A new school for 1,100 schoolchildren with specialised classrooms and a new sports complex has been opened in Mariupol. A new kindergarten for 140 children has been built in Malaya Vishera, Novgorod Region. A school for 1,224 schoolchildren opened in Makhachkala. In the Rostov Region, School No 10 with an enrolment of 825 reopened after a major overhaul. In the city of Odintsovo, Moscow Region, the Bagration educational centre for 2,200 children is opening.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Friends, good afternoon.
Just now President of Kyrgyzstan Sadyr Japarov and I took part in a ceremony to mark the beginning of construction of three schools with instruction in Russian in the Republic of Kyrgyzstan. Let me repeat, it is important that our experience and our national educational traditions are sought-after by our neighbours, friends, and partners abroad.
I believe that Russia is meant to continue offering an example of creating conditions for the education of young people. To this end, we must constantly develop and move forward.
In this regard, I would like to note that 160 new schools, as well as almost 1,300 school buildings that have been renovated after major repairs, are opening to Russian schoolchildren today. As a result, more than 630,000 Russian schoolchildren will have the opportunity to study in up-to-date, comfortable conditions.
These construction and renovation projects for educational institutions have been implemented in the Moscow Region, the Rostov Region, the Republic of Daghestan, and the Donetsk People’s Republic among other regions.
Today, these regions’ heads are on the line with us. Please tell us what new opportunities schoolchildren have gained both for basic and extracurricular education, and what other solutions are needed in order to more efficiently and effectively improve the material and technical base of Russian schools in the future.
I would like to note that in general, over the past four and a half years, the conditions of education have been improved for more than 1.5 million schoolchildren as a result of implementing the state programme for the development of education, including more than 900 new schools built, which created more than 540,000 additional spots.
Speaking about major renovation projects, almost 2,500 school buildings where a million schoolchildren go have been repaired since 2022. By the end of 2024, we will dramatically upgrade more than 1,500 general education facilities, most of them in rural areas. My colleagues and I agreed on this from the very beginning: that we will focus on rural schools.
Good results have also been achieved under the programme for the construction of kindergartens and daycare centres. It was possible to achieve almost one hundred percent access to preschool education: 99 percent.
I would like to hear how these tasks are being addressed in the Novgorod Region. Its head, Andrei Nikitin, is also with us today; he is the head of the State Council Commission on Social Policy. I would like to ask him to speak in general about the region’s experience in supporting families with children.
Let me emphasise that the development of both general and preschool education is an important area of our demographic policy, and all decisions made in this area must, of course, be implemented.
For example, we have agreed with the Government that, starting from 2025, we will allocate funds from the federal budget to upgrade educational spaces and overhaul both schools and kindergartens. For their part, governors must allocate resources in time, to co-finance such projects.
Once again, this is not only about construction and repairs. It is necessary to purchase comfortable and safe furniture, up-to-date equipment for sports and arts, and pay special attention to the development of the material and technical base of education in rural areas, as I have just said. We need to continue working to provide schools with high-speed internet access – there is still work to be done here – in order to create all the necessary IT infrastructure and modern computer classes.
Sergei Kravtsov [Minister of Education] will tell us exactly: I think 99 percent of schools are connected, but not everywhere; I think only 55 percent have high-speed access, especially in rural areas.
The dramatic overhaul of the entire educational infrastructure of the Donetsk and Lugansk people's republics, Kherson and Zaporozhye regions is a most important issue. Problems were not addressed there, and had been accumulating for years, if not decades.
I would like to note that schools in Donbass, Zaporozhye and Kherson regions have already switched to Russian teaching standards. Preparations for this began back in April 2022, when programmes were launched for teacher training, providing schools with textbooks, and repairing school buildings.
Here, I would like to ask the Government of Russia to continue to pay special attention to the task of integrating schools, colleges, universities in the new territories into the country’s single education system. This is a key integration issue.
And in conclusion, of course, I congratulate our teachers, students, parents on Knowledge Day we are marking today. I wish you success in your studies and work.
I am giving the floor to Minister of Education Sergei Kravtsov. Please, tell us about the implementation of the Education Development state programme, including plans for constructing and repairing educational facilities this year.
Please, Mr Kravtsov.
Minister of Education Sergei Kravtsov: Mr President, colleagues.
I want to say that all of our planned activities have been completed, and we are ready for the start of the new academic year, including for a significant increase in the number of school students. Today, about 18.5 million young students are sitting at their school desks, which is 700,000 more than in the previous academic year; also, we have about 2 million first-graders.
It is gratifying that 5,500 more children will study in the first grade in the new regions. In general, I keep the issues of education in the new regions, Donbass and Novorossiya, under my constant personal control.
Taking into account the increased number of schoolchildren, we are expanding and building up infrastructure as part of the state education development programme. By the end of the year, we will open over 250 schools designed for 140,000 students. By 2025, we will fulfil your instruction, Mr President, to build at least 1,300 schools and progressively upgrade more than 4,000 school buildings as part of the overhaul programme.
I would like to add that we are working at the international level as well. Last year, you, Mr President, opened five Russian-Tajik schools with the President of Tajikistan. Today, you and the President of Kyrgyzstan launched a project to build the first three of nine Russian-Kyrgyz schools.
By expanding the number of kindergartens and schools, we are also developing a modern education environment. The activities of the Education national project are being implemented on schedule. This year alone we are opening 3,000 centres for education in digital technology, natural sciences, technology, and social sciences – the so-called Growth Points, 48 quantoriums, as well as 63 IT-cubes.
You instructed us and the Ministry of Digital Development to fully ensure the transition to domestic software – and this objective has been achieved. The experience of several regions, including Moscow, the Moscow Region, and other constituent entities of the Russian Federation, helped here. In all regions, the My School state information system has been successfully implemented in support of traditional full-time in-person education.
All schools will be following the single federal educational standards in the new academic year. In 2023–2025, we will prepare state-approved textbooks in all disciplines, and the first textbook like this, devoted to Russia’s contemporary history, has already been published. Schools received it by September 1, on time, just as you instructed. We delivered it for the 11th graders on time and made sure that every school gets it.
Starting September 1, there will also be a single career counselling module starting from sixth grade with classes titled Russia – My Horizons, held every Thursday.
There is another new alternative which offers schoolchildren an opportunity to do community service. Of course, this may be something new for them today, but we, as their parents, and older generations were not only used to these tasks but viewed them as something natural, an integral part of our school lives. I am convinced that this initiative will help teach children the importance and value of work from an early age.
The Russian Movement of Children and Youth is gaining traction these days and is proactively contributing to educational efforts by relying on traditional spiritual and moral values.
I cannot fail to mention the outstanding international results by our students. This year, Russian teams have already competed in five academic Olympiads. All 27 schoolchildren who made the national teams won medals, including 18 gold medals. Our students are competing in Hungary as we speak, at an IT Olympiad. Of course, we wish them every success.
In conclusion, I would like to recognise, thank, and congratulate all the teachers of Russia on Knowledge Day.
We designated 2023 the Year of the Teacher and Educator, which emphasises the importance of the teaching profession and the responsibility that goes with it. We see that it is becoming an increasingly prestigious job. This year, teachers’ training universities under the Ministry of Education received 385,000 applications for teachers’ training degree programmes, up by 100,000 compared to last year.
On behalf of all my colleagues I can assure you that we will do our best to ensure that this new academic year in Russia is a success and bears fruit.
Thank you for giving me the floor.