The expert on education of the “U-LEAD with Europe” program Serhiy Diatlenko provided the communities with an overview of the basic rules of the Law of Ukraine "On complete general secondary education".
On March 18, the new Law of Ukraine "On Complete General Secondary Education" No. 463-IX from January 16, 2020 (hereinafter - the Law) came into force. The law was being developed for several years by joint efforts of the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine under the supervision of two ministers, deputies of two convocations of the Verkhovna Rada, civil society and expert environment.
The law defines legal, organizational and economic provisions of the functioning and development of the general secondary education system. It became a logical continuation of the legislative regulation of the education reform, initiated by the Law of Ukraine "On Education".
The new law ensures the norms that will determine in the coming years a coordinate system for the functioning of school education in communities. We offer a brief introduction to the most important of them. You can read the full Law of Ukraine "On Complete Secondary Education" here.
This publication reflects the views of its authors and may not reflect the official position of the “U-LEAD with Europe” Program for Ukraine on local empowerment, accountability and development.
Review of the Law "On Complete General Secondary Education"
Regarding the education levels and the timeframe for its completion
Complete general secondary education is obtained at the following levels:
Regarding general secondary education institutions
Types of educational institutions that provide complete general secondary education:
A general secondary education institution, that is providing educational activities at several levels of general secondary education, has the type of higher education institution, where the educational activity is conducted.
To ensure the receipt of complete general secondary education can be provided also by the special institutions of general secondary education, educational institutions on vocational (vocational-technical) training, specialized pre-higher education, higher education, specialized education institutions (art lyceum, sports lyceum, military lyceum, scientific lyceum) and other educational institutions, that are licensed to conduct educational activities in the field of general secondary education.
On the request of the educational institution, inclusive-resource centers, inter-school resource centers and after school educational institutions may be involved to the implementation of the educational program.
The following internal structural units may operate within general secondary education institutions:
A general secondary education institution may include a branch (branches).
The decision on the formation, reorganization, liquidation or conversion (change of type) of a general secondary education institution is taken by its founder (founders).
The development of a network of communal elementary schools, gymnasiums is provided by rayon, city, village, town councils. Accordingly, they make decisions about their formation.
The law stipulates that the development of a network of communal lyceums is planned and provided by the Verkhovna Rada of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, oblast and city councils (cities with a population of more than 50 thousand), and they make decisions on their formation. Starting from September 1, 2024, for the commencement and implementation of educational activities of the communal lyceum from this time on, it should have at least four classes with 10-graders. From this time on, the elementary school will be able to function as a separate legal entity or as a structural unit of the gymnasium. The gymnasium and lyceum will function as separate legal entities. As an exception, upon the decision of the founder, the lyceum may also provide basic secondary education.
Reorganization and liquidation of general secondary education institutions in rural areas is allowed only after public discussion of the draft of the relevant decision of the founder. There is no question about the consent, which is expressed in any way.
Regarding the founder of general secondary education institutions
The founder of a general secondary education institution (local council) or an authorized body (usually an educational management body) (an official):
The founder of a general secondary education institution is obliged to ensure:
On financing of general secondary education system
Funding for the completion of general secondary education is provided by the state, local budgets and other sources not prohibited by law.
Funding from the state budget is performed by providing educational subventions and other transfers from the state budget to local budgets. Educational subvention is directed to the salaries of teaching staff with additional payments. Funds for other transfers may be used for the training of pedagogical staff, supply of school children and pedagogical staff with textbooks (manuals), training equipment, teaching aids and other purposes specified by law.
Other sources of funding may be:
Obtaining by the general secondary education institution its own income is not a reason to reduce its budget funding.
Funds received by an institution must be used in accordance with its founding documents and cannot be deducted towards the state or local budget revenues.
Financial autonomy of general secondary education institutions in terms of the use of budgetary funds allows independent spending within the limits of the approved amounts, in particular:
Regarding the name of general secondary education institutions
The full name of the general secondary education institution includes information about its type, territorial identity (the name of the administrative-territorial unit by location of the institution). For example: Boguslav Lyceum, Konotop Gymnasium. The full name of the institution may additionally include information regarding its own name, institution number or the name of the founder, as well as the name (alias) of the institution granted to it in accordance with the law requirements. For example: Kydanov Gymnasium of Boguslav City Council, Bilotserkivsky Lyceum 5 named after Vasyl Stus of Bilotserkiv City Council.
