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System of Russian Secondary Education.

Russia has 11-grade system of secondary education. It is compulsory up to the 9th year. Children begin school at age 6 or 7 and study for 4 years to receive their primary education. After they complete their first four years, they study for another 5 years to receive their basic secondary education. The Secondary Education Certificate of Partial Completion is awarded after the first 9 years. After finishing the 9th grade, graduates of this level may continue their education for another two years at a senior high school to complete their secondary general education or they may enter schools of initial and intermediate professional education. Those who have chosen senior high school anticipate studying for another two years. Secondary education leads to the award of the ATTESTAT (a Certificate of Completed General Secondary education.) The Attestat is awarded directly by individual schools. Students receive between 32-38 hours of weekly instruction. The curriculum includes compulsory subjects like physics, math, literature, etc. In addition, students may choose from several elective subjects which individual schools offer.

There are four main types of secondary schools in Russia.

  • There are so-called obscheobrazovatelnye schools - secondary schools of general education, for example obscheobrazovatelnya school # 20, etc. Unlike the USA schools in Russia have numbers and very rear have names of outstanding people in their names. The word &qout;ordinary&qout; is often used when we talk about that type schools.
  • There are schools offering intensive studies in certain subjects. There may be different subjects, like math, physics,.. certain language, for examole, English, German, French…Those schools are often called specialized or special. There might also be schools offering intensive studies in certain subjects and affiliated (associated) with certain Russian institutes or universities. In this case, usually the affiliation is reflected in the name of that particular school, for example, school affiliated with Moscow Aviation Technical Institute, school affiliated with Moscow State Unversity, etc.
  • Gymnasiums are institutes functioning in the sphere of basic and senior secondary education and focus primarily on subjects within the humanities.
  • Lyceums are institutes functioning in the sphere of basic and senior secondary education and focus on studying technical and natural fields of study.

Most lyceums and gymnasiums are located in large cities, like Moscow and St Petersburg. There are very few lyceums and gymnasiums in smaller regions. These are mostly private (non state) organizations and commonly charge higher tuition rates. In addition to higher costs, many lyceums and gymnasiums also distinguish themselves from other state funded schools by being very selective in their acceptance process. At present, they make up 8% of the total number of all schools in Russia.

Natalia Rozanova,
NAFSA 55th Annual Conference,
Salt Lake City, UT, May 25-30, 2003.

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