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Russia makes stride in education reform

Russia's parliament passed in a final reading a bill introducing a common exam system for high school graduates, authorizing a major shift from Soviet-era to Western-style educational standards.

The new system, which has already been applied in some regions on an experimental basis, is expected to curb corruption at university entrance exams, making education more accessible and improving its quality.

Final-year students in high schools across the country will take common state exams, whose results could subsequently be filed with colleges and universities. Under the bill, the new requirements will become generally binding by 2009

Some universities, however, would be allowed to require additional specialized exams as a concession to critics who have said multiple-choice tests used in the single-exam system are not a proper assessment tool for disciplines in the humanities, which do not lend themselves to definitive answers to questions.

Critics have also argued that the proposed changes do not help students develop their critical thinking skills and only train them to memorize facts and dates.

The bill outlines provisions for high school graduates who would benefit from special consideration at the entrance exams, including parentless children, disabled children, children from low-income families, Olympic champions, school contest winners and others.

Russia's educational system has remained largely unchanged since Soviet times, when it was free. However, spending on education plummeted following the collapse of the Soviet Union, affecting professors' salaries and fostering corruption.

Many state institutions have introduced commercial courses of study in recent years, above all in economics, law and other disciplines in demand in modern Russia, compared with an earlier focus on science, technology and art.

(Source: RIA Novosti)

Education system in Russia

Education system in Russia is similar to European and American education systems.
It is a 2 cycle education system:
-undergraduate level of education System in Russia: Bachelor degree,
-postgraduate level of education System in Russia: Master degree and Ph.D.

There is one difference between Russian and European education systems: 5-year engineer / Specialist programs.

Russia joined to Bologna agreement (Intеgrating process of developing common European education system). So, the number of non-degree programs in Russia is decreasing.

Bologna process in Russia

Bologna process is the creation of the European Higher Education Area. The main objectives of the Bologna declaration are to increase the mobility and employability of European higher education graduates thus ensuring competitiveness of European higher education on the world scale. The Russian Federation joined Bologna process in 2003.

Basic characteristics of Bologna process:
- 3 cycled system of higher education (Bachelor's Degree, Master's Degree, Doctor's Degree).
- usage of a credit system.
- mobility of students and staff around the European Higher Education Area.
- the joint European Diploma Supplement
- Quality control of higher education.
- creation of the European Higher Education Area.

Being a holder of the Secondary School Certificate or an equivalent, you can study through all levels, starting from Bachelor to Doctoral Studies.

A degree or diploma holder of any higher school can be admitted to a successive learning level after accreditation of his/her prior learning.


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