MOSCOW, November 18 (RIA Novosti) - The unified state examination should be voluntary for school leavers but colleges and universities should only enrol entrants upon its results, Vladimir Filippov, aide to the Russian prime minister, told the Education Council for USE at a sitting on Thursday.

"School leavers should themselves decide on taking or not the USE after school but, I think, higher educational establishments should enrol entrants only upon the USE results", Filippov said.

In this case, there is no place for traditional tests, when entrants take exams at the college or university, he said.

"The USE idea consists in ensuring the right to accessible and quality education for everybody, including children from backwoods regions, who will not have to travel to far-away towns for exams in the the leading colleges and universities", the ex-minister recalled.

In the opinion of Yaroslav Kuzminov, rector of the Higher School of Economics, and others of the education community, the indisputable plus of the unified state examination is its high objectivity in comparison with the usual forms of exams for senior graders.

At the same time, Anatoli Pinski, co-chairman of the working group for training at the Education and Science Ministry, believes that the USE shouldn't be considered as a final reference.

"The USE cannot bear the qualification function. School leaving certificates should be issued according to the school marks, not the USE", he said.

Simultaneously, literature teacher Sergei Volkov of School 57 in Moscow, fears that obligatory USE introduction in schools may convert education "into a rough preparation for passing the USE".

"A subject is not learnt for passing exams. Teachers will do all for children to pass tests when leaving the school and dump the academic programme", he said.

According to the Russian Education and Science Ministry, applications for participating in the USE experiment have arrived from 78 federation entities, including the 65 regions, which participated in the 2004 experiment.

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