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President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Hello everyone,
Wow! You would never think that this is the final stage of the Russian Teacher of the Year contest: all of you are so full of energy, as though you’re at a stadium or a concert. It’s great. Granted, it’s natural, because I think that teachers are the most passionate people on the planet.
Friends, colleagues, I sincerely congratulate you on Teachers’ Day and on the fact that today, here at the Kremlin Palace, we are at the final stage of the Russian Teacher of the Year contest. I have always been thrilled with anticipation of this day. Everyone has memories regarding their own school days, about congratulating their teachers. This always happened in the first part of October. Now, we have an international celebration, we have our major national contest, we have our wonderful finalists standing here with me, and everyone present in this hall, teachers from all around Russia who selflessly work in our education sector.
You constantly hear that the work of teachers is special and selfless. And although these words have become trite, they are nevertheless absolutely true. Because every time a teacher enters a classroom, he or she works a tiny miracle, preparing our young people for complicated lives of grown-ups, giving them a little piece of their knowledge, nerves, and health. That is precisely why I have always and will forever consider education and school education to be one of our nation’s priorities. This is truly so. Perhaps we have not yet succeeded in much, but we are trying to change the situation for the better.
As you know, some time ago, when the idea of a national project focusing on education was first voiced, the situation was nevertheless somewhat different. In the last few years, additional money, new opportunities, and fresh approaches have been infused into this sector.
Recently, we have begun to work very seriously on improving the regulatory basis for our schools’ work. We have formulated a major new concept: ‘Our New School.’ I hope that this concept has become a familiar, significant element for those of you present here, because it is nevertheless a creative process. I do not overemphasise what we are doing. It is entirely clear that we will need to make changes to our conceptual approaches and to the decisions we are making.
We now have the National Final School Exam [EGE]. We have just had yet another discussion about what is good about it, and what is still difficult, as well as what needs to be adjusted. That is very good, because it means that we are engaged in dialogue.
I would also like to let all of you know that we have just agreed on one of the most fundamental draft laws that are currently under discussion – the law On Education – and it will also undergo public evaluation. I hope that a significant number of you here, as well as your colleagues working in other regions, both at schools, colleges and universities, will be able to participate in the discussion of this highly important, fundamental law, that must serve as the foundation for the development of Russian education in the future, for years ahead.
I would like to sincerely thank all of you sitting in this hall and all of our finalists for your tremendous work. I hope that your very difficult work will bring you satisfaction every day. Indeed, I am just about certain that this is the case. Even in those moments when, for whatever reason, you are sad – being upset by your fellow teachers, your students, parents, or anybody else, – you still stick to your targets, you continue your work, which is complicated and exceedingly important for our entire nation.
I wish you health and all the best. And I want to once again assure all of you that the government will do everything it can to develop modern education and boost the prestige of the teaching profession, so that teachers receive their due respect in our nation.
I want you to remember this year not just for its lofty slogans and ambitious programmes, which are indeed big undertakings. I did not say at the start, but will say now that we are investing enormous overall amounts of money into education. It gives me pleasure to name the figure – 1.85 trillion rubles. But we need to ensure this money is competently spent.
Of course we need to work on raising the teaching profession’s prestige. We must ensure that teachers are paid decently for their work. This is very important. We also must ensure that schools have modern equipment. We need to work on these tasks, and, as you know, we have already begun so.
Finally, we must ensure that our education system remains among the best in the world, and I am sure that this will be the case.
Once again, I congratulate you on this holiday and wish you all the very best!