Moscow listed among world's school education leaders

Moscow listed among world's school education leaders
Last year, the survey covered over 80 countries and localities.

Moscow school students have improved their reading literacy to enter the world's TOP 3, joined the TOP 5 in mathematics, and TOP 6 in natural sciences, according to a survey by the Programme for International Student Assessment.

Last year's survey covered over 80 countries and localities. Moscow was involved both as a separate locality, and as a region within the Russian Federation. Experts assessed knowledge of 7,289 students aged 15 from 151 Moscow educational institutions.

'PISA is one of the key surveys to assess the quality of education at the international level. It analyses how students apply knowledge gained during their studies. Moscow's got a very high score. According to PISA 2018 survey, Moscow has surpassed last year's top leaders, namely Finland, Canada and South Korea, with regions not comparable in terms of population excluded. I hope that Moscow's experience will be valuable to other regions,' said Sergei Kravtsov, Head of the Federal Service for Supervision of Education and Science.

Students completed tasks on computers. School administration officers filled in special questionnaires. Reading literacy was a top priority of the 2018 survey, with a new focus on global competence.

'Due to the fact that all Moscow schoolchildren enjoy equal opportunities in receiving quality education, they show great skills in all survey areas, such as reading literacy, information search, understanding the difference between facts and opinions. So, Moscow has left behind Canada and Ireland by the level of knowledge. In the 2016 ranking, they shared the same position, second only to some provinces of China and Singapore,' added Andreas Schleicher, Director for Education and Skills of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Moscow has made it to improve its score of 2016, with Moscow schoolchildren ranking 6th. Moscow schools have significantly improved the level of natural science and scientific literacy, moving 6 spots up at once, from 12th in 2016 to 6th in 2018. As for all survey areas, the results of Muscovites were better than the national ones.

'The findings of the international survey show that we have made it both to keep our positions in the ranking and significantly improve the score, becoming one of the world's school education leaders. This is the best proof that all the changes made in Moscow education over the past 8 years have really improved its quality. I believe that this survey, as well as other results showing an increase in the quality of education in Moscow, will finally put an end to the discussion of whether Moscow is moving in the right direction in terms of education upgrade. The strategy chosen by Moscow Mayor in 2011, which was intended to provide equal opportunities for all city schools rather than establish separate best schools, and, accordingly, to offer the best education regardless of the district, has made it possible to achieve such results. Moscow parents send their child to a regular school in the neighbourhood, and they are sure that their child will get a quality education to be well prepared to enter the best Moscow universities,' said Anastasia Rakova, Deputy Moscow Mayor in the Moscow Government for social development issues. 

Moscow results according to PISA survey

Survey area

PISA 2016

PISA 2018


Position in the international ranking


Position in the international ranking
















PISA (The Programme for International Student Assessment) is the major international academic assessment programme implemented by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. These tests help to assess performance of fifteen-year-olds in mathematics, reading and science. The PISA programme has been operating since 2000.

Photo by Denis Grishkin, Press Service of the Mayor and Moscow Government

School as a steppingstone

City administration primarily focuses on the quality of school education, and high PISA score has become an independent appraisal of these reforms. Today, every student, regardless of his or her place of residence in Moscow, enjoy all the opportunities to reveal their talents and abilities. All schools, including private ones, are equally funded, which guarantees quality education for all Muscovites.

Today, the established funding standard for schools per person is RUB 125,000 –160,000 per year. The draft budget for 2020 has increased the funding standard to make up RUB 175,000 per student.

537 large schools have replaced about 4,000 small schools and kindergartens with small budgets, poor opportunities and performance, with the number of buildings left the same. Schools are supplied with cutting-edge equipment. General education institutions offer a wide range of educational areas, at least three training fields, extended education clubs with more than one million children aged 5-18 engaged.

As part of preliminary vocational training, engineering, academic, medical, cadet, IT classes and the Moscow Pre-University have been opened in each Moscow district. They train over 40,000 students. The project aims to hone students' skills to help them become successful and in-demand specialists.

Preliminary vocational training project serves as the basis for a unique educational space that is senior students' schools. The first three schools of this kind opened in 2018 in the buildings of schools No.1502, 1560 and 2097 to become unique spaces similar to universities. Apart from regular classrooms, they have lecture halls and laboratories with state-of-the-art equipment to conduct research and experiments, and gain insight into science.

Today, 10th and 11th form students are educated at senior students' schools. The number of such schools is to grow soon, to welcome even more students. Young people will have an opportunity to choose their future profession and pursue more intensive study of school curriculum subjects.

Moscow schoolchildren show high performance at national and international competitions. This year, 946 Moscow students from 228 schools have become winners and awardees of the All-Russian Schoolchildren Olympiad. Children have won 18 medals, with 13 gold ones, at the world competitions. About 23,500 students scored over 220 points in three subjects at the Unified State Exam. This is almost four times more than in 2010. There are more graduates now entering state-financed programs at top universities. So, the number of 'state-financed students' in the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology has increased by 2.3 times, with a 2.6 times' increase at the Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University and a 1.3 times' increase at the National Research University Higher School of Economics.

New opportunities

Today, lessons are held both at schools and on city sites. There are projects such as 'School Day at a Museum', 'Lesson in Moscow' and the Olympiad 'Museums. Parks. Estates' in Moscow. Over six years, about a million schoolchildren have attended the 'Moscow School Student's Saturdays'. Universities, enterprises, museums and colleges offer free classes for school students.

The city administration incentivises teachers, too. For the first nine months, the average salary has grown to RUB 117,500. Also, teachers receive grants for high performance, contribution to the MES project, form tutor's benefits. They can improve their skills at the University of their choice or take training courses on the portal of additional professional programs. To date, there are over 690 training courses available.

The system of professional diagnostics has also been improved. In recent years, an independent assessment system has been introduced to help teachers identify their weaknesses and improve their skills.

Besides, Moscow schools are updating their basic infrastructure and introducing a digital environment. They are equipped with high-speed Internet access via Wi-Fi and interactive panels. Over 43,000 Moscow teachers have now personal laptops. Some schools even boast IT training grounds.

Moscow E-School project was launched 3 years ago. It provides students with all content they need to prepare for lessons and review lessons learned. Now, MES library offers about 39,000 lesson plans, 1,500 textbooks and study guides, 82,000 interactive educational apps developed by Moscow teachers and IT companies, as well as a large number of tasks similar to the tasks of the Basic and Unified state exams for students to prepare for tests, exams and Olympiads.

The project is helpful for parents, too. The system of MES services sends information about children's activities. Daily, over 600,000 parents receive messages about school attendance and children's meals. More than 500,000 people view school records daily.

Muscovites have used the 'Self-Testing' service to review lessons learned and prepare for tests over 1.2 million times. The electronic assignment and record books have made teachers' life much easier, with the routine paper work left behind.