According to andyeducation, Russia’s educational system is one of the largest and most complex in the world. It consists of three main levels: primary, secondary, and higher education. Primary education is compulsory for all children between the ages of 6 and 15. It typically consists of four years of instruction, culminating in a final exam which determines the student’s eligibility to pursue further studies at the secondary level. Secondary education in Russia is divided into two stages: general academic (gymnasium) and specialized (vocational). General academic education lasts for five years, while vocational training can last up to four years. At the end of this stage, students are awarded a certificate or diploma which allows them to pursue further studies or enter the labour market. Higher education in Russia is provided by both public and private universities, as well as other institutions such as polytechnics, academies and colleges. Public universities are funded by the state while private universities are funded by tuition fees paid by the students. Higher education consists of Bachelor’s (3-4 years), Master’s (1-2 years) and Doctoral (3-5 years) degrees. The curriculum at all levels is regulated by the Ministry of Education (MEd). In addition to traditional academic studies, Russia also offers non-formal educational opportunities such as apprenticeships, distance learning courses and vocational training programmes. These non-formal programmes provide individuals with additional skills which can be useful in their professional career or everyday life. The Russian educational system has been undergoing a process of reform since 2000 with an emphasis on increasing access to quality education for all citizens regardless of social background or financial means. In recent years, there has been an increased focus on improving teacher training and development as well as increasing public spending on education in order to improve teaching standards across all levels of schooling. See educationvv for Russia educational systems.