The Constitution of the Russian Federation guarantees the right to education to ALL children.
This means that it is enough just to be a child and live in Russia to qualify to go to school. The universal right to education is also embodied in a federal law and several international treaties*. It is stated in all of these instruments that every child has the right to education notwithstanding whether the family is registered in Russia, whether the child speaks Russian, whether he or she is healthy, whether the child is a Russian citizen, etc.
*(Article 5 of the Federal Law «On Education in the Russian Federation», Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Articles 3 and 4 of the Convention against Discrimination in Education, Article 13 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Article 28 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 27 of the Convention of the of the Commonwealth of Independent States on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, Article 2 of Protocol No. 1 to the European Convention on Human Rights)
What exactly do Russian laws provide for?
The Federal Law «On education in the Russian Federation» (Article 5) guarantees universal access to school education (all 11 years) in state and municipal schools free of charge. The Constitution of the Russian Federation (Article 43) provides that school education up to 9th grade (basic general education) is compulsory.
Where to file an application to have a child enrolled in a state or municipal school
Depending on a specific region, the enrollment process is either held in the school itself or organized through a public services portal. Namely, in Moscow, one can request enrollment in a school at the Official Website of the Moscow Mayor and Moscow Government at mos.ru, and in Moscow Oblast – at the Portal of State and Municipal Services of Moscow Oblast at uslugi.mosreg.ru (only available in Russian).
When should a child be enrolled in a state or municipal school?
The start of enrollment in the first grade varies from region to region, but, according to the federal regulations, enrollment must take place not later than on the 1 February of a given calendar year. It should be noted that:
– The first to be enrolled are the children registered (migration registration included) in the territory assigned to the school;
– In between 1 July and 5 September, provided that there still are vacant places in a given school, the children who are not registered in the territory assigned to the school are enrolled. Or even before 1 July, provided that all the children who are registered in the territory assigned to the school have already been enrolled. Transfer from one class to another is carried out throughout the year regardless the place of registration.
Documents required for enrollment into a state or a municipal school
ONLY the following documents are obligatory to request enrollment of a child in a school:
1. A document certifying the identity of the child’s parent or legal guardian;
2. The child’s birth certificate or another proof of relationship;
3. An application for admission of a child to the school signed by the child’s parent or legal guardian (in this latter case the application must be supplemented with a document proving the authority of the legal guardian to represent the child).
The only exception is admission to the first grade, and only within the period from the beginning of the enrollment process until 30 June of a given year (or until the moment when all the children residing in the territory assigned to the school are enrolled in the first grade), where it is also required to provide a document proving registration for residence or for stay (including migration registration).
Provision of medical records or a personal file (in a situation of transfer from one school to another) is advisable, but not compulsory, and well-grounded failure to provide these documents cannot serve as grounds of refusal to admit a child to a school.
When can a child be refused enrollment?
The only lawful reason for refusal is the absence of vacant places in a school. In this event one should contact a competent education administration body (for example, Moscow Department of Education and Science in Moscow, education boards of municipal districts and urban districts in Moscow Oblast). These authorities should help the family find a place in a different school.
If your child was refused enrollment in a school on any grounds other than absence of vacant places or if in absence of vacant places the education administration body fails to provide a place in a different school, you have a right to appeal the violation of the right to education in a prosecutor’s office or in court.
A free consultation on the topic can be provided by the Civic Assistance Committee. Our experts advise on education matters three times per week: on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 12 to 18 at Olimpiyskiy prospekt, 22. A consultation can be arranged through a phone call at:
+7 495 681 18 23
+7 (985) 428 99 16
(«hotline» during self-isolation period)
* In some regions, such as Moscow, some districts of Moscow Oblast and Saint Petersburg, access to school education directly depends on whether a child has registration or migration registration, without which it is impossible to file an application through official state services websites notwithstanding the time and the grade in which the child is trying to get enrolled. That being said, the requirement of registration as a prerequisite of access to education is illegal. And we are fighting this unlawfulness in courts.
Translated by Daria Gorbacheva and Emma Foster
Illustrations by Ezra Smith