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The education system in the Russian Federation (RF) is regulated by the Constitution of the RF (1993), the Law on Education in the Russian Federation (adopted in 2012 and enacted in 2013) and the State Programme “Development of Education” for years 2013-2020.

Under Article 43 of the Constitution of the RF, citizens have the right to free secondary vocational education and training (VET) and higher professional education (HE) if they are working towards their degree/diploma for the first time.

According to the Para 2 Article 5 of the Law on Education in the Russian Federation, Russian citizens are entitled to education irrespective of their gender, race, ethnicity, language, origin, residence, religion, convictions, membership in public organisations, age, health, social, material and employment status and previous conviction.

The RF Government Programme “Development of Education for 2013-2020” approved by Resolution of the RF Government of 15 April 2014 No. 295 identifies among key development targets creating conditions for every RF individual to access professional and vocational education and training (including higher education).

The Russian Federation does not have “dead end” learning paths which preclude access to the next level of education.

The key principles governing the education system are universal access, quality and personal development.

Formally, as is indicated above, access and equality are guaranteed by the Constitution. To ensure equal access, a Uniform State Examination (USE, единый государственный экзамен, ЕГЭ) was introduced that is taken on completion of complete general secondary education. While previously enrolment at higher education institutions (HEIs) was based solely on entrance examinations, currently, it is based on the results of the USE (ЕГЭ). Each HEI sets its own requirements to the USE score to be obtained by general school-leavers opting for enrolment on their programmes. Also universities can institute additional selection procedures. The list of programmes, enrolment to which requires additional examinations is approved by the Ministry of Education and Science together with a list of subjects for these additional examinations. Only two universities (Moscow State University and St. Petersburg State University) have been granted the right to independently determine subjects for additional examination.

At public HEIs, enrolment figures are determined every year by the federal body of the executive power to which the HEI is affiliated. Every HEI can enroll students on a contractual (fee-paying) basis within the maximum enrolment figures indicated in its license.