information for global expats

State Schools in Russia

Submitted: December 2013

Russian education is primarily co-ordinated by the state which ensures that general education is free for all. The majority of schools you will find in Russia are state schools, however, within recent times the numbers of private schools have been growing.

You will find that the education system in Russia typically begins with non-compulsory pre-school before the age of six. Pre-schools in Moscow accept children from the age of two and a half years. Upon attaining the age of six, the next step is primary school, and this marks the beginning of the Russian general education programme at all state schools.

Do note that the official name for general education schools is Secondary General Schools and the programme comprises the three stages (listed below) and is aimed at all-round development of children:

  • Primary Education (standard duration - 4 years)
  • Basic General Education (standard duration - 5 years)
  • Secondary Education (standard duration 2-3 years)

The Basic Curriculum for most schools involve Russian, foreign languages, politics, history and natural sciences to name a few. For a complete list on all the subjects areas covered under the basic curriculum see: https://en.russia.edu.ru/edu/description/sysobr/910/. Additionally, the Basic Curriculum provides for disciplines which could be added due to specifics to the particular region in which the school is located as well as in accordance with the interests of the particular pupils’ needs.

Every school is able to design its own curriculum but there are, of course, certain Russian requirements which must be adhered to. In all state schools, the language of instruction is Russian. It is also possible to find some state schools which specialise in certain subject areas such as sports, arts and math.
When a student completes primary and basic general education, they take a final examination where, if successful, they are awarded a Certificate of Basic General Education (Attestat ob Osnovom Obshchem Obrazovan). With this Certificate a student will be able to pursue secondary general education, vocational education or non-university higher level education.

When a student completes secondary general education, they will undertake the State final examinations whereupon being successful, they will be awarded a Certificate of Secondary General Education (Attestat ob Sredem Obshchem Obrazovanii). This certificate allows students to go unto higher education including university level.

General Information:

  • General education normally consists of 34 weeks of study per year and 27 to 36 hours of study per week.
  • The academic year typically runs from 1 September to the beginning of June.
  •  School examinations are in June. 
  • The school day begins at 8 a.m. and ends at 1 or 2 p.m. Classes are 5 days a week
  • Classes normally have 20-30 students
  • In primary school, pupils have one teacher for all the subjects taught
  • One class typically lasts 40 - 45 minutes with a 5 -15 minute break
  • In primary school, students have 4 classes per day. This increases to 5 or 6 classes a day in secondary school, and 6 or 7 at a senior high school
  • Students are normally graded on a scale from 2 - 5, with 5 being the top grade.
  • If a student does not perform satisfactorily, they will be ‘left back’ to repeat another year.



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