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ESL Topics: Educational system in Russia

Education System in Russia
Russia has a long-standing tradition in high-quality education for all citizens. It probably has also one of the best mass-eduction systems in the world producing a literacy rate (98%) exceeding most Western European countries. Education is split into a compulsory Basic Education, and ongoing Higher Education.

Compulsory Basic Education
Basic general education lasts for nine years. Graduates of this level may continue their education at senior high school to receive secondary general education. They may also enter an initial vocational school or non-university level higher education institutions. Initial vocational schools include PTU (Professional'no-technicheskoe uchilische) which offer one-and-a-half to two years' purely professional education and a Professional'ny Litsei which offer joint professional and secondary general education for three to four years and skilled workers' training at different levels. Non-university level higher education institutions also offer three- to four-year professional and secondary general education and two-year vocational training for holders of the School Leaving Certificate. Secondary general education on the basis of basic general education continues for two years and ends when students are 17-18. Graduates from a secondary general school may apply for entrance to a higher education institution. Secondary education leads to the award of the Attestat o Srednem (Polnom) Obshchem Obrasovanii (Certificate of Secondary Complete General Education).

Higher Education
Higher education is provided by public and non-public (non-State) accredited higher education institutions. There are two levels of higher education:
Basic higher education (4 years) leading to the Bakalavr's degree, the first university level degree. This is equivalent to the B.Sc. degree in the US or Western Europe
Postgraduate higher education (5-6 years or more). After two years, students are entitled to receive a Magistr's degree. This is equivalent to a Master's Degree (M.Sc, M.A.) in the US or Western Europe. After a Master's degree, students can continue to study towards a doctoral degree: Kandidat Nauk degree (the first level, equivalent to Ph.D.) and Doktor Nauk degree (the second, highest level, equivalent to Professor).

The public educational system in Russia includes pre-schools, general schools, specialised secondary and higher education. So-called pre-schools are kindergartens in fact. Children there learn reading, writing and maths. But pre-school education isn't compulsory - children can get it at home. Compulsory education is for children from 6(7) to 17 years of age. The main branch in the system of education is the general schools which prepare the younger generation for life and work. There are various types of schools: general secondary schools, schools specialising in a certain subject, high schools, gymnasiums and so on. The term of study in a general secondary school is 11 years and consists of primary, middle and upper stages. At the middle stage of a secondary school children learn the basic laws of nature and society at the lessons of history, algebra, literature, physics and many others. After 9th form pupils have to sit for examinations. Also they have a choice between entering the 10th grade of a general secondary school or going to professional school. Pupils who finish the general secondary school, receive a secondary education certificate, giving them the right to enter any higher educational establishment. One has to study in the institute for 5 years. Higher educational institutions train students in one or several specialisations.

ESL Writing: Useful phrase - formal letters

Useful Phrases for writing formal letters

a) Writing formal letters generally:

Greetings:
Dear Sir
Dear Madam
Dear Sir/Madam
Dear Mr Brown
Dear Ms Jones

Reason for writing:
I am writing in response to your article/advertisement/letter
I am writing with regard to your article/advertisement/letter
I am writing regarding your article/advertisement/letter
Ending the letter:
I look forward to receiving your reply
I look forward to your reply
I look to hearing from you
I am, yours faithfully (if you don't know the name of the person you are writing to)
I am, yours sincerely (if you know the name of the person you are writing to)
Yours faithfully
Yours sincerely


b) Writing formal letters to complain:

Reason for writing:
I am writing in order to complain about
I am writing to complain about
Introducing the complaint:
Firstly
In the first place
First of all
My first complaint is
The first problem is
The first thing I would like to draw your attention to is
My first concern is
Introducing further complaints:
Secondly
In the second place
Not only …….but also
In addition
In addition to this
Added to this
…….was also unacceptable
Demanding action:
I suggest that you replace the item
I therefore suggest that I be given a full refund
I would be grateful if my money was refunded
I would be grateful if you could give me a full refund

Ending the letter:
I look forward to hearing from you
I look forward to receiving a full refund
I look forward to receiving a replacement
I look forward to receiving your explanation

c) Writing formal letters to make suggestions:

Reason for writing:
I am writing to suggest
I am writing to arrange
I am writing to offer suggestions
I am writing make arrangements
Making first suggestion:
My first suggestion is
First of all I suggest
I would like to suggest

Making further suggestions:
Another possibility is
A further possibility is
I further suggest
I would further suggest
Secondly
Offering a choice:
Would you therefore mind choosing between ….?
Either……or
You might choose either ……. Or

d) Writing formal letters to request information

Reason for writing:
I am writing to receive further information about
I am writing to enquire about
I am writing to receive more detailed information about
I am writing to receive further details about

Requesting first piece of information:
The first thing I would like to know is
First of all I would like to know
I wonder if you would mind telling me first of all ….?
Requesting further information:
Could you also tell me….?
Could you also inform me ….?
Would you also mind informing me ….?
Would you also mind telling me ….?
Do you know ….?
I would also like to know if
I would also like to know whether
I hope you might also let me know about …

Thanking for information:
I would like to thank you in advance for this information
Thanking you in advance for this information
Thanking you in advance

e) Writing formal letters to give information:

Reason for writing:
I am writing to inform you about
I am writing to provide you with information about
I am writing to let you know that
Providing first point:
The first thing I would like to inform you of is
The first thing I would like to tell you is
The first thing I wish to inform you of is
I would like to begin by informing you
Providing further points:
I would also like to let you know that
I would also like to inform you that
You might also find the following information useful
It might also be useful for you to know that
Another piece of information that might be useful

Ending the letter:
If you require further information, please do not hesitate to as
If I can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to ask
I will willingly provide further information on request
I am at your disposal should you require further information
I am at your disposal should you need further assistance
Please do not hesitate to ask should you require further information


f) Writing formal letters to request permission

Reason for writing:
I am writing to ask permission for
I I am writing to ask permission to
am writing to request permission to
I am writing to request permission for
I am writing to ask if I might

Making first request:
Firstly I wonder if you would
First of all I wonder whether you would mind
The first request I would like you to consider is

Making further requests:
I would be grateful if you would also consider
I wonder if it might be possible for me to
I would also like to request permission for
I would also like to request permission to

Thanking for permission
Many thanks for kindly considering my requests
Thank you for considering my requests