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Children start school at the age of six in Russia. The course of studies at school is eleven years now: four years of primary school and seven years of secondary school. Previously it was only ten years: three years of primary school and seven years of secondary school. Children under the age of six are taken to crèches and nursery schools.

There is a wide choice of schools nowadays: state schools, private schools, lyceums and gymnasiums. The majority of schools is free of charge, but in some (usually private ones) parents have to pay for the education of their children. In ordinary schools parents sometimes pay for additional subjects in the curriculum, such as a foreign language or arts.Though it is generally not a demand, most children can already read and write when they start their school: this makes education much easier for them.

In primary school there are three or four lessons a day, they usually ire Reading, Writing and Arithmetic. A lesson lasts forty minutes. During the first term children get used to learning and adapt to school i regulations. Beginning with the second term of the first year at school, children also take Handicrafts, Drawing, Music and Physical Education. The list of subjects under study is further extended during the second, third and fourth years and includes the World History of Arts, fundamentals of Security, History, Geography, and others. At primary schools all lessons are usually conducted by one teacher.

At the age of ten children pass to the second stage of education, known as secondary school. In secondary school there is a wide variety of subjects under study, and teachers specialize. The transition from primary to secondary school is sometimes difficult for children. After finishing the ninth form and getting the Certificate of Basic Secondary Education, schoolchildren may either continue their education in the tenth form, or leave school and go to technical (vocational) schools and colleges.

After eleven years at school the school leavers take examinations and get the Certificate of Complete Secondary Education. Those who have only excellent marks in the Certificate get a gold medal, which gives the right to enter higher school taking only one examination.

The admission to higher school is competitive and based on the system of entrance examinations, usually three or four. During the examinations the school leavers must show their abilities in the chosen field. Young people also have an option to get specialized secondary education in vocational schools after leaving the eleventh form.

Among higher educational establishments are institutes (colleges), academies and universities. The term of studying in higher school is from four to six years. Students can be involved in scientific research while studying. At the end of their final year at college, university or academy they take final examinations and get a diploma. Besides they can take postgraduate courses in the chosen field.



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