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Russia: Higher Education Reform

(Nov. 2, 2007) On October 11, 2007, the Federation Council (legislature) of Russia passed a law that introduced a two-tier higher education system. As of 2009, the existing five-year university education system will be replaced by a "four plus two" system – four years for a bachelor's degree and two for a masters, although specialist degrees will continue to involve five years of study, which will preclude the holders of specialist degrees from obtaining the masters degree. The list of the specialties that require continuous five-year education will be issued and periodically updated by the government. In proposing this law, the government stated that the move will push Russian higher educational institutions to modernize and adopt study programs in accordance with Western standards. In 2003, Russia joined the "Bologna process" in an attempt to make its education more compatible with that of Europe. It is expected that only ten percent of current educational institutions will retain graduate programs. (Marina Lemutkina, Na Dvukh Urovniakh [On Two Tiers], GAZETA.RU, Oct. 12, 2007.)