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Education in Russia.

Non-formal education, homeschooling, additional education.

A Russian school girl on math classes

Homeschooling in Russia

According to Russian legislation, different forms of out-of-school education are possible. They are home education (meant for children who have to stay at home because of serious illnesses), family education ( the child is enrolled at a local school, but is educated by his parents) and externship. Whatever form of education a student chooses, he takes regular final exams and gets a regular secondary school diploma Homeschooling is especially popular in Moscow and is growing in other Russian cities. Homeschooling is illegal in Ukraine and Belarus though. The number of homeschoolers in Russia has tripled since 1994 to approximately 1 million. In most cases it is explained by the dissatisfaction with the schools systems, teaching and learning standards, the school environment and due to personal beliefs. Almost all parents that homeschool their children in Russia are convinced that this is the best way a child has to be educated as a child studies in his own pace in a peaceful and calm atmosphere, generally feels healthier and more relaxed. Besides, a child has comparatively more time just to be a kid and do various extra-curriculum activities, like sports, drama, ballet, painting, hand crafts and music. During the Soviet times a great variety of extracurricular activities were available for kids in local clubs, sports schools, and music and art schools and studious. Many closed or commercialized since then, however some are still operational and along with a great deal of private ones provide social, academic, emotional and health advantages to children.

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Non-formal education and extracurricular activities for children

Future Russian music star

Russia has a wide network of non-formal educational institutions of different types providing technical work, tourism, biology, sports, music, art, martial arts, dancing and other activities. Due to the long-established tradition and high value of all-rounded education in Russia, parents regard additional education for their children as a priority and are willing to pay for it. Many sign the children in at the very early age. This is especially true for sports.

There was the powerful system of sports schools of the USSR that gave the country famous athletes and Olympic Games winners and formed the tradition of being involved into professional sport at the very early age. Even though not all parents have an ambition to raise a sports star, most of them realize both health and social benefit of sports. Moreover major Russian cities like Moscow and St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Vladivostok, Yekaterinburg, Kazan, Ufa offer wonderful sports facilities for children. There are modern swimming pools, skating rinks, tennis courts and others. Figure skating is one of top popular sports which is proved by the fact that numerous children's figure skating clubs are opened and ice palaces are always full.

State musical schools are functioning as well. Private tuition is also widespread. Russian children start to attend music schools at the age of 6-7. However even earlier musical education is quite frequent nowadays.

Former Young Pioneer palaces and houses having transformed into children and youth centers, young naturalist stations, technical stations, youth clubs, and vacation camps continue to provide both educational and recreational activities. Emerging types of institutions include multifunctional children centers, teenage clubs, ecological and health centers, schools of folk culture and crafts, religion-related schools. Week end master classes in different crafts and talent boutiques are another popular form of extracurricular activity for children. In 2-3 hours kid learn felt making, pottery, painting, ceramics, bead-weaving, animation and photography. They have a chance to take part in exhibitions and auctions and sell their works. Aerobics classes and foreign language courses are very in high demand among teenagers and adults. In big cities, especially Moscow and St. Petersburg, numerous courses prepare young people for study abroad.

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Professional and higher education in Russia

Upon completion of a nine-year program the student has a choice of either completing the remaining two years at normal school, or of a transfer to a specialized professional training school. Not long ago it existed in forms of PTUs (Vocational Technical Schools), technicums and medical (nurse level) schools. In 2000s, many such institutions, if operational, were renamed to colleges. They provide students with a working skill qualification and a high school certificate equivalent to 11-year education in a normal school which allows one to enter a university.

Russia’s university education is provided by of state-owned institutions (more numerous) and private institutions. The total number of higher education institutions in Russia is 1134. At present Russian government aims at reduction of the number of universities. The reason is devaluation of education standard. The recent figures presented by UNESCO show that, more than half of the Russian adult population has attained a tertiary education, which is twice as high as the OECD average. Russian Ministry of Education reforms are involving the higher education as well. The general idea is to match the standards set by the Bologna Accords, a treaty that aims to create unified higher education across Europe.

Russian college girls

At the moment the higher education is provided by the following types of educational institutions: university, institute, technical university and conservatory. According to the rating ordered by the Russian Ministry of Education Russian (2011) top ten universities and institutes include:

1. Lomonosov Moscow State University
2. St. Petersburg State University
3. Moscow State Physics-technical Institute
4. Russian Universityfor the Friendship of Peoples (Moscow)
5. Novosibirsk State University
6. Tomsk State University
7. Moscow State Institute for Engineering and Physics (MIFI)
8. Moscow National Technical University (MGTU)
9. St. Petersburg National Polytechnic University
10. Southern Federal University

In 2010 some Russian universities received the right to evaluate applicants not only by the results of the Unified State Exam, but also according to self-administered exams – but only for a few of the most popular majors. Lomonosov Moscow State University and St. Petersburg State University administer their own exams in all majors due to the special status they have. Moscow State University administers the entrance exams, for all the specialties.

Russian post-graduate education is arranged in accordance with the Soviet pattern, which is based on scientific degrees (kandidat nauk (Candidate of science) and doktor nauk (Doctor of science), with the academic titles of dotsent and professor for active university staff.

More about Russian education

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