As two countries that have different cultures, economics, and politics, Russia and United Kingdom have developed their own education systems respectively, which have their differences and in certain circumstances similarities. In the paragraphs that follow, some major aspect of these will be covered. This essay will present the main structures of the education systems in both countries and will compare and contrast the two systems in terms of number of taught subjects, the structure of educational institutes and the ability to pursue higher education at the universities. I will consider both paid and free education.
Pre-higher education Today's education system in Russia is federal and centralized. Currently, it consists of, pre-school education, primary education, secondary education of 5 years, full secondary education and higher education. Formal education is from the age of 7 till 18. The duration of the school year is 34 weeks. Students are trained 5 to 6 days a week. In Russia, many types of secondary schools exist, such as common schools, lyceums, gymnasiums, etc. , and they teach variety of different educational programs. In Russia, as in the UK, private and public schools are differentiated.
Basic education lasts for 9 years (9 classes). It is completed by successfully passing the "GIA" exam (State Final Attestation). After finishing 9 classes students are thought to have acquired incomplete secondary education. At the end of the 11th class students pass the "RSE" exam (Russian State Exam) and successful pass completed their secondary education. Students normally go to university from the age of 18 to do their academic degree. A modern system of education in UK consists of early childhood education, primary education, secondary education and higher education.
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Across the country a free public education for all children between the ages of 5 to 16 years exists. The duration of the academic year at schools is 38 weeks. The year is divided into trimesters, which are separated by holidays: summer (6 weeks), Christmas and Easter (2-3 weeks). A week break is provided in the mid of trimester. The working week lasts for 5 days. The school day usually lasts from 9:00 to 15:30, with a lunch break in between. Although counterintuitive in UK paid schools are called ‘public schools’ and free are called ‘state’ schools. However for the purposes of this essay I will name chools which are paid – private, which are free - public. They take the primary school graduates with different levels of mental abilities. They were organized with the aim of creating equal opportunities for education. In grammar schools the child receives a general upper secondary education. The principle of differentiated curriculum serves as the basis of teaching at this type of schools. High School is completed by successfully passing the GCSE exams (General Certificate of Secondary Education).
Higher education Education in Russia is provided predominantly by the state and is regulated by the Ministry of Education and Science. Regional authorities regulate education within their jurisdictions in context of the prevailing framework of federal laws. Depending on the number of areas of study, students are divided into colleges, universities, academies and institutes. University graduates may have following qualifications: bachelor, graduate, master's degree in the relevant areas of training (specialization).
Graduate who has successfully passed the final state certification by doing an accredited educational program in an accredited educational institute receives a transcript of his qualifications of his level of education. Russia is in the process of migrating from its traditional tertiary education model, incompatible with existing Western academic degrees, to a modernized degree structure in line with Bologna Process model. Russia had enacted a law that replaces the traditional five-year model of education with a two-tiered approach, namely a four-year bachelors’ degree followed by a two-year of masters’ (Russian magistr) degree.
However, regardless of the changes made by the state, training methodology and the quantity of taught subjects have survived. In the first two years of an undergraduate degree, all students regardless of their degree end up studying between 12 and 15 subjects. And on the third and fourth courses, it reduces to 3 to 5 subjects specifically targeting their chosen profession. Furthermore general education in Russia is free and is guaranteed by the constitution of the country. However there is also an option of paid education. Furthermore if a candidate has fallen short of the entry requirements of any particular university, the ‘university commission’ may give him an opportunity to still study there, but on paid basis. In all public universities 80% of the seats are for free study, and only 20% is for paid. All students who are studying for free get a stipend (study salary). The fellowship amount is dependent on the rating of the university. However Russian education for international students is only on paid for basis, but they have the opportunity to study free if they receive a special scholarship from the Russian state.
It is conditional on passing an exam called "RSE" (Russian State Exam). There are also few private universities, which are can issue state diplomas. But often, due to low ratings in the league table and poorer quality of education, these universities are not popular. In Russia, a degree from a state university is valued higher than independent one, for the purposes of a future employment. Historically in UK, all undergraduate education outside the private University of Buckingham and BPP University College was largely state-financed, with a small contribution from top-up fees, however fees of up to 000 per annum will be charged from October 2012 .
The typical first degree offered at English universities is the bachelor's degree, and usually lasts for three years. Many institutions now offer an ‘undergraduate master's degree’ as a first degree, which typically lasts for four years. During a first degree students are known as undergraduates. The difference in fees between undergraduate and traditional postgraduate master's degrees (and the possibility of securing LEA funding for the former) makes taking an undergraduate master's degree as a first degree a more attractive option.
However the novelty of an ‘undergraduate master's’ degrees means that the relative educational merit of it is currently unclear. Some universities offer a part-time education, which typically lasts for two years and is tailored for those students who want to do their university degree but also wish to remain in employment. Regarding the number taught subjects, British universities concentrate most of their attention on subjects that are needed for ones profession. They are usually no more than 5 subjects and make up ‘core’ of the degree. Studying and successfully passing these subjects is crucial for one to qualify in their degree. Such system makes it possible for universities to prepare highly skilled workers. It helps for the graduates to be competitive in the labor market, as professional edge is crucial in today’s era of globalization and migration of labor from around the world. Regardless of the differences and similarities of educational systems in the UK and Russia, education remains one of the most important aspects of the development of the country.
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