A Glimpse Into the Education System in Ukraine

Taras Shevchenko overlooking the university
A statue of Taras Shevchenko overlooking the university

Working with university students in Ukraine, I find myself keenly interested in what is happening in the realm of education for the sake of our students. After almost two years here I am still constantly baffled by how the education system works in this country.

Realities such as Saturday classes and paying bribes to pass are still completely foreign to my American background.

A few days ago I was having dinner with one of my roommates and she asked if I liked school. I received a look of disbelief when I told her how much I loved school as a kid, but it didn’t take me long to understand why.

As we talked about studies she told me how basically they just read and were lectured, expected to memorize loads of information, and it was almost all theory and no practical. No wonder students hate school and it seems university isn’t any better.

The Kyiv Post released several articles this week on education in Ukraine and I wanted to share with you. If you have the opportunity to read these, I believe it will help you understand a little better how to pray for our students.

The first article is Ukraine leads way in student cheating. It shows the contrast of American schools and Ukrainian ones on the subject of cheating from the perspective of one girl who did a foreign exchange program. In Ukraine she attended Shevchenko University and had this to say:

“Cheating was so advanced at Shevchenko University that it amounted to organized crime.”
Quote from Maryna Irkliyenko

Shevchenko University is where I lead English Club every week and is considered to be one of the most prestigious universities in Ukraine.

The second article, Poor University Choices Lead to Career Woes in Ukraine, has many more statistics and percentages and harder to get through if you tend to zone out with lots of numbers like I do, but it still caught my eye with the following:

“At present, many young Ukrainians go to universities to get any diploma, basing their choice not on personal skills or prospects, but rather availability at popular institutions.”

I’ve talked to many students the past couple of years that really do not care for the subject they are studying. It just happens to be the course of study that they were accepted into and changing your course of study is much more complicated than just walking into an office and signing some forms so they simply muddle through.

The task of being in university has challenges no matter where you are on the planet, but if you have the opportunity to read through these articles I believe it will give you a glimpse into what the students I work with are dealing with on a daily basis.

Monday was the beginning of the 2012-2013 university year for our students. Please be in prayer for them as they face the pressures of university and pray for us as we speak into their lives.

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