The pandemic has given a tough time to schools around the world. They have struggled to keep learning on pace despite closures and disruptions. Amid this challenging situation, a private institution located on the outskirts of Moscow has set an example with a novel and exceptional approach.

Letovo is a state-of-the-art school, one of the rarest in Russia to offer both a national diploma and a certificate from the IB DP (International Baccalaureate Diploma Program). The latter makes the students eligible to study and work abroad without hindrances.

Such state-of-the-art schools were set up in Russia after the Ukraine and Syria crises in 2013 –2015. The situation resulted in Moscow alienating from its partners in the West. The ruble crashed during this phase as oil prices collapsed due to sanctions. At this point, the elite in Russia wanted to send their children to local alternatives to high-end institutions like Eton and Harrow.

The pandemic year was a remarkable one for Letovo, as its graduates were among the top IB DP scorers in the world. The average for the final-year students was 43 points, which far surpasses the global standard of 33 points. Further, every single student made it to a university of choice, including world-leading higher-education institutions such as Oxford, Cambridge, Duke, Chicago, Brown, Cornell, and Yale and Berkeley.

Letovo considers itself as an enterprising startup venture. Its founder, Vadim Moshkovich, is a farming mogul billionaire, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. His vision was to establish a school that could make Russia competitive in the educational field. Located in Rublyovka, the most coveted and elite district in Moscow, Letovo targets the elite.

The base tuition fees at the school are a whopping $20,000 a year. Even as it is much lesser than the fees of the top British public schools, the price is far above the budget of an average Russian family. Students seeking admission have to go through a name-blinded exam. The ones who cannot afford the fees can look for grants and scholarships to cover the costs. The good thing is that a large segment (80%) actually gets education grants.

Half of the student population at Letovo hails from the regions of Russia. Nearly 30% of students rely on the online educational platform of the school. The ultra-wealthy in the country have always preferred to send their children overseas to destinations like the UK and US for their education. But Letovo brings quality education closer home for the wealthiest in Russia. The school becomes a top choice for people who want to send their kids to study abroad eventually.

The education system in Russia struggles with challenges like chronic underfunding and overworked and under-motivated teachers. In fact, teaching in free schools here is more like crowd control instead of effective learning. Moreover, the regular institutions in the country emphasise memorisation and standardised testing. The focus on critical and creative thinking is missing. The sad part is that the country allocates only 3.7% of its GDP on education. Not surprisingly, the sector lags due to the challenges in the overall system and inadequacy of funding.

While Moshkovich claims that Letovo aims to give a world-class education to any student in Russia regardless of their material status and location, the real story is different. Not every student can make it into this elite school and receive the top-quality education it imparts. Money is the driving force that gets students into Letovo.

At the same time, graduates from the school get some benefits even as they shell out huge sums to study here. The 36 students graduating this year will get full support from Letovo’s educational fund to study in the world’s top universities. But they will have to come back to Russia on completing their studies overseas and work here for at least three years thereafter.

Studying at Letovo is a great opportunity for children when funds are not a concern. They get access to global learning and a positive attitude coming from enthusiastic teachers and a good learning environment.

If you are considering studying abroad why don’t you discuss your prospects and opportunities with experts at Lurnable’s dedicated study abroad counselling division LurnPathways?

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