>> Russian Education | General Information
RUSSIAN EDUCATION SYSTEM
1. General overview
2. Languages of instruction
3. Management and administration
4. Quality assurance
5. General education
6. Vocational education
7. Higher education
8. Doctoral programs
10. Grading system
1. GENERAL OVERVIEW
In the Russian Federation, all educational programs are of two types:
- general education;
- professional education.
General education comprises:
- pre-school education;
- primary general education;
- basic general education;
- secondary (complete) general education.
Since in the Russian Federation all programs, except general education programs,
lead to diplomas or to diplomas and degrees as well as to professional
qualifications giving the right to exercise professions, they are called
professional education programs. Thus professional education covers the following:
- vocational education (nachalnoe professionalnoe obrazovanie);
- non-university level higher education (srednee professionalnoe obrazovanie);
- university level higher education (vysshee professionalnoe obrazovanie);
- doctoral study programmes (aspirantura and doctorantura);
- upgrading, retraining and other LLL (poslevuzovskoe professionalnoe obrazovanie).
2. LANGUAGES OF INSTRUCTION
The principal language of instruction is Russian. Study of Russian as the state language of the Russian Federation in all accredited education institutions, except pre-school institutions is regulated according to the State educational standard.
The citizens of the Russian Federation have the right to be instructed on basic general education in their native languages as well as to choose their languages of instruction within the range of possibilities offered by the educational system.
The language (languages) in which education and training are conducted are selected by the founder(s) of given educational establishments.
3. MANAGEMENT AND ADMINISTRATION
The Ministry of Education and Science is the only federal body responsible for implementing state policy and legal regulation at all levels of education and in all
kind of institutions. The majority of state HEIs are established and funded by of the Ministry of Education and Science. Approximately 30% of state HEIs are established,
administered and funded by different ministries. These institutions are closely related to the economic branch of the ministry in question. For example, medical
institutions are under administration of the Ministry of Healthcare and Social Development, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries is responsible for agricultural
institutions. Nevertheless all education establishments keep nationwide regulations of the Ministry of Education and Science concerning education and research.
The Federal Service for Supervision in Education and Science is another central body which carries out:
- control and supervision over legislative execution in education;
- quality control in educational institutions independently and together with state regulatory bodies of education of constituent parties (republics, territories, regions, etc.) of the Russian Federation;
- licensing, certification and state accreditation of educational institutions and their branches;
- consideration of questions connected with confirmation and recognition of degrees and titles obtained in the Russian Federation and abroad.
In addition to the Ministry of Education and Science state regulatory bodies for education in the constituent parts of the Russian Federation, and municipal bodies are responsible for development of education. All of these bodies have administrative responsibilities for educational establishments which they set up.
In state HEIs routine activities are supervised by Academic councils headed by rectors. The term of offices of an Academic council is five years. In non-state educational establishments supervision is the responsibility of their founders or of a trusteeship council appointed by the founders.
The direct administration of a higher education institution is the responsibility of rector. The statute of HEIs defines the demarcation between the functions of the Academic council and rector of institution.
Depending upon the structure of a given institution, Academic councils may be set up in the faculties. Their members are elected from representative of academic staff. The terms of reference of Academic councils are defined in the statutes of the institutions in question.
Each faculty is headed by a dean who is elected by the faculty Academic council and approved by the institution Academic council .
Faculties are composed of chairs that are administered by their heads.
4. QUALITY ASSUARANCE
In order to ensure quality of education a nationwide mechanism for quality control and assessment is in function. This mechanism includes the state educational standard; licensing and state accreditation.
The state educational standard
The State educational
standard is a set of nationally recognized requirements laid down by the State
which determines a mandatory minimum for the contents of educational programs,
the maximum work loads assigned to students, as well as general course loads and
requirements to be met by graduates.
The State Educational Standard of Higher
Professional Education was developed by Teaching and Methodological Associations.
These Associations are formed of experts from higher education institutions in
relevant fields of study on the basis of a competition organized by the State
Committee for Higher Education and approved by Decree No. 940 of 12 August 1994
of the Government of the Russian Federation.