Regarding the educational programs
Each institution of general secondary education should develop educational programs, the main component of which is the curriculum with the definition of educational subjects and the distribution of study time. All educational programs, that are designed on the basis of the standard ones, do not need to be approved. However, the school can also develop its own version of the program. The main thing is to ensure that all students can achieve learning results, that are not lower than those set by the state standards. This program still must be approved by the State Agency of Education Quality Control . However, if the school successfully passed the institutional audit and decided to work by its own program, it does not need to be approved.
Regarding the language of instruction
Everyone who completes general secondary education at the educational institution studies the official language (Ukrainian).
Each student is guaranteed the right to receive a comprehensive general secondary education in the state language at the state, communal and corporate educational institutions. Individuals, who belong to indigenous people or national minorities of Ukraine are guaranteed and provided the right to learn their own language at school or through national cultural societies. At the same time, representatives of indigenous people (Crimean Tatars) can receive education in the language of the indigenous people along with the state language. Under these conditions, representatives of national minorities can only receive primary education. It is even more complicated: for individuals, who represent national minorities of Ukraine and whose language is the official language of the European Union (Hungarian, Romanian, etc.), the percentage of the annual amount of study time taught in the state language should increase when receiving basic secondary education by at least 20% in the 5th grade, by at least 49% in the 9th grade, and at least by 60% in the upper specialized school (grades 10-12); for individuals, who belong to other national minorities of Ukraine (Russian, etc.), the percentage of the annual amount of study time taught in the state language should be at least 80% in grades 5-12.
It should be noted, that a failure of the institution to comply with the requirements of the Law of Ukraine "On complete general secondary education" regarding the language of the educational process has grounds to terminate the contract with the head.
Regarding the forms of general secondary education
Complete general secondary education can be obtained not only full-time but also using the following forms: remote, network, external, family (home), form of pedagogical patronage, as well as full-time (evening), part-time (at the levels of basic and specialized education). However, this will only be possible after the Ministry of Science and Education will develop and approve the appropriate provision (s) for these forms.
Regarding the enrollment of children to general secondary education institutions
According to paragraph 2, article 9, enrollment to school of children, who live on the territory of service of the communal educational institution, or are siblings of children who are studying in this educational institution, or are children of employees of this educational institution for obtaining primary ( 1-4 grades) and basic secondary education (5-9 grades) is provided without competition, meaning that it is compulsory! (except for specialized and private education institutions. According to paragraph 3, article 8, the territory of service is not assigned to public, private and corporate educational institutions.
Enrollment of children to public, communal educational institutions to receive basic secondary education may be conducted on a competitive basis, provided that this does not violate the right of students who have obtained primary education in this educational institution, to continue their education and provided that the number of applications for enrollment exceeds the total number of available seats in the corresponding classes.
The enrollment of children to the specialized secondary education (grade 10) will take place from 2027 on a competitive basis.
Regarding the territorial accessibility
Each child has the right to receive elementary and basic secondary education in the most accessible and closest place of residence in regards to the educational institution or its structural unit (branch). The exercise of this right should be ensured by the state authorities and local self-government bodies through: formation and maintenance of a network of educational institutions, including the supportive ones, their structural subdivisions (branches) and establishing their territories of service; transportation of students and pedagogical staff to the educational institution and back; formation and maintenance of boarding schools (!); introduction of various forms of complete general secondary education.
It should be considered, that local self-government bodies should provide primary and basic education to individuals, who are undergoing a medical treatment at a healthcare facility.
Regarding the transportation of students and teachers
Transportation to and from the place of study of the students and teaching staff is provided by the local government for the expense of local budgets by school buses. Transportation by other means of transportation (including pre-determined stops) may be carried out provided that the number of students and teaching staff, who require such transportation is not more than 8 people.
However, the law does not specify the meaning of the term "school bus" and does not foresee the development of respective regulation on it. Obviously, until that happens, leased vehicles that meet the requirements for transportation of students with the inscription "School Bus" can also be used for transportation to the place of study.
