There are two main forms of children and youth education in the arts in Russia. The formal one is the “aesthetic formation” within the general education system, which is regulated by state standards and programmes, relatively even and free of charge. The informal or additional education can be chosen according to the interests and ability of a student; it is mostly fee paying and varied as regards institutions and contents. The state informal educational settings, such as Children Arts, Ballet or Music Schools, function as both focal points of general artistic development and the first, compulsory phase of professionalisation in visual arts, music and ballet. The high esteem in which Russian arts education is held abroad is illustrated by the percentage (20%) of foreign students studying music. The access to initial education in music, fine arts, theatre and choreography was named within the political priorities, yet the issue of charging needs to be adjusted. Today, children’s educational establishments are opening their doors to adults.
The multilevel arts educational system comes under the Culture Ministry (5 477 schools, 260 professional colleges and 68 higher schools of culture and the arts in 2009); the Ministry of Education and Science supervises about six hundred related institutions (see Table 15). After the governmental reform of 2004, responsibility for professional education institutions (and research ones) became a point of contention between those two ministries. The former has successfully lobbied for preservation of the higher school arts institutions within the cultural sector, stating that the unique national system of proficient artistic training, beginning from childhood to adulthood, and based on a selection of the most gifted youth, could be destroyed by introducing general higher education standards or joining the Bologna process.
The state educational settings are mostly funded by regional governments or by local administrations, while the latter often have very limited financial possibilities and cannot provide for their accredited functioning and equipment. The experts estimate depreciation of facilities and premises of the Children’s Arts Schools as being no less than 80%. The Children of Russia Federal Target Programme presupposes support for education in the arts both for the talented and disabled people including acquisition of musical instruments, stipends, awards, grant giving, organisation of festivals, competitions, etc.
The Analytical Report on arts education in Russia was prepared recently within the joint UNESCO and Intergovernmental Foundation for Educational, Scientific and Cultural Cooperation (IFESCCO) project on Arts Education in the CIS Countries: Development of Creative Potential in the 21st Century (2010).