Education in Russia

Education is one of the most important parts in our life which can determine not just our future profession but also our interests and hobbies. The middle of August is the time when a new school year begins all over the world that is why it is a good moment to present the educational system of Russia.

The school

The basic school education is mandatory in Russia for everybody and lasts 9 years. The entire school education consists of 11 years. According to a new law, all Russian children go to school at the age of 7, before it was allowed to start the school at the age of 6,5 or 8. The school year in Russia in compare to another countries begins on the 1st of September and is a holiday which is celebrated at school among pupils and teachers. It is very common to bring flowers for teachers as symbol of respect and joy of coming year.

Each year at school is called класс (class), the first four years are called начальная школа (primary school). During the first year children are taught how to write Russian cursive, how to count, to read, they draw, do sport and have lessons of music. Next three years they continue all these subjects and also get knowledge in mathematics, Russian language and literature, they learn foreign language, aspects of biology, history and have crafts lessons.

The secondary school begins in the fifth year where children start classes of geography, social theory, they go deeper into biology and history, they start to learn the second foreign language. In all Russian schools there is a subject which can be translated as «the basics of surviving skills». This course is devoted to such topics as what to do if you are lost in a forest (how to filter the water, how to give signals by the campfire, what plants, mushrooms and berries are edible etc.), what to do during a gas attack, how to distinguish chlorine and ammonia, how to use and wear gas mask etc. Beginning from the seventh year pupils, when classes of drawing, craft and music are over, learn algebra, computer science and physics while continue all another subjects. In eighth class chemistry is added to the schedule of pupils and in some schools technical drawing can be also included into the school program. The ninth year is the last mandatory school year. At the end pupils who make the decision to leave school and all who follow the school program further pass a special exam to receive their papers of education. Pupils who stay at school have two years more (high school) to end their education and to go to university. Usually, two last years at school are characterized by a specification. E.g in Russian gymnasiums, it is common to focus on literature, art or languages, in lyceums it will be paid more attention to mathematics, physics and computer science, in regular school the program is balanced organized. At the end of 11lth class pupils pass exam which is called ЕГЭ (unified state examination) according to their university requirements.


College in Russia is different from the usual understanding of this word. As it was mentioned above the basic school education lasts 9 year and after this pupils can end the school. But what do they do after it? People who are not sure about necessity of higher education, who want to get the profession of hairdresser, mechanic, cooker etc., who would like to earn money earlier than their ex-classmates go to college to get necessary skills and practice. Usually, the education at college lasts three years. Students continue to learn basic school subjects but not so deep as at school and they mostly focus on their specialization. After college students can go to university as well if they need it and can begin with the second or the third university year because they have already learnt a good amount of information.

Higher education

In 2003 Russia became a part of Bologna Process. It allows Russian students to participate in different scholarships abroad and Russian diplomas can be considered and regarded all over the world, however there are some differences. Higher education in Russia is splitted in four steps. First step is bachelor (бакалавриат) and lasts four years which is different from the majority of western countries. The second step is master studies (магистратура) which cover two years and where students learn their specialization thoroughly. If students decide to become a researcher and be the part of scientific society, they go to so called aspirantura studies. Aspirantura is a step between master studies and the whole PhD. During three years people research a topic which will be estimated by the scientific society. A person who presented his or her dissertation and fulfill all the requirements is called кандидат наук (directly translated «the candidate of science») and is welcomed to work at universities or to research further. The full doctor grade (habilitation) will be reached during further doctor studies.


Education a long and interesting way that people follow. Do you like to study? What is the education system in your country? What would you like to know more about education in Russia? Share your opinion in comments and we will be glad to reply you!

Author: Aleksandra Shilovskaia

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