Regarding the formation of classes
The minimum number of students in the class on all three levels is 5 students. The maximum number remains at 30 students. Starting from September 1, 2024, no more than 24 students will be admitted to the first grade. This norm will only apply to primary schools. If the number of children does not allow the formation of a class, students may continue their studies in this educational institution using another form of study (and not necessarily a form of pedagogical patronage) or in another educational institution within the territorial accessibility. However, the decrease in the number of students in a class during the school year does not justify the suspension of this class until the end of the school year.
The division of the class into groups has not changed, as before, everything will depend on the order approved by the Ministry of Education and Science in Ukraine. (In order to ensure the proper quality of study of certain subjects (integrated courses), a class of a state, municipal educational institution may be divided into no more than three groups with a number of students not less than eight persons. The order of the class division into groups during the study of certain subjects (integrated courses), a class of a state, municipal educational institution is established by the central body of executive power in the field of education and science under the paragraph 6, article 12 of the law).
At the elementary school, you can form classes with 5-12 students. Previously, such classes could only be formed at branch institutions.
A nice bonus of the law is the ability to form interclass groups of students from different classes of the same (parallel) or different years of study to learn subjects, courses, integrated courses.
Classes, where the language of instruction is on the language of indigenous or national minority groups, are formed according to the same requirements as ordinary ones, but a formation of an inclusive class is compulsory if the child’s parents set a certain request due to their child’s special educational needs.
Regarding the study periods
The educational process in schools begins on the Knowledge Day - September 1 and lasts at least 175 school days and ends no later than July 1 of the following year. In order to avoid misunderstandings that were encountered earlier, the law stipulates that if September 1 falls on a day off, the school year begins on the first working day thereafter. The duration of holidays during the school year may not be less than 30 calendar days. How many there will be: 2 or 3 - is set by the pedagogical council in accordance with the educational program. It also determines the structure and duration of the school year, the school week, the school day, classes, rest between them, forms of organization of the educational process.
Continuous learning activities of students (duration of the lesson) may not exceed 35 minutes (for 1st year of study), 40 minutes (for 2nd-4th year of study), 45 minutes (for 5th-12th year of study).
Regarding the individual educational trajectory
The law provides for the possibility of forming an individual educational trajectory for the student. There are a number of requirements and peculiarities, but the ability of an educational institution to provide this trajectory is determined by the institution itself.
At the same time, students are entitled to recognition by their educational institution of the results of their education obtained at other education institutions or through non-formal and / or informal education.
Regarding the documents of education
On the basis of the results of the annual assessment and the state final assessment (this year it was canceled for the graduates of elementary and elementary schools) the students receive certificates: about primary education (before we did not have this norm); about basic secondary education; about complete general secondary education (formerly called the certificate). Starting from 2021, all certificates or their forms will be produced by educational institutions or their founders, with the corresponding registration number assigned to them by the Unified State Electronic Database on Education.
Regarding the head of the general secondary education institution
The head of a general secondary education institution may be a person who is a citizen of Ukraine, is fluent in the state language, has a university degree, at least a master's degree, experience in pedagogical and / or scientific-pedagogical work of at least three years (this requirement does not apply to heads of private and corporate schools, paragraph 1, article 38), organizational skills, physically and mentally healthy, which does not interfere with the performance of professional duties, selected through a competitive selection and recognized as the winner of the competition in accordance with this Law. The law does not specify the conditions of having education in teaching.
The head of a general secondary education institution has a fairly wide range of rights and responsibilities. In particular:
The full list is available in the complete text of the law.
The head of the general secondary education institution is obliged to undergo at least 90 academic hours of management training in the first year after the appointment to the post (except for the head of private schools, paragraph 4, article 38).
The head of the general secondary education institution is selected for the position based on the results of the competition. The decision on holding the competition is made by the founder or his authorized body (official):
To conduct the competition, the founder forms and approves the competition commission of 6 to 15 persons, whose members include on a parity basis:
Representatives of public bodies of the educational institution may participate in the work of the competition committee with the right of advisory vote.
They enter into a six-year fixed-term contract with the winner of the competition. After the expiry of the term, the employment relationship is terminated and cannot be extended indefinitely. For the first time, a person who is appointed to the post of the head of a general secondary education institution shall have a two-year employment contract. After the expiry of such fixed-term employment contract and subject to its proper implementation, the parties have the right to extend the validity of the corresponding fixed-term employment contract for another four years without holding a competition.
