I added a new category, “Education” to accommodate today’s story.
I saw the story here, it is fairly short, and I can translate/summarize the whole thing in one go. The writer is Nina Artemova, from Moscow.
But first just a quick link to wiki to give some background on the Russian examination system. The Unified State Exam (Единый государственный экзамен, acronym ЕГЭ) is a series of exams which every Russian “pupil” (ученик) must pass in order to proceed on from Middle School, and to become a “student” (студент) in a higher school, be it a University or some other institution or technical school of higher education.
Exams in the Russian language and in mathematics are compulsory; several of the other exams (e.g., foreign languages, computer science, literature, etc.) are optional, depending on the prospective student’s major line of study and career track.
According to the Artemova piece: For the two years following Crimea’s reunification with Russia (2014-2016), Crimean pupils were given (temporary) preferential treatment along with quotas into desirable slots in institutions of higher education. It was found that the Crimean pupils (on average) had lower grades on the standard exams and would have been excluded from moving on to higher education were they not given preferences and allowed to pass with somewhat lower scores.
The preferences and quotas are only a temporary measure, which will phased out as soon as possible. Already the level of education is rising in Crimean schools, and the exam scores are starting to even out. However, the Russian Duma decided to prolong for one extra year an indulgence. As it was found that Crimean students who studied under the Ukrainian education system and who are due to graduate in 2017 will still not be at quite the level as students in other regions of Russia; and will not be able (on average) to pass the Russian Unified Exam in sufficient numbers comparable to the other regions. The indulgence consists of allowing Crimean pupils graduating in 2017 to take a different exam (в форме государственного выпускного экзамена), presumably an easier one.
On the other hand, the Duma decided that it was time to cancel the quota system that has been in place these past two years. The quota system allowed Crimean schoolchildren who had an inferior education to still obtain slots in institutions of higher education. Crimean schoolchildren were segregated into a separate cohort which competed only among themselves for the quota slots. However, starting from 2017, this segregation and these quotas will not be necessary. With the passage of time and all students processing the same curriculum and preparing for the same tests, an adequate geographical diversity will be obtained via natural means and the meritocracy system.