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 within the prevailing framework of federal laws. Russia’s expenditure on education has grown from 2.7% of the GDP in 2005 to 3.8% in 2013, but remains below the OECD average of 5.2%.
Before 1990 the course of school training in Soviet Union was 10 years, but at the end of 1990 the 11-year course had been officially entered. Education in state-owned secondary schools is free; first tertiary (university level) education is free with reservations: a substantial number of students are enrolled for full pay. Male and female students have equal shares in all stages of education, except tertiary education where women lead with 57%.
The literacy rate in Russia, according to a 2015 estimate by the Central Intelligence Agency, is 99.7% (99.7% men, 99.6% women). According to a 2016 OECD estimate, 54% of Russia’s adults (25- to 64-year-olds) has attained a tertiary education, giving Russia the second highest attainment of college-level education in the world. 47.7% have completed secondary education (the full 11-year course); 26.5% have completed middle school (9 years) and 8.1% have elementary education (at least 4 years). Highest rates of tertiary education, 24.7% are recorded among women aged 35–39 years (compared to 19.5% for men of the same age bracket).
In 2014, the Pearson/Economist Intelligence Unit rated Russia’s education as 8th best in Europe and 13th best in the world; Russia’s educational attainment was rated as the 21st highest in the world and the students’ cognitive skills as the 9th highest.
In 2016 the US company Bloomberg rated Russia’s higher education as the third best in the world, measuring the percentage of high-school graduates who go on to attend college, the annual science and engineering graduates as percent of all college graduates, and science and engineering graduates as percent of the labor force.
In 2014, Russia was the 6th most popular destination for international students.
Joseph Stiglitz, a former chief economist of the World Bank, states that one of the good things that Russia inherited from the Soviet era is “a high level of education, especially in technical areas so important for the New Economy“.