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Education Ministry changes postgraduate enrolment conditions to fight draft evasion

by Kateryna Hodunova June 25, 2024 12:41 AM 2 min read
The main building of the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Kyiv on Jan. 17, 2024. Photo for illustrative purposes. (Ruslan Kanuka / Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty Images)
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Ukraine's Education Ministry is introducing changes to the enrolment conditions for postgraduate studies to fight draft evasion, Education Minister Oksen Lisovyi said on June 24.

Full-time male students of universities and vocational schools cannot be called up for military service during martial law, according to Ukrainian law. Graduate and doctoral students cannot be called up as well.

In 2022, more than 15,000 people enrolled in graduate school, including 9,700 men over the age of 25. In 2023, the number increased to 18,800 applicants, including 13,500 men over the age of 25, Ukrainska Pravda reported, citing obtained Education Ministry's data.

"It's no secret that in the last two years, the number of male military-aged students who suddenly realized that they needed a second or third higher education, a postgraduate degree or a doctorate, has skyrocketed," Lisovyi wrote on Facebook.

"The thirst for knowledge is great. Fake education is not. So, we're changing the rules for postgraduate studies in 2024."

The Unified State Exam remains mandatory for enrolment in a higher education institution. The exam requires a minimum score of 160 points.

The number of state-sponsored (free) spots will be increased from 3,200 to 7,000 for those who are "really motivated to study."

A postgraduate program on a contract basis (paid) will only be available part-time and will not provide a deferral from military service.

According to the minister, 246,189 people have registered for the Unified State Exam in 2024. Some 79% of them are men, while almost half are applying for graduate school.

"To be more specific, 91,561 military-aged people. A record of records," Lisovyi wrote.

The education system has become a "loophole to avoid (military service)," Lisovyi said.

The minister also appealed to Ukrainians to report all cases of fake education in order to get a deferral for military service to law enforcement.

Lisovyi's announcement came in the midst of the enrolment process that takes place in late June and early July.

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