The director of the Ukrainian National Academy of Arts and Sciences named the non-obvious reasons for the decline in the level of knowledge of Ukrainian teenagers

The director of the Ukrainian National Academy of Arts and Sciences named the non-obvious reasons for the decline in the level of knowledge of Ukrainian teenagers

The results of the international educational study PISA-2022, which appeared at the end of 2023, showed that since 2018, the level of knowledge of Ukrainian 15-year-olds has dropped significantly.

Only 58% of Ukrainian students achieved at least a basic level of mathematical literacy, 59% – reading literacy, and 66% – science literacy.

In an interview for “Ukrainian Pravda. Life”, the director of the Ukrainian Center for Evaluation of the Quality of Education, Tetyana Vakulenko, spoke about the possible non-obvious reasons for such a trend.

Vakulenko, the director of UTSOYAO, explained why the level of knowledge among Ukrainian teenagers has deteriorated. Photo: cherriesjd/Depositphotos


According to the research, Ukrainian 15-year-olds lag behind their peers from the countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development by 2.5 years in terms of reading literacy.

The OECD is a “club of successful countries” that are the organizers of the study. It includes 37 states, including the USA, Great Britain, Germany and France.

Vakulenko noted that the cause of this could be psychological stress, workload and lack of formed skills to concentrate on large texts.

“A teenager who is under deep stress for a long time, after reading the first text, may forget its content while working on the next one; incorrectly record key ideas, etc.” – she explained.

According to Fahichini, in the global context, the decline in reading literacy is a consequence of staying in the digital world of short messages and abandoning long, complete texts.

natural Sciences

Despite the fact that Ukrainian teenagers have better results in natural sciences, they lag behind their peers from OECD countries by 1.5 years.

As Tetyana Vakulenko noted, schools have problems with the experimental part of studying natural sciences.

“It is difficult for our students to understand the mandatory stages of experiments, in particular, in a remote format, because the involvement of the student in the process and observation is necessary. But even in institutions where training takes place face-to-face, there are often very few experiments.

There are excellent virtual experiments, laboratories that can be used effectively, especially if there are no other options. But if there is at least some chance of conducting eye experiments, it should be used.” – she emphasized.

Photo: AntonMatyukha/Depositphotos


In the field of mathematics, the gap between Ukrainian teenagers and their peers from OECD countries is also 1.5 years. In addition, in our country there is a global trend in which boys show the best results in this subject.

“Mathematical and engineering professions are not sufficiently popularized among girls. The integration of girls into circles related to robotics, the construction of mechanisms, devices, etc. is also insufficient.

Programming and IT engineering are popular in Ukraine, but they do not always have a proportionally equal number of girls and boys. There are often a few more boys. It is important to show that these are cool professions for women. There you can achieve success, self-realization, receive a decent salary and recognition.” Vakulenko explained.

However, in 2018, there was no noticeable difference between girls and boys in mathematics. The head of the UTSOYAO believes that distance learning formats and the war may be the reason for its increase.

Socio-economic status of the family

Within the framework of PISA-2022, the influence of the low socio-economic status of the family on the child’s academic success was also investigated. According to the results, such students in Ukraine have a higher chance of reaching the basic level in mathematics than teenagers in Georgia, Poland, Bulgaria and Moldova.

“Children from families with lower social and economic status are less likely to attend clubs, devote enough time to study, because they often help their parents with work or are forced to work themselves to partially support the family.

To fight this, you need to create free clubs for all categories of students. Educational institutions should attract teachers who can organize extracurricular activities; to create classes with different composition, where there are necessarily strong students who can become role models and examples”. – noted the head of the UTSOYAO.

At the same time, as the research showed, there are about 10-12% of so-called persistent students in Ukraine. These are children who come from families with a lower socio-economic status, but have high results.

“That is, a low socio-economic status is not a sentence, although it has its influence. Any country tries to create such conditions where it does not matter at all, although this is an idealistic picture.” Vakulenko stressed.

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