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Education in Russia

Education System in the Russian Federation

Russian Federation education system has proved itself over the years as one of the most developed and advanced, which combines strong traditions with adaptability to changes in the world.

The education in the Russian Federations stands under jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation.

According to information from the Ministry of Education and Science RF all educational programmes are of two levels:

- General education
- Professional education

General education comprises 3 stages corresponding to the level of education:

- Primary general education (duration 4 years);
- Basic general education (duration 5 years);
- Secondary (complete) general education (duration 2 to 3 years).

General education is compulsory and free.

Professional education in the Russian Federation is aimed at acquiring professional skills to further exercise a profession. Professional education covers the following:

- vocational education (nachalnoe professionalnoe obrazovanie); 
- non-university level higher education (srednee professionalnoe obrazovanie); 
- university level higher education (vysshee professionalnoe obrazovanie); 
- postgraduate education including doctoral study programmes (poslevuzovskoe professionalnoe obrazovanie).

Higher Education in the Russian Federation

According to information from the Federal Service of Supervision in the Sphere of Science and Education, there are three types of higher learning institutions:

-Academy (offers narrow range of professions, usually within 1 industry)
-University (covers numerous professions within numerous fields)
-Institution (conducts an extensive research recognized at a certain level).

There are also two types of educational institution ownership:

- State
- Private (founded by legal entities or natural person)

All accredited educational institutions irrespective of their form of ownership have equal rights to issue state-recognized degree certificates and to grant draft deferments.

Russian Higher Education system has undergone major changes in the recent past to stay in line with other European Higher Learning Institutions. Russia is one of the 47 countries from Europe and Asia to join the Bologna process aimed at pursuing the goals of European Higher Education studies. Thanks to this changes, students from Bologna process participant countries can easily be accepted to universities all around Europe or continue their education in the country of their choice.

At the same time Russia has not abandoned the old model of education and still offers  traditional specialist degree along with European bachelors or masters degree.

Therefore, Russian higher education offers a multi-level structure. At the moment there are 3 stages of Higher Professional Education:

1. Bachelors Degree/Bakalavr Diploma (at least 4 years)
2. Specialist Degree/ Specialist Diploma (5-6 years of study)
3. Masters degree/ Magistr Diploma (at least 6 years of study)

On receiving Specialist or Masters Degree it is possible to continue postgraduate studies, which also has 2 levels:

1. Aspirantura (graduate school, internship, residency, etc) is the lower level of postgraduate studies leading to Candidate of Science Degree
2. Doctorantura (doctoral studies) is the higher level of doctoral studies leading to Doctor of Science degree

How to join a Russian university to study on contract

To join a university of choice, a student must contact the enrolling board of the university and request for the enrollment requirements of the university and also the cost of educational courses.

Generally the universities request the following set of documents:

- A copy of the national passport
- A copy of the certificate of secondary education with grades and subjects taken
- A properly filled application form (could be forwarded by the enrolling board officers)

After the university is satisfied that the applicant meets all the requirements and can be enrolled in the university, the university issues an official invitation which allows the student to get Russian visa. Only the university of future studies can issue the invitation for a valid student visa.

Visa is generally issued within 3-5 weeks and costs around 40 USD. The applicant gets student visa which is renewed yearly by the universities.

What is Russian government scholarship?

Russian government offers up to 10 000 places for foreign students to study in Russian Higher Learning Institutions at the expense of the federal Government. The objective of admitting foreign students in Russian universities is to assist foreign states prepare highly qualified national human resources on the basis of the International treaties of the Russian Federation. On average, Kenya receives around 30 scholarships annually.

Russian government scholarship means that a student gets:

- free education
- monthly stipend (around 40 USD)
- subsidized accommodation at the university’s dormitory
- assistance in getting Russian student visa

Russian government scholarship student is expected to pay for:

- a ticket to the city of studies
- insurance fee (250 USD)
- his/her monthly upkeep

How to apply for Russian government scholarship?

A Kenyan student can apply for undergraduate or postgraduate studies to the Russian Federation online through the official website:

Promotion of Education

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One the areas of cooperation between Kenya and the Russian Federation is promotion and development of education.

