President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Friends,
I am delighted to see you all and welcome everyone involved in the programmes at the Mashuk Knowledge Centre – schoolteachers and college and university professors.
The year 2023 has been declared the Year of Teachers and Mentors in Russia in your honour, to recognise your colleagues from all regions of our vast country, hundreds of thousands of wonderful, dedicated people from various generations. And above all, this is an excellent opportunity to express our gratitude.
I am sure that we all share most sincere feelings of gratitude and appreciation for our teachers, who helped us in the early stages of our life and professional path. They shared more than knowledge: they gave us warmth and took pride in our victories. According to poet Andrei Dementyev, such victories make a teacher’s happiness.
Importantly, the purpose and meaning of the Year of Teachers and Mentors project is precisely to draw the attention of society to the work of those who give their time and energy to children, young people, to our future. I am confident that we need to talk more about the colossal contribution that teachers and mentors have made and are making today to Russia’s success and achievements.
Let me emphasise that historically, the mission of the national education system has always been to educate children and young people as good citizens and instil in them patriotism and responsibility for the country’s future. These values are set forth in the works of our great educators, [Anton] Makarenko, [Vasily] Sukhomlinsky and others, whose names are well known around the world. The same values were implemented in the everyday feat of the teachers of the Great Patriotic War generation, in the selfless dedication of the industrial instructors who, joined by their trainees, restored Russian factories and plants in the post-war period.
The teachers’ words and wisdom inspired students to achieve scientific, technological triumphs, sports records, and so on, served as a reliable guide in their work, in their chosen profession during the times of the most difficult and challenging trials.
And now, as we know, soldiers and officers of the Russian Army, educated by our schools, teachers and mentors, are performing their duty courageously and heroically, protecting Russia and our people from neo-Nazis and terrorists – the same ones that tormented and killed people in Donbass for eight years, the same ones that killed Darya Dugina in Moscow and committed yet another terrorist attack today by entering the border territory and opening fire at civilians. We saw that it was a civilian car, an ordinary Niva with civilians – and children. They opened fire at them.
It is these people who aim to deprive us of our historical memory, take away our history, our traditions, and our language. I want to quote our outstanding educator, Konstantin Ushinsky, whose 200th birth anniversary we mark this year. He called it “unbearable violence” when somebody tries to take away a people’s language and break off that “strong bond connecting generations in one powerful, historical living organism.”
It is exactly this sort of violence, this sort of crime that the neo-Nazis and their masters are committing. I am confident that these very masters will not even remember the crime committed today and it will be ignored. But I want to repeat: they will not succeed and we will crush them.
You and your colleagues, Russian teachers, have educated worthy students, defenders of the Fatherland. By your example, you taught them to tell dirty tricks from the truth, betrayal from honesty and fairness, and instilled in them a deep and sincere love for the Motherland, a glorious feeling that defines our whole life.
I want to thank the educational community, our teachers and mentors for their students, for their unfailing faith in Russia and for passing on this faith to them, to their students.
Issues of education and mentorship are always an address to the future. Relying on your knowledge, experience, and traditions of domestic pedagogy and, of course, using advanced technology, we will continue creating a sovereign education system – this is a very important goal. I just mentioned a sovereign education system. We have been talking about sovereignty in different fields quite a bit. This is an extremely important and absolutely basic thing. We will introduce it at all levels of this system – from schools to colleges and universities.
We will certainly carry out all our plans to build and repair schools, and install the latest equipment, including schools on our historical lands, the new regions of the Federation. The education infrastructure of Donbass, and the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions should be brought to average Russian standards in the horizon of the current decade.
We will also continue building up the potential of pedagogical universities and research centres and developing the mentor movement in the country. I must emphasise that the traditions of mentorship that Russia has developed over the decades are very much in demand. In conditions of rapid technological change, a personal contact makes it possible to more quickly transfer the best experience and practices from teachers to students, and to work together on resolving unconventional tasks – in education, production, science and all other areas of life.
I would like to emphasise that all regions of the country and all economic industries – large state corporations, private flagship businesses, medium and small innovation companies and our universities and research centres have reached success and can be rightfully proud of their achievements. Standing behind them is the labour of millions of people. It is important for people here and in the rest of the world to know about these achievements – Russia is a land of opportunity, and great and genuine talent. The creative potential of our people is truly inexhaustible.
I know that each of you dreams of seeing your initiatives, ideas and plans carried out. It is for this reason that you pass on the secrets of trade and success, and preserve, through your guidance, the ties between generations and the historical unity of our country. You are thereby laying a firm foundation for not only our security, technological and economic independence and self-reliance, but also for our spiritual and value-related sovereignty.
We will certainly continue to support your efforts and aspirations in every way we can. Let me note in this connection that since 2020, a guidance component, as you know, has been included in the curricula. Beginning September 1, 2023, schools will launch a unified, mandatory federal education programme on socially significant disciplines and subjects such as the Russian language and literature, geography, and of course, social studies and history. We will do our best to improve the quality of teaching in these disciplines at all levels of the education system.
Let me also add that, following the best traditions of Russian education science, we are seeking to open more opportunities for self-fulfillment for the upcoming generation so that young people can assume responsibility and participate in the development of their regions, cities, towns and villages.
All the more so now that our school and university students have proven their civic maturity and readiness to perform some truly adult and serious tasks through their volunteering, environmental and creative initiatives, including as members of the Russian Movement of Children and Youth.
We will certainly expand the programme of competitions and projects on the Russia – Land of Opportunity platform, which we have created in recent years, and we will work in the same way in other areas. We will continue implementing the Region for the Young programme aimed at organising a space for youth initiatives in the regions of the Russian Federation.
And, of course, as an open country, we will support scientific and educational youth exchanges between members of our rising generations and their peers from other countries. You might know about the proposal to host the World Festival of Youth and Students for the fourth time, which was put forward at a meeting with university students.
This idea and other substantial initiatives of our young people, our younger generation, will definitely develop with our support. Because everything we are doing in the broadest sense of the word – in demographics, education, the economy, security – we are doing it for one main reason: to give our children and young people a happy life in a flourishing, sovereign country.
I am sure that Russian mentors and teachers share the same goals. Because all of you love your students, and sincerely want our country, our Russia to be famous for its honest, strong, brave, creative and hard-working people now and in the future.
Friends, we need to look for the best solutions to improve the social status of teachers and mentors, to improve your working conditions and opportunities to exchange experience in an open dialogue.
Today, we launch the Year of Teachers and Mentors, and I know that there are many issues to discuss, which we will definitely do. They include those that I already spoke about today: social status, better working conditions, teaching socially important subjects, mentorship, school conditions, development –we will discuss all of this throughout the year.
I want to wish success to those who gathered here today in the Stavropol Territory. I am confident that your meeting will be very fruitful, and not only for those present, but for the entire teaching community of the country, for all mentors who are doing a very important job. There are also many nuances related to financial incentives, organising work, getting our guys who are performing combat missions in the special military operation zone involved in this mentorship, and many technical and legal issues.
This is why we are launching the Year of Teachers and Mentors – to put all these issues on the agenda. We will definitely address them with your direct participation.
I congratulate you on the beginning of the Year of Teachers and Mentors, and I wish you all successful, interesting work and good conversations.
I wish you all the best. Thank you very much.