Licensing is a procedure of assessment of the compliance of educational facilities, laboratory equipment, expertise of teaching staff,
and teaching materials with state requirements and the issuing of a duly worded authorization. Being licensed an educational institution
is granted the right to carry out educational programs in relevant fields of study (specialities) and at corresponding levels of education.
Accreditation is the formal recognition (confirmation for the next term) of the status of an education establishment by the state according to its type (secondary vocational or higher education establishment) and kind (college, institute, academy, university), confirmation of education programs level and quality of graduates’ preparation relative to the state educational standards. The accreditation procedure includes both a self-evaluation and a peer review. State accreditation is applicable both to state educational establishments and to private institutions. It results in the granting to the educational institution the right to issue Diplomas of the state format and to be included in the state funding list.
Licensing in non-university level education is the prerogative of the local authorities. It includes a formal assessment by a visiting expert group to ensure that an educational establishment meets the state and local requirements, including facilities, sanitation, equipment, staff, etc. Each new program must
also be assessed and licensed. Accreditation allows the institution to issue state recognized diplomas. Accreditation for non-university level education is carried out by federal ministries-founders of respective institutions in cooperation with local authorities.
All university level institutions have to pass licensing and accreditation procedures carried out by the Federal Service for Supervision in Education and Science.
It is prohibited to start any education activity without obtaining formal authorization based on licensing procedures.
Non-accredited HEIs issue their own non-state diplomas.
5. GENERAL EDUCATION
General education comprises three stages corresponding to the levels of educational programs:
- primary general education (4 years duration );
- basic general education (lower secondary - 5 years duration);
- secondary (complete) general education (upper secondary - 2 years duration).
53 532 general educational schools have enrolled 13 364 thousand students in 2008/2009 academic year.
General education programs comprise eleven years of studies. Children go to school when they are 6 or 7 years old. They finish secondary (complete) general education at the age of 17-18.
General education is divided into three phases: primary general education, basic general and secondary (complete) general education. Primary general education takes 4 years; basic general education takes 5 years and comprises classes 5–9. Secondary (complete) general education takes two years (classes 10–11). Basic general education (9 years of schooling) currently is compulsory. It is planned in mid-term to make all 11 years of general education compulsory. In some regions of the Russian Federation all students are already required to complete 11 years of general education.
General education curricula normally stipulate 34 weeks of study per year and, as a rule, 27 to 38 hours of study per week. The school year starts on 1 September and runs through the beginning of June. Unified state examinations scheduled in the end of May - beginning of June are culminating school studies.
A state educational standard for general education has been developed which lays down the State requirements as to the minimum content of education and the workload of students. It also prescribes compulsory fields of study (Humanities with a special emphasis on Russian language, Literature, Social sciences, and Physical education; Natural sciences with priority given to Mathematics; Technology) which comprise 75% of the curriculum. Social sciences can include such subjects as foreign languages, Russian history, World history, Economic and social geography, Law, Political science, Economics, etc. The Natural sciences can cover Biology, Physics, Astronomy, Chemistry, Ecology, etc. Technology normally includes Drawing and a number of disciplines for the imparting of certain professional skills: basic skills of general utility for pupils (Home economics, Sewing, Cooking, Metal work, Carpentry, etc.) and, in upper grades, basic skills for the exercise of certain professions.
In addition to these required fields of study regions has the right to set at least 10% of curriculum and the schools themselves also design at least 10%.
In practice each school designs its own curriculum, basing it upon the state education standard offering Basic curriculum.
Russia has well-developed networks of schools offering advanced programs which are based on the Basic curriculum and can be offered in a number of ways:
- through schools offering advanced programs in selected disciplines such as foreign languages, mathematics, physics, etc.;
- through schools with developed out-of-school activities giving a profound mastery of fine arts, philosophy, economics, sports, and other fields;
- through schools in which senior grades work under tutorship of HEIs and use the academic staff and facilities of the latter.
Preparation of new state education standard for secondary school has started in 2005. New standard gives more initiative to regions and schools in designing
curricula and it is aimed to facilitate independent student’s activity. It is expected to be implemented in 2011-2012.
