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Despite much debate over the education system in Russia, the country has a high literacy rate. The quality of schooling has improved greatly over time, though it is still far from perfect. Russia is known to have some of the best universities in the world.
Regarding school-aged children, there are public, private and bilingual, and international school options. Most expats choose to send their children to international schools. Expat parents find that the teaching language and the method of instruction in public and private schools are not ideal for foreign children.
Entry requirements into schools may differ so expats are encouraged to contact the schools directly for more information. In general, expats must provide their visa, the child’s birth certificate and any academic records.
The school year in Moscow follows the northern hemisphere pattern, with the longest break being in the summer months. The school week is generally Monday to Friday, from 8am or 9am to 2pm or 3pm.
Generally, there are three stages of schooling: primary school with grades one to four; basic secondary school from grades five through nine; and upper secondary school up to grade 12.
Public schools in Moscow
Public school education is free to both Russian and foreign citizens. Parents would just pay for meals and school uniforms.
Classrooms tend to have many students. Quality of state schools is debatable. However, regardless, expats tend to opt for international schools because the language of instruction in state schools is mainly in Russian. This means, especially for older students that do not speak Russian, that this option is not feasible.
Private schools in Moscow
Private schools are less common than state schools. They provide the same Russian curriculum and instruct mainly in Russian, however, class sizes are smaller. Private schools are not free but are less expensive than international schools. The options for expat education in Moscow remain limited to international schools.
International schools in Moscow
Most international schools in Moscow are expensive. Curriculum models range from those that follow American or British teaching systems to ones that combine the Russian curriculum with international curricula. Many offer the International Baccalaureate (IB). There are several English-language schools to choose from, and there is also a German school, Korean school and Indian school. Most of these schools compete against each other in sports and in other extra-curricular activities.
Demand for the most prestigious schools can be high, and long waiting lists are to be expected. For this reason, expat parents moving to Moscow should attempt to enrol their children as early as possible.
Nurseries in Moscow
For expats with young children, there are day care options. Waiting lists into Russian municipal preschools are often long, however, these allow children to learn Russian. Private and international preschools in Moscow are available in English. Specific information on these is available from embassies.
Special needs education in Moscow
There are limited schooling options for children with disability in Moscow. However, efforts to develop the school system for those with disability are being made to avoid excluding children. International schools are aiming to improve the possible support they could give. The Anglo-American School of Moscow makes provisions of learning support, occupational therapy and speech programmes to enable students with mild to moderate learning disabilities to continue their education.
Homeschooling in Moscow
Homeschooling is becoming more and more common in Moscow, especially in comparison to the rest of the country. Expat parents must follow certain regulations, one that they must enrol their child into a licensed school which acts as a supervising body. In some cases, whilst being homeschools, children are entitled to resource provisions such as books. The school can also act as the exam centre when children must write formal exams.
Tutoring in Moscow
Being such a large city, Moscow has many options for finding tutors. Through a quick online search, expats can find various online platforms and portals through which they can find tutors in Moscow. This helps parents find tutors that are appropriate to suit their child’s age and educational needs.
►For a list of schools in Moscow for expats, see International Schools in Moscow
"My kids go to the French school. Our experiences have been mixed there. But overall it has met our needs (and price)." Read what Amanda has to say on her children settling into Moscow from her interview.
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