The Government of the Russian Federation provides a limited number of scholarships towards the development of human resource in Kenya. The scholarships offered cover undergraduate degree courses, Masters' degree and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD.). Those who are awarded the scholarships in case of the undergraduates arrive at the beginning of the academic year in September while those for postgraduate PhD arrive later, the latest being December. These scholarships are partial whereby the Russian Federation caters for tuition and accommodation. The students or their sponsors have to cater for medical insurance, food and all other requirements including books, travelling to and from Russia and within Russia.

The selection of suitable candidates is done in Kenya by the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and science of the Russian Federation. The offer of scholarship is usually advertised in the dailies in Kenya which is followed by the selection exercise and invitation of those awarded the scholarship.

Those awarded undergraduate scholarship are legible for extension to Masters' degree following outstanding performance during their undergraduate studies. However, they need to re-apply for consideration for their masters sponsorship.

The offer of scholarship awards by the Government of the Russian Federation which stretches right from the time Kenya attained its independence during the Soviet Union has indeed contributed to the development of Kenya. Most of the Russian graduates are in the scientific fields. These graduates have continued to be absorbed in our labour force.

The offer of scholarship has encouraged many Kenyans who come to study under contract terms with the concerned universities. There are many students on contract in the Russian Federation universities. Most of these students are studying medicine.

Promotion of development of education at higher education level requires linkages and exchange programmes among various institutions or centres of excellence.

Some Russian Universities are currently interested in establishing linkages and exchange programmes with Kenyan higher education institutions.

Offering of appropriate and timely services to students requires that the embassy knows those students who come to Russia. In this regard the students are expected to contact the embassy on arrival in Russia. This provides an opportunity to the embassy to know the institutions where Kenyan students are studying.

The education system in Kenya


Historical records not only from the travels of Johann Ludwig Krapf and Johannes Rebmann reveal that Kenyans had access to education as far back as 1728 with a Swahili manuscript Utendi wa Tambuka (Book of Heraclius) attesting to the fact. The CMS missionaries interacted with locals in the coastal town of Mombasa and set up one of the earliest mission schools in the country at Rabai in 1846. Before independence elementary education was based on the colonial system of education. In 1967, Kenya, with Uganda and Tanzania, formed the East African Community. The three countries adopted a single system of education, the 7-4-2-3, which consisted of 7 years of primary education, 4 years of secondary education, 2 years of high school and 3–5 years of university education.

With the collapse of the East African community in 1977, Kenya continued with the same system of education until 1985 when the 8-4-4 system was introduced, which adopted 8 years of primary education, 4 years of secondary education and 4 years of university education.

Before joining primary school, children aged between three and six are required to attend pre-primary for one or two years.

Primary education is universal, free and compulsory and usually caters for children ages 6 to 14. A major goal of primary school education is to develop self-expression, self-discipline and self-reliance, while at the same time providing a rounded education experience.

Secondary education begins around the age of fourteen and lasts for four years. Secondary school education especially in public school is subsidized by the government, with the government paying tuition fee for students attending public secondary school.

The roots of higher education in Kenya date only from 1956 with the founding of Nairobi’s Royal Technical College, a school that would in 1970 become the country’s first university – The University of Nairobi.

Today the story has considerably more depth. Kenya has:

  • 52 public, private and constituent university college institutions.
  • A total student population of 251,000, up from 81,000 in 2003.
  • A one-year increase of 20% in newly enrolled students for the 2012-13 academic session.
  • 79,000 students in 40 technical and vocational institutions, up from 34,000 in 2003.
  • The top universities in East Africa in the area of ICT (Information and Communication Technology), according to a CPS International survey.

Recent legislative changes to university education

In September Margaret Kamar, Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology, signed The Universities Bill 2012, which seek to introduce radical changes to higher education such as:

  • Abolishing the decades-old Commission for Higher Education (CHE), which has hitherto regulated the sector, and replacing it with the Commission for University Education (CUE).
  • The CUE would advise government on university education policy, undertake accreditation inspections, monitor and evaluate the state of university education and ensure compliance with set standards.
  • Additional new bodies running the educator sector would include the Universities Funding Board, to coordinate financing of universities; the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service, to handle admissions to public universities and colleges; and the Technical and Vocational Education (TVET) Funding Board, to handle funding of the TVET sector – a role previously left in the hands of individual, middle-level colleges.

