Education system of the Russian Federation
According to the Federal Law №273 «On Education in the Russian Federation», the education system consists of the following levels:
General education consists of four levels:
Pre-school education is provided by licensed institutions for children up to age 6 - 7 years, that is, before they enter formal school. Primary general education comprises grades 1-4, from the age of 7 to 10 years. Lower secondary education takes 5 years and comprises grades 5–9, from the age of 11 to 15 years. Upper secondary education takes two years (grades 10–11). Students complete secondary education at the age of 17-18 years.
All four levels of general education are provided on the basis of their own state standards. Secondary general education with 11 years of formal schooling is compulsory. On completion of upper secondary education (grade 11) a school leaving certificate is awarded. The name of this qualification is the Certificate of Secondary General Education (Attestat o srednem obshchem obrazovanii).
The general secondary school study programme is culminated with mandatory state final attestation of each graduate in the Russian language and mathematics, which is an obligatory part of the USE. Graduates who have successfully passed the Unified State Examination - USE in Russian language and mathematics are issued Certificates of Secondary General Education.
Technical and vocational education (srednee professionalnoe obrazovanie) offers training programmes of two stages:
- first stage programmes: for skilled workers, junior technicians and employees;
- second stage programmes: for mid-career professionals.
Graduates of technical and vocational education programmes are awarded Diplomas.
Education institutions of the second stage vocational education are generally known as Tekhnikums and Colleges. College can be independent educational institution or constituent part of HEI. It offers professional education programmes of basic and advanced types. As a rule these programmes are well coordinated with university level programmes in the same field of study.
There is the multilevel system of training of specialists with higher education in Russia and the following levels of higher education are set:
Bachelor degree (240 credit units) is conferred after a four-year course of study. Bachelor programmes cover wide range fields of study. The function of Bachelor degree is to provide a more academically rather than professionally oriented education. Bachelor degree is a prerequisite for admission to Magister 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 Bachelor degree.
The qualification of Specialist Diploma (300-360 credit units) 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 likewise master’s degree. The qualification of Specialist Diploma is conferred after studies lasting not less than five years. The diploma is awarded predominantly in technical 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.
Master programme (120 credit units) is a two-year course focused more on research activities in comparison with Specialist programme (up to 50% of student’s workload). But above all, this is a profound analytical and practical training of professionals in a particular field of study and practice. State educational standard defines only general requirements for Master educational programmes and not the requirements regarding the content of education. HEIs are free to make their own decisions regarding the contents of Master programmes. The State final attestation for a Master degree covers the defense of a dissertation and State final examinations. Access to Master studies is open for holders of Bachelor degree. HEIs themselves set up admission procedures (examinations, interviews, etc.) for applicants. Those holders of HE degrees wishing to pursue Master programme in different field of study must pass an additional tests which reflect the requirements for the chosen Master programme.
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 Master 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.