President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Friends and colleagues,
I would like to congratulate you on International Teachers’ Day, which has traditionally been one of early autumn’s most joyful holidays. I remember how, as a schoolboy, my classmates and I would always congratulate our teachers at this time; I also recall the many flower bouquets we would bring to school for our teachers. The holiday evokes a special kind of atmosphere.
I would like to congratulate all the winners and participants in the Teacher of the Year competition. The competition began as a wonderful initiative and has already endured for twenty years. It was originally created in a very different era, but in contrast to many other lovely ideas and initiatives that no longer exist today, this contest has remained, which is great. In the years since the competition began, about 250,000 teachers have received recognition or been declared winners. This is a very large number of our colleagues – one quarter of a million.
You and I know that moral evaluations, state appraisals, and recognition by society are very important. Not everything in this world is measured by money – otherwise, you would never have chosen teaching as your profession.
By saying this I do not mean the government has come to terms with the fact that teaching is still not a very well-paid profession, although we have made some improvements in recent years.
Some have called me the initiator behind the Education priority national project, and I certainly won’t turn down this title – it really is a pleasure to have taken part in developing the idea and its subsequent implementation. And although this project has left many of the challenges standing before our nation’s schools and educational system unresolved, it has nevertheless created momentum in modernising our schools and has allowed teachers to feel that the country needs them; the government will continue taking steps aimed at developing school education and improving respect and appreciation for teachers.
We will certainly continue our efforts, regardless of any crises or the fact that we do not always have as much funding as we would like. We will maintain our support mechanisms. We will also maintain the major pilot projects that we are carrying out in the regions – I am referring to projects to implement standard per capita funding and their adjustment.
Currently, we have drafted the Our New School concept, a good framework program, but now, our goal is not to merely put together a solid document, but to ultimately put it into effect. Our schools must meet the needs of the 21st century – that says it all. Our schools must be strenuous, effective, and high-tech. At the same time, they must be welcoming to students and attractive to teachers, regardless of their age. That is something that we must work on together.
I welcome all of the teachers present here in this hall, including teachers from CIS countries, which also recently held this international competition. I am very happy that we are together on this day.
I would like to remind you that 2010 has been declared Year of the Teacher in our nation. We are not just doing this because it is fashionable or looks good. If that were the case, there would be no reason to tackle this idea and make big speeches. Rather, it will serve as an additional incentive for improving school education, and for investing in schools – making investments of money, time, and attention.
I hope that we will all join our efforts in implementing this new idea, which I think is a very good one. It was conceived a year ago, when I made an Address to the Federal Assembly. Now, it is fully formulated, but all the work is still ahead.
I sincerely congratulate you. I congratulate you on Teachers’ Day, and on your successful participation in this wonderful competition. I am here not only to say some kind words, but also to participate in this event, so I suggest moving on to the highlight of this yearly celebration: presenting the competition’s main award, the Crystal Pelican.