On completion of compulsory basic general education (9 year program), students take final examinations (the procedure is called the State final attestation) and are awarded the Certificate of basic general education (Attestat ob osnovnom obshchem obrazovanii). As a result of the State final attestation, students may or may not be encouraged to continue their education. The Certificate entitles its holder to be admitted either to secondary (complete)
general education or to vocational education, as well as to non-university level tertiary education.
On completion of secondary (complete) general education (upper secondary school) a school leaving certificates is awarded. The name of this qualification is Certificate of secondary (complete) general education (Attestat o srednem (polnom) obshchem obrazovanii). Before 2009 school leaving certificates was awarded after the completion of an eleven-year school program and the successful passing of the State final attestation. The number of disciplines subject to final examinations could not be fewer than five: two federal compulsory written examinations (composition and mathematics) and no less than three optional examinations at the choice of the student. In addition to the results of the final examinations, school leaving certificates include a supplement listing the grades obtained by students in all the subjects taught during the whole period of education. The old version of the certificate issued before 1993 had no supplement,
and the grades were listed on the certificate itself.
Since 2009 Unified state exam was implemented in the Russian Federation. Nearly 50% of new students were admitted to HEIs and non-university level education institutions by the result (scores) of Unified State exam.
The school leaving certificate (Certificate of secondary (complete) general education) entitles its holder to pursue professional education: either vocational education or both non-university and university level higher education.
Quite a number of private schools have been established in the Russian Federation: about 680. The authorization to grant nationally recognized certificates (certificates of the state format) is linked to success in the State accreditation procedures of each school. Certificates awarded by non-accredited institutions (of non-state format) do not grant the right to be admitted to higher education institutions.
6. VOCATIONAL EDUCATION
Vocational education (nachalnoe professionalnoe obrazovanie) is aimed at training of skilled workers,
usually on the basis of basic general education (9 years). Vocational training for certain occupations
also may be based on secondary (complete) general education. Educational programs for persons wishing
to take up vocational education after basic general education are different from those offered
to persons who have finished secondary (complete) general education.
3325 vocational education institutions, some of which are private, with an enrollment of 434 thousand students offered their course programs in 2008. Admission to vocational education institutions normally does not require any entrance examinations.
Vocational education is offered by institutions called Professional schools (Professionalnoe technicheskoe uchilishche). In these institutions, educational programs are aimed at the acquisition of professional qualifications and mainly cover subjects for professional training. The duration of these educational programs depending on prior schooling is:
1 to 3 years, following completion of basic general (9 grades) education;
1 to 2 years, following completion of secondary (complete) general (11 grades) education.
There are three types of basic programs in Professional schools respectively:
- After 9-th school grade with duration up to 3 years. After passing the State final attestation, graduates are awarded Diplomas that give them the right to exercise a profession (qualified worker). Such a Diploma also entitles its holder to pursue non-university level higher education (if studies are pursued in the same profile, educational programs can be shortened). However this type of vocational education does not give the right of access to university level higher education.
- Vocational education programs offered by education institutions called Professional lyceum (Professionalnyj litsej). In these institutions, educational programs, in addition to the professional education component, also include a general education component (educational program of upper secondary school). After passing the state final attestation, graduates of a Professional lyceum are awarded Diplomas that not only give them the right to exercise a profession but also to pass Unified state exam. It is indicated in Diplomas that graduates have completed secondary (complete) general education.
Vocational education programs following completion of secondary (complete) general (11 grades) education with duration up to 2 years.
Licensing and accreditation for institutions of nachalnoe professionalnoe obrazovanie are realized only by local authorities in educational sector. The procedures are more or less the same, that applied in non-university level tertiary education.
7. HIGHER EDUCATION
There are two kinds of tertiary education in the Russian Federation:
- non-university level postsecondary professional education (srednee professional'noe obrazovanie) with programs leading to middle professional qualifications;
- university level higher education (visshee professional'noe obrazovanie) with programs leading to university degrees.