A person may not be the head of the same general secondary education institution for more than two consecutive terms (except those located in settlements with one general secondary education institution). The first six-year term shall include the two-year term in the office of the head of the general secondary education institution appointed for the first time.
The head of the general secondary education institution shall be dismissed due to the expiry of the employment contract or in advance according to the requirements of the law and the conditions of the concluded employment contract.
The grounds for early dismissal of the head, which should be stipulated in the employment contract, are:
The entry into force of this Law became the basis for termination of an indefinite employment contract with the heads of general secondary education institutions. Reference is made to paragraph 9 , part one of the article 36 of the Labor Code of Ukraine. In this regard, until 1 July 2020, the founder or the body authorized by him or her shall be obliged to terminate indefinite employment contracts with the heads of such institutions and sign with them (upon their consent) employment contracts for a period of six years (with executives receiving a pension based on their age – for one year) without a competition. After the expiration of the employment contract, such persons have the right to be elected to the post of the head of the same educational institution for another term.
Regarding the teaching staff
Teachers are to have pedagogical education, higher education and / or vocational qualifications, fluent in the state language, to be morally, physically and mentally healthy, which enable them to perform their professional duties. From now on, pedagogical education is not a prerequisite for admission to the post of pedagogical employee.
Teachers of educational institutions are hired under employment contracts. Teachers who have reached retirement age and who are paid a retirement pension are working on the basis of fixed-term employment contracts of one to three years.
Teachers who have no pedagogical experience must complete a pedagogical internship during the first year of work. A pedagogical internship involves various forms of professional development (attending classes, reviewing relevant literature, etc.), support with pedagogical activity by an experienced pedagogical worker (teacher-mentor), whose role is played by a pedagogical worker with the pedagogical experience not less than 5 years . For which he receives a surcharge of 20% of his salary (wage rates).
The content of the activity and duties of the pedagogical employee is determined by the employment contract and the job description, which is approved by the head of the educational institution.
The teacher's work load has not changed and is 18 teaching hours per week. The pedagogical load of the general secondary education teacher is 30 hours, the special secondary education institution teacher and the teacher's assistant in the general secondary education institution - 25 hours a week. In addition, other types of pedagogical activities are paid in relation to the salary rate:
- classroom management in grades 1-11 (12) - 20-25 percent;
- verification of students' educational work - 10-20 percent;
- for work in inclusive classes (groups) - 20 percent;
- service of computer equipment - 10-15 percent;
- carrying out extracurricular work with students - 10-40 percent;
Other pedagogical activities may also be subject to surcharges by law, the founder and / or educational institution.
For honors, scholars, sports titles, scientific degrees, surcharges of 15-30 percent are set.
The distribution of pedagogical workload in an educational institution is approved by its supervisor, and redistribution during the academic year is allowed in case of changing the number of hours in individual subjects (integrated courses) or with the written consent of the pedagogical employee. Written consent is also required to establish a pedagogical workload of less than the norm.
The entry into force of this Law was the basis for termination of an indefinite employment contract with pedagogical workers who are paid a retirement pension. Reference is made to paragraph 9 of part one of the article 36 of the Labor Code of Ukraine. In connection with this, the heads of general secondary education institutions should terminate indefinite-term employment contracts with pedagogical workers who are paid a retirement pension by July 1, 2020, and conclude one-year employment contracts with them. Upon termination of the employment contract, such teaching staff may enter into fixed-term employment contracts for a term of 1 to 3 years.
Regarding the pedagogical council
The Pedagogical Council is the main permanent collegial governing body of the general secondary educational institution. The Pedagogical Council is formed in the presence of at least three pedagogical staff members. All pedagogical staff are required to attend the pedagogical council meetings. The head of the pedagogical council is the head of the institution of general secondary education.
The meeting of the pedagogical council is competent if it is attended by at least two thirds of its composition. Decisions on all issues are taken by a majority vote of its composition. The decisions of the pedagogical council, taken within its powers, are enforced by orders of the head of the educational institution and are binding on all participants of the educational process in the educational institution.
