two volumes - one for pupils in years 1-2 grades and another for years 3-4. In addition, the reader is made available electronically for use in open access on the website of the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine.
 
The collection includes works by contemporary authors including: Sashko Dermanskyy, Ivan Andrusyak, Halyna Malyk, Lesya Voronyna, Kateryna Babkina, Halyna Tkachuk, Hryhoriy Falkovych, Oksana Lushchevska, Vasyl Holoborodko, Tetyana Stus, Taras and Marianna Prokhasko and many others including 40 authors in total.    

The total circulation of both volumes of the reader amounts to 640 thousand copies, which were printed at the expense of the state budget through cost savings resulting from the transparent procurement of 8th grade textbooks.

The delivery of the books to the various regions is underway, meaning that from the beginning of the new year they will already have reached all school libraries.

News section on the MES website
Access the reader in its electronic version
Download the reader for years 1-2
Download the reader for years 3-4

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If only some kind of magic power could make all the "paper-work" in Ukrainian schools disappear, freeing-up time for educators spend with children and for their own professional development! This is shown in the results of the online sociological survey "Children and paper-work: How to achieve balance in schools," which the NGO "EdCamp Ukraine" conducted together with the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine between September and October 2016 in an anonymous and free of charge manner.
6,399 teachers and 2,282 school administrators, representing all regions of Ukraine in both urban and rural areas, schools of all possible types and forms of ownership, analyzed the existing documentation workflow of their schools and real ways of reducing this.

As it turned out, educators are simply "up to their necks" in paperwork! For example, the average number of bureaucratic processes amounts to 72, out of which nearly half - 34 - are considered redundant by respondents.   

In addition to the analysis of "paper-work" (first and foremost with regard for their actual necessity) both groups of respondents received the possibility to design alternative documents prepared by them and submitted to controlling bodies. The research team was greatly surprised, not so much by the number of these documents (overall educators added several hundred items to our humble list of "paperwork"), but the outright strangeness of at least some of the administrative tasks such as: reports on whether parents paid the land tax, report about excavation / roadworks near the educational institution, a journal of log-on an log-off times for computers (hourly, signed), report on removal of icicles from roofs (with photographic images), journal indicating absence from the workplace, alarm log, reports on the state of education of every pupil in each class etc.

Not surprisingly, with such an amount of "paperwork" (sometimes even completed by hand), teachers feel overwhelmed. Self-analysis shows that teachers work an average of 66 hours per week (out of which documentation takes 7) and administrators of educational institutions - 76 (including 12 hours spent on paperwork)! On the other hand, administrators consider that the preparation of documents should take no more than 3.5 hours a week, and for teachers - even less - only 2 hours.

After weighing all the "pros" and "cons", almost half of the "paper-work" from the "teaching world" and a quarter from the daily work of school administrations, were recommended for removal without any further modification. Most of all, this concerns the "Overview of children of school age in the area served by the educational institution" (supported by 70% of teachers) and "Plans and reports on conducting educational and subject-based measures" (supported by 62% of administrative personnel). An additional alternative to excessive "paper-work", and 50,000 felled trees (that is how much is used annually to supply all schools in the country with the necessary amount of paper), is the proposed transition to an electronic exchange of documents.

Interestingly, the most troublesome "paper-work" for the educational community is not directly related to much talked about "bureaucracy" but relates to very real and, moreover, strange demands of local education departments and relevant regional departments. Staff should expect their own "surprises" with regards to reforms by intervention from the Ministry of education and Science of Ukraine.

We will not allow "strange requirements". The real work of de-bureaucratization of the current Ukrainian school system has already begun!
 
