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Russian Education
before March 9, 2006


Russian professional education has three stages according to qualification progress - primary, secondary and higher education. The main goal of all stages is to provide a profession for an individual.

Profession offers not only an employment and financial security opportunity; it helps to express creative skills of a personality. An individual, who made the right choice according to his personal preferences and skills and loves his profession, can contribute significantly to society development.


Skilled labors and officials graduate from primary professional education institutions. To be admitted to a primary professional education institution an applicant should submit a claim, which is reviewed on a competitive basis according to institution founder and educational institution rules.

On this stage teaching time depends on how educated an admitted student is. Students applying after secondary school's 9th year have training period with duration of two or three years. Students, who apply after graduating from secondary school, study for one or two years. However, some primary professional education institutions appear to shift more to technical college style of education. It can be seen in extending teaching time to tree or for years depending of student's previous education.

Extra- and intramural forms of education are acceptable.

Professional schools (technical professional schools - TVS) are typical educational institutions for this stage of education. Recently the network of primary professional education institutions of new type has been formed. These institutions are professional lyceums training labor forces of highest qualification. Activities of such institutions are subject to Standard Statute for primary professional education institution establishment of 05.06.1994.

Primary professional education system of Russia celebrated its 60th birthday on 2nd of October 2000. Due to this system collapsed economy of the postwar country had been quickly reinforced with labor forces. In early 90s amount of professions trained in TVS reached 1400. In the beginning of 1999 due to federal standards carried this list was shortened significantly.

Despite the recent decade tendency of total student amount decrease, primary professional education institutions still form an important sector of education system, which assumes obtaining a profession before graduating secondary school. This kind of education is usually popular between young men from broken and difficult families when an additional source of income is needed. Children from such social line are able to continue their education when they have no chance of getting Secondary Education Certificate.

Primary professional education system survived significant changes in specialization in a short period of time. According to labor market demands a new integrated professions list was introduced (including more than 280 professions). Services, transport, food and trade sectors professions moved to the fore. New society demanded professions appeared - social workers, small business organizers, ecologists and designers -, which increased labor market competitive ability of abovementioned educational institutions graduates. Meanwhile industry and civil engineering professions share is lower than before.

State Educational Standards of Primary Professional Education and basic education plans were worked out recently. This stage education programs have significantly improved succession to secondary professional education programs.



Secondary professional education is aimed at training practitioners.

It works through two basic educational programs - elementary level and advanced level. After acquiring elementary program a graduate gets "technician" qualification. Advanced program of secondary professional education provides more thorough training compared to elementary level (training time extends for a year). A graduate who have taken an advanced course can get "technical supervisor" qualification, if profoundly trained, and "technician, additionally trained in…" qualification, if extensively trained (with field of training indication, e.g. management, economics, informatics, etc). Those who took secondary professional education courses are called students (trainees), auditors and etc.

Secondary professional education programs' content is designated by State Educational Standard of Secondary Professional Education (SES SVE) consisting of two parts: federal one, specifying national requirements to students' training and education content minimum, and national-regional one. Due to its expiry new State Educational Standard of Secondary Professional Education - Secondary Professional Education Qualifications Classifier - has been developed in 2001.

Secondary professional education has different forms: full-time attendance, evening courses, remote training, external training based upon fundamental general education (nine years of comprehensive school) or general secondary education (11 years of comprehensive school). Admission to secondary professional education institutions is through a competitive basis depending on the results of admission tests. Each year 11 per cent of general comprehensive schools' graduates and 23 per cent of secondary schools' graduates become students of secondary professional education institutions. Training time of secondary professional education programs of full-time attendance after secondary school depends on training field and usually lasts for 2-3 years.

Training time of evening courses and remote training is one year longer than that of full-time attendance. Training time extends for one year if the student has fundamental general education instead of secondary education.

Two main types of specialized secondary educational establishments exist in Russia: technical school (training school) and college.

Technical school (training school) offers general professional education programs of secondary professional education elementary level; college offers general professional education programs of secondary professional education elementary and advanced level. Institutions of higher education also can offer educational programs of secondary professional education.

Activities of this group of educational institutions are designated by Standard Statute for secondary professional education institution approved on March 3, 2001.

Secondary professional education has more than 300 qualifications. In recent years a score of new qualifications has been introduced, mainly in social sphere, service sphere and information technologies.

Those who have an appropriate secondary professional education can get higher professional education through short accelerated programs. These programs are shortened for a year for applicants having secondary professional education of elementary level and for 1-2 years for applicants having secondary professional education of advanced level.

Secondary professional education system consists of 2.6 thousand state and municipal specialized secondary educational establishments and universities' departments. More than 25 federal ministries, authorities and subjects of Russian Federation guide specialized secondary educational establishments.

Today more than 2.3 mln of young men and women are getting educated in this system.



