The secondary school education is compulsory in Ukraine. The 6-year-olds are admitted to the public schools to study for either 9 or 11 years, depending on the intended after-school educational level. The two years of high school level precedes the enrolment to the universities. Those willing to attend vocational schools can finish their education after the ninth year of schooling. The school leaving certificate obtained by virtually all the graduates after the relevant matriculation exams or tests, is a prerequisite for further educational aspirations. The compulsory school education is traditionally divided into three categories: the beginners, the middle graders and the seniors.
Ukrainian education aims on educating students on the all range of arts and sciences disciplines, although, a previously existing trend of focusing on math and sciences still remains. In general, the school curriculum includes classes of Ukrainian and world’s history, language and literature (both Ukrainian and foreign), math (algebra and geometry during middle and senior years), sciences such as physics and chemistry, biology and geography. The number of hours devoted to certain subject might vary depending on the school. Although, there are classes on music and arts in the secondary school curriculum, many students attend specialized music or art schools as extracurricular activities.
Since 1991, the Ukrainian education system has been undergoing gradual reformation. First the Soviet-time ten years of school education were increased to eleven years. Unlike the practice existing in western colleges, the tendency toward testing knowledge of school graduates (state examinations and independent assessment) persists in Ukraine.