Secondary education is
mandatory in Russia. Children start school at the age of 6 and finish at 17 .
As a rule, a child attends the school located in the neighborhood,the one which
is the closes to home . However , there in big cities there are also so-called
"special" schools , offering more in-depth studies of the major
European languages ( English , French, or
German), or the advanced courses in physics and mathematics, and
children attending one of these may have to commute from home. There are no
school buses in Russia.
The first stage of education
is elementary school for grades 1 through 4. The second is secondary school for
grades 5 through 9 . Upon graduation from secondary school ( which is not the
equivalent of having completed their secondary education ) , students are given
the choice of either continuing to
attend the same school (high school; grades 10 and 11 ), or entering a
vocational school or trade school. Both vocational school and trade schools are meant to provide one ,
long with the certificate of secondary education, with a number of useful
skills ( e.g. , those of an
electrician, technical, or computer operator ).One attends the former
for two years, and the latter for three or four.
Haveing completed one's
secondary education, one can either become part of work force or go on to
college ( " institution of higher learning " ). There are
universityes and so-called "institutes" in Russian . The former
stress a more teoretical , fundamental approach to education , while the latter are more practice oriented.
There are no medical schools
or departments with in the structure of Russian universitys . Future doctors
attend medical institutes. There are no degrees in Russian equivalent to those
of bachelor's or master's.Students spend approximately five years in college or
six in a medical institute.
To be admited to an
institution of higher learning , one has to pass a series of oral and written
tests. Grades in the certificate of secondary education are also taken account.
Entry to higher education is
quite competitive. Some college departments ( philologist,foreign
languages-especially English,law, journalism ) have dozens of applicants for
one prospective student's position. The same is true of medical and theatre
Up to the present, neither
college students nor schoolchildren have had any say in the selection of
courses they had to take. Everyone has
studied according to uniform series of guide lines approved by the
Ministery of Higher Education . Evidently , this situation is going to change in the near future.
Education in Russian has until
recently been free on all levels. College students with good grades were
rewarded with a modest stipend . All institutions of higher learning were
subsidized by the government . Now that the country is changing to a
market-place economy, the system of education is also bound to undergo profound
changes . The first private scholls , gymnasiums and lycees, have already been
founded in Moscow and St. Petersburg , in an attempt to revive the pre-1917
traditionals of Russian educational
system with its high standards of excellence.
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