Russians have always shown a great concern for education. The right to education is stated in the Constitution of the Russian Federation. It is ensured by compulsory secondary schools, vocational schools, and higher education establishments. It is also ensured by the development of extramural and evening courses and the system of state scholarships and grants.
Education in Russia is compulsory up to the 9th form inclusive. The stages of compulsory schooling in Russia are: primary education for ages 6-7 to 9-10 inclusive; secondary education including intermediate school for ages 10-11 to 12-13 inclusive, and senior school for ages 13-14 to 14-15 inclusive. If a pupil of a secondary school wishes to go on in higher education, he or she must stay at school for two more years. Primary and secondary together comprise 11 years of study. Every school has a "core curriculum" of academic subjects, such as Russian, Literature, Mathematics, History, a foreign language and others. Lyceums and gymnasiums offer programs giving a profound knowledge in same field of study.
After finishing the 9th form one can go on to a vocational school which offers programmes of academic subjects and a programme of training in a technical field, or a profession.
After finishing the 11th form of a secondary school, a lyceum or a gymnasium one can go on in higher education. All applicants must take Centralized Testing. Higher education institutions, that is, institutes or universities, offer a 5-year programme of academic subjects for undergraduates in a variety of fields, as well as a graduate course. If one finishes a graduate course and writes a thesis, he or she receives a candidate's degree or a doctoral degree.
Higher educational establishments are headed by Rectors. Prorectors are in charge of academic and scientific work. An institute or a university has a number of faculties, each specializing in a field of study. Faculties have specialized councils which confer candidate and doctoral degrees.
The system of secondary and higher education in Russia is going through a transitional period. The main objectives of the reform are: to decentralize the higher education system, to develop a new financial mechanism, to give more academic freedoms to faculties and students. All secondary schools, institutes and universities until recently have been funded by the state. Now there is quite a number of private fee-paying primary and secondary schools; some universities have fee-paying departments.