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Russia: New Rules for University Admission

(Dec. 19, 2008) On December 3, 2008, the Russian Minister of Science and Education signed a government order on new university admission procedures, which will be applicable as of summer 2009. The order repeals the existing system of high school graduation and university admission tests and introduces new federal educational standards.

According to the order, as of next spring, high school graduates must pass two standardized, mandatory exams, one in mathematics and one in the Russian language. Taking tests in the other 11 subject areas will be voluntary, but those who want to continue their studies at universities must take tests in subjects related to their future university specialization. Tests can be retaken only once. If a student fails both mandatory tests, he may retake them next year, but instead of receiving a high school diploma, the student will receive just a graduation certificate and can continue his education only at a vocational school. If a student fails a non-mandatory test, he will receive a diploma but will not be able to study that field at a university.

Under a new education calendar introduced by the order, high school graduation tests will be conducted between April and June, and in July the results will be submitted to the universities. Universities will select students, based on the test scores and high school GPA, no later than August 20. It is expected that the new process will make the notoriously corrupt university admission process more transparent and will provide equal opportunities to student candidates from different regions. (Maria Agranovich, On Educational Standards: Interview with the RF Science and Education Minister Andrei Fursenko [in Russian], ROSSIISKAIA GAZETA, Dec. 4, 2008, available at