7.1 Non-university level tertiary education, level 5B of ISCED
2838 state and municipal non-university level tertiary education institutions have enrolled 2142 thousand students in 2008. Among them more than three hundred private institutions offer education programs in fields of law, economics, management and computer science. Education institutions of non-university level are generally known as Tekhnikum, Uchilishche or College. College can be independent educational institution or constituent part of HEI. It offers educational programs of non-university level of basic and advanced type well coordinated with university level programs in the same field of study. At present, there are about 680 colleges in the country.
The admission requirements for non-university level education after complete general education (11 years) are the same as for entrance to university level programs: the results of State unified exam. Quite a number of non-university level education institutions offer course programs following completion of basic general education (9 years). Admission procedure after basic general education is a selective entrance test.
The Duration of programs
Duration of studies in non-university level institutions is from 2 to 3 years after secondary (complete) general education (11 years) and from 3 years to 4.5 years after basic general education (9 years). On the successful completion of studies, students are awarded Diploma. The Diploma supplement contains the list of subjects learnt during studies and the grades earned. Credits are given by universities to holders of such Diplomas, if they enter program in the same field of study (transfer up to 4 semesters on a case-by-case basis).
Licensing in srednee professionalnoe obrazovanie is a prerogative of local authorities. It involves a formal assessment by a visiting expert group to ensure that the institution meets the state and local requirements, including building, sanitation, equipment, staff and some others. Each newly introduced program must also be assessed and licensed. Accreditation is an act allowing the institution to issue state recognized diplomas. Accreditation is carried out by federal ministries-founders of respective institutions in cooperation with local authorities.
7.2 University level higher education
According to the Law on Education of 1996 university level HE institutions are classified as following:
University is an institution which are aimed at the development of education, science, and culture through the conducting of fundamental and applied research and the offering of training programs at all levels of higher, postgraduate, and continuing education in a wide range of natural and social sciences and the humanities. A university must be the leading research and methodological centre in the areas of its activity.
Academy is a HE institution which activities are aimed at the development of education, science, and culture through the conducting of fundamental and applied research and the offering of training programs at all levels of higher, postgraduate, and continuing education in a single major area of science, technology, or culture. An academy must be the leading research and methodological centre in its area of activity.
Institute is an autonomous HE institution or university's (academy's) division providing programs at all levels of higher, postgraduate, and continuing education and conducting researches.
The total enrollment in 2008 was 7.5 million students, including 3.5 million fulltime students (in 2002: 5.7 and 3.1 million respectively).
Along with the state sector there is also a sector of municipal higher education establishments run by local and regional authorities as well as a sector of non-state HE establishments run by private, public, and religious organizations. 660 state and about 474 non-state HE institutions were operating in Russia in 2008. Due to policy of merges and liquidation of small HEIs provided by the Ministry of Education and Science in recent years their number is decreasing.
Admission to university level HE institution is based on presentation of school leaving certificate or its equivalent and results (scores) of Unified state exam or its equivalent.
Degrees and Diplomas
Russian higher education institutions may confer the following degrees and diplomas:
- Intermediate Diploma (Nepolnoe vysshee obrazovanie): at least two years of study;
- Bakalavr Diploma: four years of study;
- Specialist Diploma: five years of study;
- Magistr Diploma: two years of study.
The first function of the Intermediate Diploma (Diplom o nepolnom vysshem obrazovanii) awarded after at least two years of studies on Bakalavr or Specialist programs, is to certify that the student has successfully finished the first two years of higher education in a particular field of study.
Bakalavr degree is conferred after a four-year course of study. Bakalavr programs cover all disciplines except medicine. The function of Bakalavr degree is to provide a more academically rather than professionally oriented education. Bakalavr degree is a prerequisite for admission to Magistr studies.
State final attestation includes the defense of a thesis prepared over a period of four months and State final examinations. Following a successful attestation, a state Diploma is issued attesting conferral of Bakalavr degree. The Diploma supplement includes the list of disciplines, the number of hours or credits, the grades, practical training, and the results obtained on final state examinations and in the defense of the thesis.
The traditional qualification of Specialist Diploma has two functions. It opens access to professional practice (e.g., to engineers, teachers, chemists, etc.), and it is also the traditional prerequisite for admission to doctoral studies. The qualification of Specialist Diploma is conferred after studies lasting five years. The diploma is awarded nearly in all fields of study (specialities).
