Saturday, June 5, 2021

Gap in Achievement between Russian and Non-Russian Schools Now ‘an Insurmountable Abyss,’ Federal Assessment Agency Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, June 3 – The Federal Institute for the Assessment of Educational Quality says that the gaps in achievement levels between schools in Russian regions and those in non-Russian republics and between those in Moscow and those in other predominantly ethnic Russian regions have become “an insurmountable abyss.”

            The schools in the republics and in Russian regions beyond the ring road are now so far behind that there is little chance their graduates will ever be able to catch up or have anything comparable in life trajectories ( discussed at

            Schools in Moscow are far ahead of those elsewhere with only educational institutions in St. Petersburg and Kaliningrad being anywhere close. Those in non-Russian republics in the North Caucasus and elsewhere are far behind as are the schools in most predominantly ethnic Russian regions of the country. 

            The lag among non-Russians is partially explained by the fact that many children there do not speak Russian well and the tests on which these ratings are made are exclusively in Russian. But that does not explain why schools in so many Russian regions are performing their jobs so poorly. Instead, a lack of funds and attention appears to be behind the figures.

            The rating agency also found something else which will intensify divisions in the Russian Federation. In some federal subjects, there were in the capital cities a few good schools who performed as well as those in Moscow while those outside those cities performed significantly worse than either.

            That not only means that rural areas will continue to lose ground but that the situation in the regions is even worse than the collective figures suggest because the few good schools in some regions help to boost the ranking of these regions relative to others which do not have such “good” schools.


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