Project Page: http://mon.edcamp.org.ua
Interim Report: http://bit.ly/childrenandpapers

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Under the agreement between the governments of China and Ukraine, Ukrainian schools will receive more than 23 000 computers from the Peoples Republic of China. The equipment has already arrived in Ukraine and the Ministry of Education began the transfer of computers to the regions starting on 19 December.
The distribution of PCs to regions of Ukraine is being carried out in proportion to the number of students in each region on the basis of MES order no. 916 from 08/02/2016. .In a second stage, the regions themselves will distribute equipment to meet the needs of schools on the basis of decisions by regional administrations and the Kyiv City State Administration.

In addition, to ensure that these computers truly serve as working tools and assistants in the learning process, licensed software - the productivity suite Microsoft Office Professional and antivirus software - has been installed on them using budget funds. The computers also contain a built-in mechanism allowing the control of their use in education and science field.   

All these works were carried out by a company having won the tender conducted through the "Transparent" open public procurement system.

Licensed software has been provided by "Microsoft Ukraine", as part of the Memorandum on the program "Partners in Learning" signed by MES Ukraine and the initiative "Shaping the Future" at the special 90% discount rate provided for educational establishments.

News section on the MES website
News section on the MES website

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GoCamp is a new format of summer camps for the intensive study of foreign languages, organized in Ukrainian schools for students and teachers including volunteers from around the world. GoCamp camps were first organized in Ukraine in the summer of 2016, and became an extremely successful initiative that will continue in 2017.
In the summer of 2016, GoCamp education was in English, which is one of the most common languages of international communication.
 
Next year, thanks to the cooperation initiatives of GoGlobal and MES of Ukraine with the Embassies of Germany, France and Spain, camps of the GoCamp project will increase the number of languages available for learning. Now Ukrainian students will also be able to learn German, French and Spanish.      

All four languages - English, French, German and Spanish - are the most popular foreign languages in the world and are the ones most often studied as a second foreign language, according to the website Duolingo.
 
Currently GoCamp is recruiting volunteers to take part in the summer camp projects.825 foreign nationals from 123 countries have expressed their interest to volunteer.

Ukrainian schools wishing to participate in the project and on which will serve as organisers of GoCamp summer camps are also currently being selected.

Every Ukrainian school can apply to participate in the GoCamp project. Learn more and submit an application on behalf of a school on the site http://gocamps.com.ua/ua/school .

Learn more under the link - https://goo.gl/UEgaRi    
 
For further information, please contact Tetyana Kirilenko - 050 97 93 596.
News section on the MES website

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What categories of citizens are eligible for targeted support guaranteed by the approved document?
 
Which types of public-targeted support are available?
On 23 November 2016, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine approved the procedure and conditions for providing targeted state support to 5 categories of citizens seeking to obtain vocational and higher education, which will be provided to them during their education or training. This regulates and ensures receiving support for study in higher education institutions or vocational training schools for the following categories of citizens including combat veterans, including volunteers, children of combat veterans, children of deceased ATO veterans and children from among internally displaced persons.    

A complete list of citizens who can benefit from state-targeted support as indicated in the approved document includes:
 
  1. Persons recognized war veterans under Article 6, Paragraph 19, of the Law of Ukraine "On the status of war veterans, guarantees of their social protection";
  2. Children of persons of recognized as combat veterans under Article 6, Paragraph 19, of the Law of Ukraine "On the status of war veterans, guarantees of their social protection";
  3. Children attributed to persons mentioned in Article 10, Section 1, Points 4, 8 and 14 of the Law of Ukraine "On the status of war veterans, guarantees of their social protection";
  4. Children, one of whose parents died (declared missing or dead) because of illness originating from their participation in anti-terrorist operations;
  5. Children registered as internally displaced persons.

The resolution provides for varying types of state targeted support for each affected category of citizens. In general, this will take the form of full or partial tuition at the expense of the general fund of the state or local budgets, long-term concessional loans for education, social scholarships, free provision of textbooks, free accommodation in dormitories, free access to the Internet and databases in state and municipal educational institutions.
 
More access to information about state support for obtaining vocational and higher education available to each of the respective categories of citizens, as well as a list of documents that provide an entitlement to such assistance can be found under the following link.
 
