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Education System in Russia

Russia has a long-standing tradition in high-quality education for all citizens. It probably has also one of the best mass-education systems in the world producing a literacy rate (98%) exceeding most Western European countries. Education is split into a compulsory Basic Education, and ongoing Higher Education.
Public spending on education; total (4.10% of GDP) in Russia was reported in 2008, according to the World Bank. Public expenditure on education consists of current and capital public expenditure on education includes government spending on educational institutions (both public and private)

History of education in Russia

Russia’s higher education system started with the foundation of the universities in Moscow and St. Petersburg in the middle of the 18th century. The system was constructed similar to that of Germany. In Soviet times all of the population in Russia had at least a secondary education. The pursuit of higher education was and still is considered to be very prestigious. More than 50% of people have a higher education.
Due in great part to demands of the international educational organizations, the system of education in Russia began to change over the past four to five years. Universities began transitioning to a system similar to that of Britain and the USA: 4 years for the Bachelor’s degree and 2 years for a Master’s degree. The universities are still in the process of these changes; some of them offer the new system and others still work according to the prior 5-year system, particularly in programs such as law.
         General education
         Professional education
         Complementary education
         Preschool education (nursery – age 1-3; kindergarten – age 3-7)
         2005 (UNESCO) – 84% of children are enrolled in any kind of preschool program
         Parents pay not more than 20% of costs
         Mainly state, only 1% of children are enrolled in private kindergartens
         Due to demographic peak (2005) – shortage of kindergartens in most settlements
         2005 (UNESCO) – 96% of adults has completed at least lower secondary education schooling
         11-years secondary education is compulsory since 2007
         Unified state examination since 2008
         Teachers’ salary must not be lower than the average salary in the region
         Vocational education (technicum (2-3 years); college (up to 4 years))
         Higher education - bachelor (4 years)
         Higher education – specialist (5 years); master (2 years)
         Higher education – preparation of highly qualified professionals (doctorate programs)
Teacher training institutions
         Professional institutions and colleges at non-university level
         Professional teacher training at the non-university level (middle level professional education) takes place at professional institutions (uchilishe) or colleges (kolledz). These institutions mainly train teachers for preschools and primary schools (years 1-4). Students entering after year 11 follow a basic 3-year program, while students entering after year 9 follow a 4-year program. It is also possible to qualify as a lower secondary teacher (years 5-9). In this case the program lasts 3 years following year 11 and 5 years following year 9. Primary school teachers may choose between a general curriculum, which prepares them for teaching all subjects in years 1 – 4 or an area/subject of specialization.
Teachers trained at professional institutions or colleges may take part-time courses to upgrade their qualifications. Some teacher training colleges have signed credit transfer agreements with teacher training institutes or universities, allowing diploma holders from professional institutions or col-leges to be exempted from 1-2 years of study. Typically, students may enter university level teacher training in the third semester, but in some cases they gain access to the fifth semester. As mentioned in chapter V, educational legislation stipulates that students should obtain 1 year of credit transfers when continuing within the same field of study.
         Teacher training institutes and universities
Teacher training institutes and universities, together with institutes and universities within other study areas where teaching qualifications can be obtained, train teachers for the lower and upper secondary levels (years 5-9 and 10-11). Although admission requirements, academic standards and awards are in principle the same at teacher training institutes and universities, in reality teacher training universities are more research oriented than institutes.
         A Specialist degree is required in order to teach at upper secondary level. Specialists who are trained at universities are mainly oriented towards teaching at the upper secondary level, but they may also teach at the lower secondary level (years 5-9). University graduates usually specialise in one subject, i.e. mathematics, biology, a language, etc.
Professional titles
         The qualification of teacher (ucitel’, prepodavatel’) may be added to a professional title or subject title when teacher training requirements are satisfied. The following examples are titles obtained after the completion of a Specialist programme lasting five years:
         Teacher in the Russian language (ucitel’ russkogo jazyka)
          Foreign language teacher (ucitel’ inostrannogo jazyka
          Teacher for primary school (ucitel’ nacal’nych klassov)
          Preschool teacher (pedagog doskol’nogo obrazovanija)
          Degrees and curricula
The following information refers to university-level teacher training program.
         University-level teacher training leads to the same degrees as other study areas in higher education, i.e. Bakalavr, Specialist, Magistr, Kandidat Nauk and Doktor Nauk. Students who have obtained a Bakalavr degree may continue their studies on a Specialist program (+ 1 year) or Magistr program (+ 2 years).
In the past the Ministry of Education issued a detailed curriculum for teacher training institutions every 5 years and monitored its application. The current reforms, on the other hand, aim to develop greater autonomy and diversity among teacher training institutions.
Teacher training program are divided into:
• foundation studies/core course within the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences (compulsory for all university higher education program)
• subject specialisation
• studies in biology and medicine
• studies in education and psychology
• introduction to the teaching profession (in-service teacher training)

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