Education in Russia is compulsory for children between the ages of 6 and 15. It consists of primary school education for ages 6-10, followed by senior school for ages 10-15. If a pupil of secondary school wishes to go on in higher education, he or she must remain to complete secondary school for 2 more years, from ages 15-17.
Primary and secondary school includes 11 years of study. Every school has a core curriculum of academic subjects. After completing this stage, pupils are awarded the Attestat o Srednem (Polnom) Obshchem Obrazovanii (Certificate of Secondary Complete General Education).
At 15 years old, children may choose to enter a vocational school or non-university institute. These typically offer programmes of academic subjects and a programme of training in a technical field until students reach 17 or 18. Such institutions used to be called technikum but now most of them are known as colleges.
Classwork often means reciting and written and oral testing. Criticism by the teacher in front of the class is frequent. If a student does not perform to standard, they will be ‘left back’ to remain another year.
School Hours and Holidays
The Russian school year is comprised of 4 terms with vacations in between; 1 week in November, 2 weeks in January, 1 week in March and nearly 3 months in summer. School is held from September 1 until the final week of May, with exams in June.
The school day normally starts at 8 a.m. and finishes at 1 or 2 in the afternoon. Students generally attend class 5 days a week, although some schools require extra study on Saturdays.
A typical lasts 40 - 45 minutes with a 5 -15 minute break in between. In primary school students have 4 classes a day. This increases to 5 or 6 classes a day in secondary school, and 6 or 7 at a senior high school.
A normal class consists of 20-30 students. In primary school, pupils have one teacher for all the subjects taught.
Subjects and Grades
Some subjects are mandatory such as Russian literature, Russian language, Russian history, world history and the maths and sciences. In addition, there are specialized schools that concentrate on specific subjects.
Students are normally graded on a scale from 2 - 5, with 5 being the top grade. Each student has his or her “diary”; a personal book of academic achievements in which teachers record the given grades.
Private and International Schools
Private schools are relatively uncommon in Russia. Such schools emphasize learning English and other critical skills. Unlike state schools, private schools usually charge tuition fees.
There are also international schools for expat children in major Russian cities, such as the Anglo-American School of Moscow. Established by the US, UK and Canadian Embassies in Moscow, the school features state of the art facilities and equipment.