Education in Russia
Learn more about Education in Russia
 General information
Age 15 and over can read and write:
- total population: 98%
- male: 100%
- female: 97% (1989 est.)
Soviet Russia's educational system has produced nearly 100% literacy. About three million students attend Russia's 519 institutions of higher education and 48 universities. As a result of great emphasis on science and technology in education, Russian medical, mathematical, scientific, and space and aviation research is generally of a high order.
Nowadays, the country has 685 governmental higher education institutions, all of these having state accreditation. Besides, 619 non-governmental higher education institutions have been licensed for educational activities, 367 of these having been given accreditation in the past decade. Thus, the number of higher education institutions is 1,304 (1,162 of which are accredited). In 2003–2004, the total number of students of higher education institutions was 5,947,500, including 5,228,7000 and 718,800 in governmental and non-governmental education institutions respectively. (Bologna Process International Reports: Russia)
 Major universities
- Moscow State University
- Saint Petersburg State University
- Saint Petersburg State Mechnikov Medical Academy 
- Saint Petersburg State Pavlov Medical University 
- Moscow Engineering Physics Institute
- Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology
- Moscow State Technical University (aka Bauman Moscow State Technical University)
- Moscow State Institute of International Relations
- Ural State University in Yekaterinburg
- Ural State Technical University
- Novosibirsk State University
- Tomsk State University
- Kazan State University
 Russian educational system
The Russian educational system may be arranged into three major groups: secondary education, higher education and postgraduate education.
 Secondary school
Secondary education in Russia takes either ten (skipping the 5th form) or eleven years to complete, depending on the school. After graduation from the 9th grade, which is compulsory for all Russian citizens, a pupil obtains a Certificate of Incomplete Secondary Education. After that a pupil has to choose one of the following ways to complete his secondary education: to continue education for two more years at the secondary school or to pursue an associate degree at a Community College. The latter variant usually takes three to four years to complete but provides a pupil with educational qualification that is sufficient for most blue-collar jobs.
After obtaining a Certificate of Complete Secondary Education a student can enter a University or a Community College. At a Community College students with complete secondary education can obtain an Associate Degree in one or two years. A student can choose a program of higher education with a duration of four to six years. There are three different degrees that are conferred by Russian universities: Bachelor's Degree (4 years), Specialist's Degree (5–6 years), and Master's Degree (6 years). Bachelor's and Master's degrees were introduced relatively recently; they did not exist during the Soviet period. Even now they are not offered by many six-year institutions.
 Post-graduate levels
After obtaining a Specialist's or Master's Degree, a student may enter a university or a scientific institute to pursue postgraduate education. The first level of postgraduate education is aspirantura (аспирантура) that usually results in the Kandidat Nauk degree (кандидат наук, Candidate of Sciences). The seeker should pass three exams (in his/her special field, in a foreign language of his/her choice, and in history and philosophy of science), publish at least three scientific articles, write a dissertation and defend it. This degree is roughly equivalent to the Ph.D. in the United States.
After graduation a student may continue postgraduate education. Few (2 to 4) years of study in doctorantura (докторантура) with obtaining important scientific results, publishing them and writing new thesis would result in the Doctor Nauk degree (доктор наук, Doctor of Sciences), but the typical way is working in a university or scientific institute with parallel preparation of a thesis. The average time between obtaining Kandidat and Doctor degrees is roughly 10 years, and most of new Doctors are 40 and more years old. Only 1 of 4 Kandidats reaches this grade.
Kandidat Nauk may keep position of Assistant Professor (Docent) in universities and of Researcher or Senior Researcher in a scientific institutes. Doctor Nauk can hold position of full Professor, Head of Laboratory or equal and higher ones.
Granting of advanced degrees is overseen by the Higher Attestation Commission of the Ministry of Education and Science.
 Changes and rebuild of the education system
The Russian education system was originally inherited from the Soviet Union without any significant changes. In the Soviet Union, education of all levels was free for anybody who could pass entrance exams; students were provided with small scholarships and free housing. This was considered crucial because it provided access to higher education to all skilled students, as opposed to only those who could afford it. Free higher education is the main reason why more than 20% of Russians age 30–59 hold six-year degrees (this number is twice as high as that of the United States). The downside of that system was that institutions had to be funded entirely from the federal and regional budgets; therefore, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, expenses on education took a big blow; institutions found themselves unable to provide adequate teachers' salaries, students' scholarships, and to maintain their facilities. To address the issue, many state institutions started to open commercial positions. The number of those positions has been growing steadily since then. Many private higher education institutions have emerged, mostly in the fields where Soviet system was inadequate or was unable to provide enough specialists for post-Soviet realities, such as economics, business/management, and law. In 2004, of all first-year students, 35% were paying for their own education in state institutions and 20% were enrolled in private universities.
In the recent years there have been a lot of proposals for restructuring the Russian educational system in accordance with the U.S. educational system. Nevertheless, these proposals have not been approved due to strong scholar potential of Russian scientists.
Both at schools and universities, a 5-grade scale is used: "5" = excellent, "4" = good, "3" = acceptable, "2" = "unacceptable" (Fail).
"5" is the best mark, "2" is the worst. Technically. a grade of "1" is the worst grade, but over time, it has been phased out and now is so rarely given that it is basically equivalent to not just a failing grade, but failing "with distinction". This system is not compulsory and in rare cases, for example, a 10-grade scale can be used.
"Plus" or "minus" signs can be added to a mark, e.g. "4+" means above good, "3-" means below satisfactory but not quite a failure or at least some part of the task was done and the teacher does not want to give him a bad mark. Or, for example, "4+" means that the work is quite good and very close to a "5", but not good enough to give a "5". "5+" is an excellent mark, given to distinguish a brilliant work.
However, these "+" and "-" are not official and are not written into the register (but most teachers keep their own unofficial register as well).
 Unified State Exam
This type of examination was adopted recently. It is a test which is passed at the end of 9th and 11th form. It consists of three parts: part A contains tasks where the student has to pick out the correct answer out of several, in part B the correct answer should be written in one word, and no variants are given, and in Part C the student has to write the full solution (as in mathematics) or a composition (as in literature). The answers are written on special blanks, digitally scanned, with parts A and B being checked automatically by the computer software.
An excellent score ranges, depending on the subject, from 65 (mathematics) to 90 (foreign language) out of 100.
What's good for students of 11th form is that now they do not have to pass both their final school exams and entrance exams at a university. The score of several, usually three (e.g. to enter a Linguistics department, student has to pass Russian, English, and social science exams), subjects is summed up, this total score is the basis of accepting a student at a university. Students now also have a chance to apply at several universities and choose one after they get to know if their score is enough to enter this or that university.
 Accreditation of schools
In Russia school accreditation/national recognition is directly overseen by the Education Ministry of Russia. Since 1981, Russia has followed the UNESCO international regulations to ensure Russian institutions and international institutions meet high quality standards. It is illegal for a school to operate without government approval.
 See also
- Education in Siberia
- Education Ministry of Russia
- Russian Academy of Sciences
- Education in the Soviet Union (historical)
- List of universities in Russia
- Russian Association of Scouts/Navigators
 External links
- (English) The US Education Advising Center in Moscow—an outline of the Russian educational system.
- (English) Russia at euroeducation.net—an outline of the Russian educational system.
- (Russian) Official website of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation.
- (English) Russian Education Ministry Information on Accreditation