In January 2013, the bill was signed into law, bringing public universities, which were previously governed by specific acts of parliament, under the same law as private institutions.

Kenyan authorities, in partnership with the EAC (East African Community), are also promoting more student mobility. To that end, in November 2012, education ministers from Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda met in the Rwandan capital Kigali, and after three years of negotiations, approved the Inter University Council for East Africa (IUCEA) Bill 2012.

Public Universities

Following the enactment of the Universities Act No. 42 of 2012, these institutions individual Acts were repealed. This signified their award of Charters on 1st March 2013:

  • University of Nairobi (UoN) - 2013
  • Moi University (MU) - 2013
  • Kenyatta University (KU) - 2013
  • Egerton University (EU) - 2013
  • Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) 2013
  • Maseno University (MSU) - 2013
  • Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (MMUST) - 2013

University Constituent Colleges were previously established by Legal Orders under their respective mother University Acts. This was replaced after the institutions met the set accreditation standards and guidelines set by the Commission which culminated to their Charter award to be fully-fledged public universities. These institutions are:

  • Dedan Kimathi University of Technology (DKUT) - 2012
  • Chuka University (CU) – 2013
  • Technical University of Kenya (TUK) - 2013
  • Technical University of Mombasa (TUM) - 2013
  • Pwani University (PU) - 2013
  • Kisii University (EU) - 2013
  • University of Eldoret - 2013
  • Maasai Mara University - 2013
  • Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology - 2013
  • Laikipia University - 2013
  • South Eastern Kenya University – 2013
  • Meru University of Science and Technology – 2013
  • Multimedia University of Kenya - 2013
  • University of Kabianga - 2013
  • Karatina University – 2013

Public University Constituent Colleges

These were established by a Legal Order under the then Act of the University shown in bracket against each, after requisite verification of academic resources by the Commission for University Education. These are:

  • Murang’a University College (JKUAT) - 2011
  • Machakos University College (UoN) - 2011
  • The Kenya Cooperative University College (JKUAT) - 2011
  • Embu University College (UoN) - 2011
  • Kirinyaga University College (KU) - 2011
  • Rongo University College (MU) - 2011
  • Kibabii University College (MMUST) - 2011
  • Garissa University College (EU) - 2011
  • Taita Taveta University College (JKUAT) - 2011

Public University Campuses

  • Kenya Science University Campus (UoN)
  • Kitui University Campus (KU)
  • Ruiru Campus (KU)

Chartered Private Universities

These are universities that have been fully accredited:

  • University of Eastern Africa, Baraton - 1991
  • Catholic University of Eastern Africa - 1992
  • Scott Theological College - 1992
  • Daystar University - 1994
  • United States International University - 1999
  • Africa Nazarene University - 2002
  • Kenya Methodist University - 2006
  • St. Paul’s University - 2007
  • Pan Africa Christian University - 2008
  • Strathmore University - 2008
  • Kabarak University - 2008
  • Mount Kenya University - 2011
  • Africa International University - 2011
  • Kenya Highlands Evangelical University - 2011
  • Great Lakes University of Kisumu (GLUK) - 2012
  • KCA University, 2013
  • Adventist University of Africa, 2013

Private University Colleges

Catholic University of Eastern Africa has the following constituent Colleges:

  • Hekima University College (CUEA)
  • Tangaza University College (CUEA)
  • Marist International University College (CUEA)
  • Regina Pacis University College (CUEA)
  • Uzima University College (CUEA)

Universities with Letter of Interim Authority (LIA)

The following universities are operating with Letters of Interim Authority (LIA), while receiving guidance and direction from the Commission for University Education in order to prepare them for the award of Charter:

  • Kiriri Women’s University of Science and Technology - 2002
  • Aga Khan University - 2002
  • Gretsa University - 2006
  • KCA University of East Africa - 2007
  • Presbyterian University of East Africa - 2008
  • Adventist University - 2009
  • Inoorero University - 2009
  • The East African University - 2009
  • GENCO University - 2010
  • Management University of Africa - 2011
  • Riara University - 2012
  • Pioneer International University - 2012

Registered Private Universities

  • Nairobi International School of Theology
  • East Africa School of Theology
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