News section on the MES website
Lawyer's explanation in the form of questions and answers
The Law of Ukraine "On the status of war veterans, guarantees of their social protection"

 
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An independent international audit into Ukraine's research and innovation system has been carried out using the tools of the "Horizon 2020" program was carried out as part of the government's priority action plan for the year 2016, from May to December 2016. The purpose of the audit was to provide an impartial expert assessment of the real situation in the Ukrainian scientific sphere, and expert recommendations for public policy in the research field.
On 19 December 2016, the Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine Liliya Hrynevych presented a public report on International Auditing and outlined the key messages and recommendations of international experts. The key messages state that:

1) Ukraine's STI system needs ambitious reforms to boost its efficiency and impact. These should be coupled with strong governmental commitment to invest more.
2) The country needs to "innovate its path to growth" with a cross-governmental STI Strategy that is backed by adequate tools.    

3) Science in Ukraine should benefit society and the economy.
4) Urgent decisions are needed to prioritize Ukraine's STI actions based on the principles of scientific excellence and on opportunities for innovation-driven economic growth in Ukraine. Their elaboration should be based on international best practices.
5) STI institutions, funding and procedures need a strong institutional revamp.
6) Ukraine should push for the internationalization and opening-up of its STI system.
7) The government and the STI community must take ownership and communicate on the STI reforms undertaken and on their positive results for the country.

International experts also gave 30 specific recommendations for support and improvement of research and innovation Ukraine. Recommendations concerned the principles of the organization of the National Council for the Development of Science and Technology, National Research Foundation, the National Academy of Sciences and more. Among the specific recommendations were a call for strengthening international cooperation and integration of Ukrainian research sphere with the worldwide scientific community, strengthening the research role of universities, introducing the practice of independent evaluation and audit of research institutions, popularizing research conducted by the National Academy of Sciences helping to resolve specific problems of society, for example treating Alzheimer's disease or combating global warming.

Each of the recommendations come with added explanations or clarification of certain terms and concepts and examples of "success stories", presenting the experience of other countries where similar transformations have already taken place.

News section on the MES website
Download original text of the Peer Review of the Ukrainian Research and Innovation System (language of the document - English)

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In June 2016, at the initiative of the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine, the Institute of Education Analysis and the Ukrainian Center for Educational Quality Assessment conducted monitoring research on the impact of socio-economic environment on the learning outcomes of pupils in secondary schools. The study was intended to determine to which extent the conditions in which pupils live and study are linked to their success in school.
Data collection for the study was carried out by a survey of secondary school graduates in the year 2016, through information pages filled out by participants in external independent testing. The questionnaire included five groups of questions linked by logical connections and transitions. 50,919 year 2016 school graduates (from general schools, lyceums, grammar schools, vocational colleges, vocational schools, specialized schools and boarding schools) participated in the survey.

The report submitted information in convenient charts and explanatory text. Of the major findings are two are the most significant:     

 
  • Education level and parents’ employment: The survey confirmed a well-known sociological and economic fact, that children's educational results are linked to parents' level of education. The higher parents' level of education, the better their children perform in EIT. Highest results for EIT-2016 were obtained by high-school graduates whose father (or other male guardian) works in IT, education, journalism and advertising or whose mother (or other female guardian) works in education, journalism and advertising.
  • The habit of reading, backed by a home library (the presence of books other than textbooks in the home): Reading additional literature has a positive impact on academic excellence. School graduates who have their own books at home (other than textbooks) achieve better results. Average score EIT scores for such respondents in 2016 were up to 10 points higher than for those who do not have their own books at home.
For the full text of the report, prepared by the Institute of Educational Analysis with the assistance of analysts at Ukrainian Center for Educational Quality Assessment and direct participation of CEDOS Analytical Center and Institute of Education of the National Academy of Pedagogical Sciences of Ukraine, can be found by following this link.

News section of the UCEQA website

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