President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Kravtsov, you are not new to the education sphere. You know everything from inside, know it well; therefore, you do not need much time to get started. However, what would you say are the top priorities, the main tasks as you start out as a minister?
Minister of Education Sergei Kravtsov: Mr President, first of all, we have made sure that the transfer from former minister Olga Vasilyeva went smoothly. Currently, we are monitoring your May 2012 and May 2018 executive orders. We are constantly monitoring the issue concerning teachers’ average wages. There will be no setbacks when it comes to this. Also, last year we achieved all the goals set by the Education national project and we will achieve all the goals for this year too.
We have also started work as per your January Address. On behalf of classroom teachers, I would like to thank you for the support they will be provided with as of September 1, which is an extra 5,000 rubles in addition to the pay from the regional and municipal budgets. We will be keeping these payments under strict control.
Vladimir Putin: And make sure they are not cancelled.
Sergei Kravtsov: Yes. All the documents are ready and the payments from the federal budget will start on September 1.
Vladimir Putin: Heads of the regions must be informed…
Sergei Kravtsov: By all means.
Vladimir Putin: …about the liability for non-compliance with the instructions prohibiting the cancellation of additional regional payments to classroom teachers once the payments from the federal budget have started.
Sergei Kravtsov: It will be a key aspect of our control. As with the wages, we will be monitoring them on a monthly basis to prevent situations like this. This year, we plan to hold the first classroom teachers’ forum and I would like to take this opportunity to invite you to this event.
The second crucial task is organising free hot meals for primary school children. The Finance Ministry has earmarked the necessary funds, a working group has been created in the Government, so this instruction will also be fulfilled. We will hold discussions with the parents’ committees to make sure that these meals are tasty, healthy and wholesome.
The third issue is construction projects. Schools, kindergartens, mandatory licensing and no schedule overruns are what you spoke about in the Address. This matter is also under control. Once a facility has been cleared for operation, a license must be issued within one month. This way the public will know its exact status and, especially in the areas where several school shifts a day are necessary, children could go to a new school without having to wait until the start of a new academic year. We are building kindergartens in the regions with demographic problems so that there is no waiting. We are monitoring this aspect as well.
As for the other issues, they are also under supervision and all your instructions will be fulfilled.
Vladimir Putin: Good, thank you.
As concerns the construction projects, clearly, the regional and municipal authorities are in charge. But you should also keep an eye on this work, from the ground up, starting from the design specifications.
Sergei Kravtsov: Yes, Mr President.