According to Russian Federation Education Legislation there are following types of higher education institutions (also depending on the amount of students training fields) - universities, academies and institutes.

Any type of higher educational institution including its branches is allowed to educate according to educational programs of primary general education, secondary general education, secondary education, primary and secondary professional education and also additional professional education if licensed appropriately.

Besides mentioned programs all three types of higher educational institutions usually have educational programs of postgraduate professional education and offer training, retraining and/or skill improvement for certified employees, scientists and experts in science and education. These institutions also carry out fundamental and/or applied scientific research.

State Educational Standard of Higher Professional Education designates educational programs and workload content and training requirements for graduates. Following forms of training are possible: full-time attendance, evening courses, remote training and external training.

All forms of education, including their combinations within certain educational program, have unique State Education Standard.

Higher education institutions graduates have following qualifications: bachelor, professional (certified expert) and master of appropriate qualification. Moreover, suitable educational programs can be taken from the beginning to the end and by stages.

The graduate, having passed final state attestation on accredited educational program, gets a diploma (a governmentally approved document) with his education level and/or his qualification.

An elective delegate body - Academic Council, runs a higher education institution. Term of powers of an academic council is 5 years.

Academic council consists of a rector (chairman of the council), vice-principals, and faculty deans, if allowed by academic council. Other members of academic council are elected during higher institution general assembly (conference). The rector performs direct control over institution's activities. His position is also elective, and the term of his powers is five years.

The amount and structure of first-year students admitted to a state higher educational institution are imposed by admission control figures, which are set annually by appropriate federal executive authorities, which guide this institution. Besides student admission tasks the institution has a right to train experts according suitable contracts with tuition fees paid by individuals and/or legal entities.

Higher education institution activities are designated by "For Higher and Postgraduate Professional Education" Federal Law of August 22, 1996 and Standard Statute for Russian Federation higher professional education institution, approved on April 5, 2001. The largest student contingent is being educated in universities.

As of January 1, 2001, 1249 civil higher educational institutions are functioning in Russian Federation, including: 564 state federal higher educational institutions, 34 state higher educational institutions belonging to subjects of Russian Federation, 18 municipal higher educational institutions and 635 private higher educational institutions.

This level of Russian education system has recently undergone significant changes, quantitative, as well as qualitative.

The amount of applicants, who want to attend a higher educational institution, is growing. In 2000 average entry among applicants has been 3 persons per position. According to RBC in 2004, in Saint Petersburg, for example, the entry has been 3.79 persons per position. The same tendency occurs in other regions.

In recent years the amount of higher educational institutions has risen significantly, especially for account of private institutions and branches. For example in 2004 the amount of private higher educational institutions and branches exceeded 3000. This situation requires careful attention to be paid to education quality control and analysis. As for the end of last century's nineties total student admission to higher educational institutions' integrated groups of qualifications was following: engineering - 31%, economic - 26%, humanitarian - 19%, pedagogic - 8%, natural sciences - 6%, medical - 3%, agricultural - 4%, arts and humanities - 2%.

At millennial turn the demand for these qualifications tended to decrease. New qualifications appeared - one of them is "State and municipal administration", its first graduates appeared in 2000, there was a score of them. The society demand for new generation of managers is very high.

As for 2003, the largest entry was in economic and law educational institutions. The recent tendency of applicants interested in technical qualifications keeps for 2004. The entry to arts and humanities has also increased.

The social consciousness of young people has changed. The majority of applicants understand that career and the life itself depends on higher education institution choice. Competition on the labor market has grown significantly. The senior students prefer starting their career before graduating to be employed when they get their diploma. The employer takes into consideration not only qualification certificate but also main courses' grades.

There are also more qualitative changes: different diplomas for different qualifications, new qualifications and new forms of getting education appearance. For example, the amount of new academics (not in state list of disciplines) exceeded 200, computer technologies, tax assessment, clinical psychology and international corporate finance among them.

In 2004 Ministry of Science and Higher Education summarized the rating of Russian accredited private higher educational institutions with full-time attendance and more than 700 students. 43 institutions have taken part in the rating. Data was collected January through March 2004. Many parameters have been taken into consideration: teaching staff, students on different forms of education, foreign students, scientific research, publishing activities, dormitories, preventative clinics, etc. The leaders are as following: top rank - Special Pedagogy and Psychology Institute of Saint Petersburg, second-best is Academy of Management "TISBI" of Kazan and the third is Economics, Law and Natural Sciences Institute of Krasnodar.

In the coming years, beginning with 2005, the amount of those, who want to get higher education, will start to decrease. However, the main cause is not applicants' runoff to other levels of education, but the demographic situation in Russia. The birthrate peak detected ended in 1986-1987. That's why, according to "Public Opinion" foundation, in 2010 experts expect not more than 759k of applicants versus 1300k of applicants in 2004. This may mean that the amount of higher educational institutions may tend to decrease too.

Tags: education in Russia     


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