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HIGHER EDUCATION IN RUSSIA
So, you have got acquainted with the British system of higher education. And what do you know about the system of higher education in Russia? Read the text and learn the information about the present day situation in the system of higher education in our country.
The Russian Federation has had a long and distinguished history of education and science. The system of higher education has changed greatly over the last decade and this transformation process continues today. At present an educational institution can choose how to organize its educational process, select and hire its own staff, organize its own research, financial and economic activity to train up-to-date well-qualified specialists and to meet international standards of education.
Higher education is provided by public and non-state accredited higher education institutions. The majority of state institutes of higher education are regulated by the Ministry of Education of the Russian Federation. Some of them are regulated by other state Ministries, such as the Ministry of Health Care, the Ministry of International Affairs and others. At present, there are three basic kinds of higher education institutions.
Universitiesoffer a wide spectrum of programs on all levels of education: undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate. Universities are leading research centers in fundamental fields that combine learning, teaching and research. There are 'classical' and 'technical' universities, which pay special attention to social sciences and humanities or natural and applied (engineering) sciences. Unofficial ratings also distinguish old 'classical' universities and 'new' universities, former pedagogical or technical institutes that have acquired their university status quite recently. Moscow State University is the oldest Russian university. It was founded on the initiative of M.V. Lomonosov in 1755 on Saint Tatyana's Day. And since that time Students' Day is celebrated on the 25th January.
Academiesare higher educational institutions that provide higher education at all levels and conduct research mainly in one branch of science, technology or culture (Academy of Mining, Academy of Arts, etc.). They differ from universities only in that they restrict themselves to a single field.
Institutesare multi-discipline oriented higher educational institutions. They can be independent structural units, or part of a university or academy and usually specialize in one field. However pedagogical institutes are responsible for all spectrum of disciplines taught at schools.
Speaking about Private educational institutions,they offer degrees in non-engineering fields such as business, culture, sociology and religion. Many of the private educational institutions are fairly small and mainly have local importance in their respective region. As a rule they were opened for the professions that were demanded by the local labour market: lawyers, economists and accountants.
The Constitution and the Russian Federation Law on Education guarantee open and free access to higher education on a competitive basis. Applications are accepted from citizens of both sexes who have completed secondary education and passed a competitive entrance examination, which is given by each higher education institution on general subjects. The higher education admissions system presently is undergoing reform. To promote equity of higher education the Uniform State Exam was introduced. Soon all higher educational institutions will use this new system of uniform entrance exams and it will be possible to apply to several higher educational institutions at the same time.
The Law on Education also sets the quota of students, which are financed, from the Federal Budget. Therefore, a certain proportion of top scoring students are awarded free tuition and scholarships from the federal budget to cover their costs. However, the scholarship is very low and only covers minimum expenses. On top of the quotas described above, the universities are free to enroll students on a fee-paying basis and have the right to define the fee for their programme according to the market price and demand.
The academic year lasts ten months from the 1st September to the end of June of the following year. It is divided into two semesters. Almost all courses at the universities and institutes are taught by lectures, tutorials, group learning, project work and partly by computer assisted learning. Students' work during the course is assessed by means of essays, seminar work, reports on practical and project work. Twice a year, at the end of each term, students take final exams.
The government of the Russian Federation has approved three levels of study:
Level I generally takes 2 years of study. This level concentrates on compulsory fundamental courses in the given disciplines. Students holding a Level I qualification may either continue their studies or, if they choose, leave the institution with an intermediate diploma.
Level II takes additional two years leading to a Bachelor's degree. Consequently, this first academic degree entails four years of study.
Level III represents an educational level for the students who receive the Diploma of higher education in special fields after five years of study or the Master's degree after 6 years of study.
After the graduation from the higher educational institutions students can enter the post-graduate course. There are two levels of doctoral scientific degrees: The Candidate of Sciences and The Doctor of Sciences. The Candidate of Sciences is granted after at least a three-year period of guided research and public defense of a thesis. The Doctor of Sciences is the highest academic degree awarded in Russia. The degree requires the completion of a dissertation that includes results of fundamental scientific or applied significance and the content of the dissertation must be based on the original research.
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