The education system in Russia includes preschool, general and vocational education. General education has several levels: initial , primary and secondary , and also includes a special ( correctional ) and additional education of children . Vocational education is also divided into levels: beginner, intermediate and advanced level, and includes postgraduate and continuing professional education.
During the eight years (2004 to 2012 ) funding for education has increased almost four-fold. An important achievement was the improvement of the financial and economic mechanisms in the education sphere.
In terms of early childhood education with fertility dynamics being positive the provision of places in kindergartens has significantly improved over the past eight years. Today it is 63 %, which is the best indicator since 1991.
In order to improve the learning environment the corresponding requirements were specified in the new educational standards, and the process of modernization of schools, colleges and universities was launched. The main focus is maid on providing equal access to quality education for all, regardless of place of residence and social status.
The most vivid illustration of changes in Russian schools recently – is widespread equipping of computer classes and providing Internet to every school. In 2006-2008 Russia fulfilled an ambitious program to connect all schools to the Internet. Up to 300 Russian schools were connecting to the World Wide Web daily.
General introduction of the Unified State Exam (USE) started in 2001 when the first trial exam took place in several regions of Russia. Since 2009 USE has become a form of mandatory certification for all school graduates. Because of USE the first independent and objective evaluation system of knowledge appeared in Russia, as well as “social elevator” for young people across the country.
Higher education is one of the most dynamically developing area. Despite the decrease in the number of budget places (with 610.8 thousand in 2004 to 490.8 thousand people in 2011), the level of accessibility of higher education has risen. The fact is that the reduction in the number of budget places was slower than the reduction in number of high school graduates (1.5 million graduates in 2005 and 730 thousand in 2011). Thus, the number of budget places for 1000 high school graduates increased steadily: 301 people in 2007, 438 people – in 2011.
Quality vocational education is impossible without research. Schools cannot be fully competitive if professors and graduate students in addition to the process of giving and taking knowledge are not engaged in theoretical and applied research. That is why the development of university research has always been one of the priorities in the modernization of higher education.
At present Russia has more than seven hundred thousand scientists, the majority (about half a million) of those are PhD degree holders.
In Russia there are about four thousand organizations involved in theoretical and applied research.