Sirius is housed in the former Media Centre of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. It is designed to give young people an opportunity to test their skills and learn about achievements in science, technology, and art.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, friends, good afternoon.
Today, the organisers, trustees, and donors of the Talent and Success Foundation will take a quiz of sorts. We created this foundation almost a year ago and made some of the Olympic facilities available to this new educational centre, which we named “Sirius,” the brightest star in our sky after the Sun.
We intended for this institution to be a centre for gifted children and talented teenagers. I think that you – as people who have achieved success in various industries, businesses and science – understand perfectly well how important this centre is for our country.
I would like to thank you for not remaining on the sidelines, but instead taking part in this major, interesting undertaking, which is critical to our people, to Russian families, children, and teenagers, and, I hope, to your enterprises and the economy in general.
I would like to draw your attention to the plans that the head of the centre just shared with us. Most likely, you are already aware of them. It’s about creating a park for scientific research and the arts. In addition to what you are already doing, which is extremely important for implementing this ambitious project, I would still like to ask you to make sure that this park has modern equipment.
I would like to bring up an issue which we are constantly discussing in a variety of formats, namely, the fact that training and practical experience should go hand in hand. I am aware of your criticism that our schools, including schools of higher vocational training, do not always produce employees that are up to standards.
Here we have a unique opportunity to work directly with young people and have your employees provide them with training. Whenever possible – though not to the detriment of actual production – this park should have modern equipment so that the young people could improve their skills and expertise.
I would really like to have this centre not only provide moral support to talented children, but also create a system to support them from school to university and on until they join the workforce – your workforce, actually.
I would very much like to see our talented youth have an opportunity to make it in Russia. We must accomplish this not by imposing administrative constraints, but by creating the best conditions for them to capitalise on their talents.
That is why this centre was created. I think you will agree with me that this is a noble and exciting goal. I think that you personally, and the people who work alongside you to develop your production facilities, will be interested in visiting this centre.
In any case, it’s interesting to be here. I talked with many outstanding teachers and researchers. It’s fun for them to be around young people and teenagers, share their knowledge, listen to their thoughts and goals which they consider important and how they plan to achieve them.
This is critical for all of us as people who want to reach our full potential. I am aware that each of you has achieved great success, and, in this sense, everyone here has reached their potential, but this is not enough. In order to fully reach your potential, you have to work with young people in a way that is effective and has tangible results.
Sirius provides such an opportunity to each of us, not just the people sitting here, but also many of our colleagues who are not here today. I am referring to the fact that, by design, Sirius should become not only an exclusive centre for training talented youth, but also be a centre for creating an entire system of such institutions across Russia, in fact, at your enterprises and institutions.
I would like to ask you to look at what can be done in the regions. Of course, we will try to push the governors to link up with manufacturing enterprises and businesses and create something similar to Sirius in their respective regions. Perhaps something not as large as Sirius, but directly related to it. In turn, Sirius could develop the methodology for such work nationwide.
That's all I wanted to say in my opening remarks. I want to cordially thank you for your contribution to the development of this remarkable venture, if I may call it that.
Vladimir Putin: Here’s how this idea came about. In the Soviet Union, we had a network of physics and mathematics schools, then biology schools, music schools, art schools, and ballet schools. We have always been proud of our achievements in certain sports.
Since the Winter Olympics were held here, I referred to ice hockey and figure skating. Where did we start? We started with focusing on the physics and mathematics schools, and chemistry schools. We began our selection process there, keeping in mind that this system is already up and running.
With regard to music, secondary schools were set up at almost all leading conservatories back in the Soviet Union, which were used to do the initial screening for talented children. No one gets to such schools without earning it. First, there is the selection of eligible students. Children go to such secondary schools at conservatories with regular curriculum plus in-depth music lessons. The same is true of the physics and mathematics schools. This is where we added another layer to the selection process.
With regard to sports, children who stand out in, say, figure skating or ice hockey get invited there. There are eight skating rinks right here in the Imereti Valley. At some point, there were suggestions to invest and build something new in their place. Why, when we can use them for promoting youth sport?
In fact, this is how it all began. Later, we decided to expand this programme by adding biology, fully aware of the current and future importance of biology, in the broadest sense of the word, for the entire world. I'm not even talking about the economy.
We started inviting students from biological schools, all the more so since a network of specialised educational institutions with emphasis on biology was established in the past few years. We also started inviting students from schools specialising in literature, the Russian language and creative fields, as well as art schools – we have long had a network of them throughout the country.
The initial response was very positive. This is an outstanding institution that is different from others and hopefully, God willing, will stay different with your help. Such famous children’s recreation centres as Ocean in the Far East, Orlyonok on the Black Sea Coast or Artek in Crimea are good and necessary places for children’s recreation and development.
However, this centre has a special mission. Let me emphasise again that it is designed to work with gifted children, enrol more of them, and guide them to university and onward to employment.
It has 154 highly qualified teachers. During a year 400 academics, professors and doctors of science are permanently present here to conduct seminars and classes for children. This is not just a place for recreation but an educational centre.
I said I hope very much that those who went through the Sirius centre and then a university will find their place in life in this country, at your enterprises, and I meant it. However, this project cannot succeed with government assistance alone, that is, without your support and not only financial (I am very grateful to you for it and I know that many of you donate) but also your administrative support, without your intellectual engagement and monitoring of local programmes.
This is exactly why I wanted you to visit this centre and see everything with your own eyes. I’d like you to remember it and think how we can develop this project together.