From Russia about education
Russian government is currently working on its 2020 strategy, which naturally includes education. And the reform of education was the topic of the Education Forum held on 20-21 April in the historic city of Yaroslavl, north of Moscow. The aim of the event was to reflect on Russian draft strategy and compare it to the EU’s Education and Training 2020 strategy.
The country's Ministry of Education and Science is setting aside an additional funding of 60 billion rubbles (or approximately 1.54 billion euro) to modernize 45,000 schools. The plans include also teachers’ salary increases to bring teachers' incomes to the average levels in different regions of the country. The government hopes that this measure will increase the attractiveness of the profession.
Petri Lempinen, the ETF’s country manager for Russia, and the experts from Austria, Finland, Norway and Poland joined the debates at the Forum with the Russian policymakers, teachers and students.
’The Russian strategy focuses on the general and higher education,’ says Mr Lempinen. ’The part covering vocational education and training and adult learning is underdeveloped in the draft strategy’.
According to Mr Lempinen, the strategy does not entirely reflect the social challenges and the changes on the labour market. Like many European nations, Russia is an ageing society. ’More attention to continuing training and adult learning would be a proper response to this the hard demographic reality,’ says Mr Lempinen.
One of the challenges common to both the EU and Russia is migration, multiculturalism and multi-ethnicity. Russia is a country with several languages and ethnical groups. It also receives high number migrants from the countries of the former Soviet Union. So far, Russian education has been unable to provide quality education for the migrants’ children, while in some Russian schools almost 70 percent of pupils have migrant background.
The most innovative part of the program of the Yaroslavl Education Forum was an open discussion with more than two hundred school pupils from over fifty regions of Russia. The question they debated was a provocative one: Is attending school impeding my education? How would you change the school? They were joined by pupils from Czech Republic and Finland.
The event was organized by Yaroslavl region’s education authorities and the KulturKontakt Austria.
Photo by acidka / Flickr Creative Commons / Yaroslavl, view on the city