Regarding academic integrity in the field of general secondary education
The principal and other teaching staff members of the educational institution ensure that the principles of academic integrity are respected in accordance with their competence. Academic integrity violations include academic plagiarism, fabrication, falsification, write-offs, fraud, bribery, bias, and such forms of deception as:
Teachers who have been found to be in violation of academic integrity:
The following types of academic responsibility may be applied to a student for violation of academic integrity:
Only one type of academic responsibility can be applied to one violation.
The decision to establish the fact of violation of academic integrity by a pedagogical employee and to determine the type of academic responsibility is made by a pedagogical council with the participation of the employee and / or his legal representative.
The decision on the academic responsibility of students is taken by a pedagogical employee who has found a violation of academic integrity, or the pedagogical council of the educational institution in accordance with the provisions on the internal system of quality assurance of education.
Regarding the professional development of teaching staff
Every teacher is obliged to improve their skills every year. Each pedagogical worker is guaranteed the right to upgrade his / her qualification in a communal postgraduate educational institution located in the territory of the respective (place of residence) area, which does not restrict his / her right to choose another educational entity for further training.
The total number of academic hours required to upgrade a teacher's qualification over a five-year period, paid for at the expense of state and local budgets, may not be less than 150 hours.
Regarding the certification of teaching staff
According to the results of the attestation, the pedagogical employee's suitability for the position is determined, the qualification category is assigned or confirmed and the pedagogical title can be assigned.
The certification is aimed at identifying and encouraging teaching staff with a high level of pedagogical skills who have proficient teaching methods and new educational technologies and promote their dissemination.
Certification is granted to pedagogical staff who have worked for at least two years in educational institutions and have a teaching load. This right is granted free of charge once every three years. A pedagogical employee who has not received the certificate is entitled to re-certification no earlier than in one year.
Teachers who have received the certificate receive a monthly surcharge of 20 percent of their salary within the term of the certificate (3 years).
Successful certification is counted as passing the certification, and is also the basis for the awarding of the appropriate qualification category and / or pedagogical title.
Regarding the institutional audit
Institutional audit is a comprehensive external review and evaluation of the educational and management processes of a general secondary education institution, which should ensure its effective operation and sustainable development.
Institutional audit is conducted to assess the quality of the educational activity of the educational institution and to determine the recommendations to the founder and general secondary education institution.
The planned institutional audit is conducted by the central executive body for quality assurance of education and its territorial bodies not more than once every 10 years.
Unscheduled institutional audits may be conducted at the initiative of the founder, supervisor, pedagogical board, general meeting (conference) of the collective or board of trustees of a general secondary education institution and a general secondary education institution which has a low quality of educational activity.
Based on the results of the institutional audit, recommendations are made to the founder and educational institution to improve the activities of the educational institution, as well as to bring the educational and management processes in line with the requirements of the legislation, including the license conditions.
In the event that the educational activity of the educational institution is found to be inappropriate with the requirements of the legislation, including the licensing conditions, the body that conducted the institutional audit shall determine the term of elimination of violations in the work of the educational institution, which may not exceed one year. Incentives (bonuses, other incentive payments, awards, etc.) do not apply to the elimination of violations in the work of an educational institution.
At the end of the specified period, the results of the correction of the respective violations are checked. In case of negative results of such verification, the founder of the educational institution may be advised to change the head of the educational institution, reorganize (merge, join, divide, transform) or liquidate the educational institution.
Regarding the board of trustees
The Board of Trustees may be formed by decision of the founder or a body authorized by him for one or more general secondary education institutions for a term determined by the founder. The Board of Trustees assists in the fulfillment of perspective tasks of development of the institution (institutions), attraction of financial resources for ensuring its (their) activity and exercising control over their use, effective interaction of the institution (institutions) with state authorities and local self-government bodies, public, public associations, legal entities and individuals.
The Board of Trustees has the right to apply to the central executive body for quality assurance of education to carry out an unscheduled institutional audit of an educational institution.
The composition of the board of trustees is formed taking into account the proposals of the governing bodies of the educational institution, public self-government bodies of the educational institution, deputies of the respective local council. The board of trustees cannot include students and staff of the educational institution for which it is formed.
The founders may not delegate to the board of trustees their own powers as defined by the Laws of Ukraine "On Education" and "On General Secondary Education".
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