The Post-Soviet Education Structure
Article 43 of the 1993 constitution affirms each citizen's right to education. It stipulates that "basic general education is compulsory" and that parents or guardians are responsible for ensuring that children obtain schooling. "General access to free preschool, basic general, and secondary vocational education in state or municipal educational establishments and in enterprises is guaranteed," according to the constitution. Although such access continued to exist in principle in the mid-1990s, various components of the system were increasingly inadequate. In 1993 some 35.2 million students were enrolled in Russian schools at all levels, including 20.5 million in general primary and secondary schools, 1.8 million in professional and technical schools, 2.1 million in special secondary schools, and 2.6 million in institutions of higher learning (see table 12, Appendix). A total of 70,200 general primary and secondary schools and 82,100 preschools were in operation at that time. Of the former category, 48,800 were in rural areas and 21,000 in urban areas.
In 1995 the projected budgetary expenditure for education was about 3.6 percent of the total state budget, a level Russian experts agreed could not maintain the system as it was, to say nothing of implementing the changes called for by post-Soviet legislation. The financing system made educational institutions fully dependent on state funds; outside sources of funding did not exist because no tax advantages accrued from investing in education.