Since I will be teaching English in Ukraine, one of the most important things will be to learn about the Ukrainian education system before I’m dumped into it. Of course I’ll learn about it during Pre-Service Training, but starting now won’t hurt!
Good news: the literacy rate in Ukraine is almost 100%! Incredible. And, Ukraine produces the fourth largest number of academic graduates in all of Europe (see diagram).
Much like the U.S., there are four levels of schooling in Ukraine: primary, secondary, higher & postgraduate. Schools get half their funding from the city budget & half from the national government budget. Eleven years of school (shkola, or школа), beginning at age 6, are mandatory in Ukraine. Students pass through “younger” (grades 1-4), “middle” (grades 5-9), and “senior” (grades 10-11) schools. In grade 11 students take Independent Government Tests (IGTs) for entrance into university. It looks like students begin studying a foreign language in 5th grade, so maybe my secondary EFL students will already have a decent grasp on English. Regardless, Ukrainians clearly value education. Secondary schools use a 12-point grading scale, which looks like it roughly corresponds to our letter-grading:
12 = A+
11 = A
10 = A-
9 = B+
8 = B
7 = B-
6 = C+
5 = C
4 = C-
3 = D+
2 = D
1 = D- (Fail)
Now, on a totally different note, some information on health in Ukraine. Though I’ll be primarily an English teacher, I may be — hopefully! — running workshops on health and wellness. As of a few years ago, Ukraine was in a demographic decline: high death rate (16.3/1,000) + low birth rate (11/1,000) = population decline. Apparently a lot of working-age males are dying from alcohol poisoning and smoking. Also, Ukraine has one of the highest rates of increasing HIV/AIDS cases in Eastern Europe. Education, awareness, and condoms, people!
Stay tuned for more cultural updates…
(Information courtesy of Wikipedia.)