The State final attestation for a Specialist Diploma covers the defense of a project or a thesis and State final examinations. The procedure for the State final attestation and for the award of the Diploma as well as the content of Diploma supplement are the same as for Bakalavr degree.
A Magistr programme is a two-year course focused more around research activities in comparison with Specialist program. State educational standard defines only general requirements for Magistr educational programs and not the requirements regarding the content of education. HEIs introducing Magistr degree programs are free to make their own decisions regarding the contents of programs.
Access to Magistr studies is open for holders of Bakalavr degree. HEIs themselves set up admission procedures (examinations, interviews, etc.) for applicants. Those holders of Bakalavr degree wishing to pursue Magistr program in different field of study (speciality) must pass an additional test which reflects the requirements for Bakalavr program in the speciality corresponding to the chosen Magistr program.
The duration of study in the medical sciences is the following:
- five years in dentistry and pharmacy;
- six years in medicine;
- three years in nursing following completion of non-university level higher education.
The medical sciences are the only area in which diplomas of university level HE do not give the right for their holders to exercise their professions independently. In order to be admitted to the medical professions, the holders of university level HE diplomas must undertake further in-depth professional training:
a one-year course programme (called the internatura) or
a two- to four-year course programme (called the ordinatura).
Training in the internatura or the ordinatura takes place on the premises of the best hospitals, clinics, and research medical institutes. Graduates from the internatura or ordinatura are awarded certificates that specify their specialization areas and entitle them to exercise their professions independently.
8. DOCTORAL PROGRAMMES
The hierarchy of advanced scientific degrees in Russia traditionally includes Doctor's degrees of two levels: Candidate of Sciences (Kandidat Nauk) and Doctor of Sciences (Doktor Nauk). The Candidate of Sciences degree normally requires three years of study after the award of Specialist or Magistr degrees. The Doctor of Sciences degree can be earned after a period of further study following the award of the Candidate of Sciences degree. In reality, to earn a Doctor of Sciences degree requires five to fifteen years beyond the award of the Candidate of Sciences degree.
Both university level higher education establishments and research institutions have the right to set up doctoral study programs. The Federal Service for Supervision in Education and Science is responsible for supervision of doctoral studies in higher education establishments and research institutions. Upon the decision of this body, doctoral study programs (aspirantura - for the Candidate of Sciences degree and doctorantura - for the Doctor of Sciences degree) can be opened in those higher education establishments and research institutions that possess the required personnel as well as scientific and financial resources. HEIs must be accredited, and research institutions must have a license granting them the right to carry out educational activities.
The two doctoral degrees can be earned in two ways: as a result of studies in the aspirantura and doctorantura or independently.
The defense of doctoral dissertation is carried out before a Dissertation Council. Dissertation Councils are organized by the Higher Attestation Committee (Vysshij Attestatsionnyj Komitet – part of the Federal Service for Supervision in Education and Science) to accept dissertations in given fields of science for hearing in accredited HE and research institutions.
The public defense of the dissertation is held in the form of a public presentation and scientific debates.
The only national body empowered to take decisions on recognition of diplomas and degrees is
the Federal Service for Supervision in Education and Science.
The Higher Attestation Commission acting in cloth coordination with the latter is entitled to make assessment of foreign doctoral degrees.
National information center on academic recognition and mobility provides information related to recognition.
10. GRADING SYSTEM
Main grading system in secondary school
- Full Description: Pass, "2" - unsatisfactory, "3" - satisfactory, "4" - good, "5" - excellent.
- Highest on scale: 5
- Pass/fail level: pass, "3"(satisfactory) / "2"(unsatisfactory)
- Lowest on scale: 2 unsatisfactory
Main grading system used by higher education institutions
- Full Description: unsatisfactory, pass, satisfactory, good, excellent
- Highest on scale: excellent
- Pass/fail level: satisfactory, pass/unsatisfactory
- Lowest on scale: unsatisfactory
Other main grading systems
-Awarded / Not Awarded: for Kandidat Nauk and Doktor Nauk dissertations.
Revised in March 2010. NIC ARM
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