Russia has a long and proud tradition of World-class Maths, Science, Engineering and Computing education. So it’s not surprising that Russia was one of original innovators in implementing Computers and Computer Science into schools. “Computational Mathematics & Programming”, for example, was certified at national level as far back as 1961. For an interesting perspective on the development of the curriculum in a Russian school, click here.
Under the 1985 National Computer Literacy Program, Computer Science was included in the school curricula as a compulsory subject, alongside Mathematics, Physics and other Scientific disciplines. Schools were also supplied with computer facilities. The Computers for rural school initiative (2002-2003) ensured that each rural school in the country had a minimum of three computers in the building. Taking this to the next level, Intel partnered with Volnoe Delo to further provide access to technology across all regions in Russia.
The Internet for every school (2006-2008) program further improved access to Information Technology across all of Russia, and today every school in the country has access to ICT devices and the Internet. ICT literacy is also now compulsory in all teaching training courses. To support this the World Bank implemented their largest free-standing ICT/education project – the eLearning Support Project. This enabling 60,ooo teachers to be trained through 42 different training programs; 1100 distance learning courses; and digital learning resources made availalbe in 14 subjects.
Schools now make good use of a range of software including Microsoft, Adobe, and also “home grown” software from firms like ABBYY and 1C. As part of the Digital Education Resources Program (2008-2010), a number of free digital education resources are made available for students on a variety of school subjects.
Leading the way in the use of ICT in Russia are a number of Innovative Schools. Given Russia’s track record in computer science, we can expect to see plenty of innovation coming out of the country in years to come.