Structure of Education in Russia

Russia is considered to have one of the best mass-education systems in the world. It has a literacy rate of 99%. As per World Bank statistics from 2008, 54% of the Russian labor force has completed tertiary (college) education, which is amongst the highest in the world. Almost 48% have completed their secondary education and 26.5% have finished middle school.

Education in Russia is given high priority. The education standards are predominantly regulated by the Sate through the Ministry of Education and Sciences.

Compulsory Education

Education in Russia is compulsory for children between the ages of 6 and 15. A student finishes his/her primary school education between ages 6 to -10 and basic general educations between ages 10 to -15. Upon completion of nine years of education, students have the option of either completing the remaining two years at secondary school before enrolling for higher education, or to sign up for vocational training.

Structure of Education

The general structure of education pattern in Russia is as follows:
  • Pre -primary
  • Kindergarten
  • Primary General School
  • Basic General Secondary School
  • Secondary General School / Upper Secondary School
  • Vocational / Non University Level
  • Higher Education

Pre- primary and Kindergarten

Pre-primary schools and kindergartens are not a part of compulsory education for children. Kindergartens are usually controlled by the regional or local authorities. A brief preschool preparation program for the 5-6 year olds is however looked after by the Ministry of Education and Science.

Parents enroll their children for their overall mental, physical, moral and intellectual development in the pre- primary wing. In kindergarten classes, teachers focus on supplementary subjects such as art, craft, singing and dancing.

Primary Schools, Basic General Schools and, Secondary Schools

Students undertake primary education for four years from ages 6 to 10. The length of basic general education is five years lasting from ages 10-15.

Secondary schooling is for two years from age groups 15-17. On completion of secondary schoolings, the students appear for State final examinations, after clearing which a school leaving certificate or Attestat o Srednem (Polnom) Obshchem Obrazovanii is awarded. This school leaving certificate allows students to continue to higher education, either vocational education or both non-university and university level education.

Basic secondary school classes are for 30-32 hours per week whereas senior secondary school classes are longer at around34-36 hours per week.

Higher Education

Students opt for higher education after the completion of their senior secondary school. All the students applying for higher education go through competitive examinations. Most of the programmes offer a 5 year study course to undergraduates in a number of fields.

Russia has several types of higher education institutions. These are Universitet (University), Academia (Academy), Institut (Institute), Technicheskiy Universitet (Technical University), and Konservatoria (Conservatory).

Higher education is provided by public and non-public recognized higher education institutions. Public higher education institutes provide education free of charge. Higher education in Russia is divided into Incomplete (2 years); Basic (4 5-6 years); and Postgraduate (1-2 years) and Doctoral.

Incomplete Higher Education

It lasts a minimum of 2 years on completion of which Diplom O Nepolnom Vysshem Obrazovanii (Diploma of Incomplete Higher Education) is awarded. This particular diploma provides the students with access to jobs which require training but not a degree.

Basic Higher Education:

Basic higher education takes five year of full time studying, on completion of which a student earns the Bakalavr degree (or Bachelor’s degree), the first university level degree. However, for medicine, it takes 6 years for completion.

Postgraduate Studies:

Students who have earned their Bakalavr degree are entitled to go for a Specialist Diploma or the Magistr's degree programme. The duration for this is 1 to- 2 years. The Specialist Diploma opens access to professional practice (e.g., to engineers, teachers, chemists, etc.). Postgraduate education is the traditional prerequisite for admission to doctoral studies.

Doctoral Studies:

The Doctoral scientific degrees have two levels:

First level degree is the Kandidat Nauk equivalent to a PhD. On completion of the second level, Doktor Nauk degree is honored. Doctor Nauk is the highest degree in Russia and is equivalent to Professor.

Vocational Training

A student may choose to join a vocational school after completion of basic general education at the age of 15. These vocational schools or non-university institutes usually provide with a program of training in a technical field. They provide students with a working skill qualification and a high school certificate equivalent to 11-year education in a normal school. However, due to its work training component, the programme typically extends to 3 years. In the Soviet era, such institutions were commonly known as technikum.
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