President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, friends and colleagues,
Today we will review the performance of the Talent and Success Educational Foundation and the Sirius educational centre for gifted children, which opened at the Foundation a year ago.
I have visited nearly all sites of the Sirius centre, and I hope you did so too, looking at what goes on there, talking with the children and learning about their projects. Personally, I have a very positive impression, and I hope that so do you.
If you have any ideas or proposals, this is what we have met here for – to discuss the centre’s performance and to adjust it, if necessary. In my opinion, the centre has been operating mostly in keeping with our ideas and plans. It offers education for children who are gifted in natural sciences, the arts and sports.
The centre has had 13 sessions, which over 6,600 children attended from all Russian regions, and that is very important. The Talent and Success Educational Foundation recruits the best teachers, researchers, coaches and tutors and offers opportunities for deep involvement in the arts and sports.
During the past year, 154 teachers and 400 university professors who are the leading specialists in their field worked with children at the centre. At the end of each session, 600 children return to their homes not only with new knowledge and skills, but also with the experience of working in a team that is focused on development and top results.
We hope that this drive for results will continue, and that the majority of children will take it back to their schools. In my view, we can say that this is happening already now. In the first year of its operation, the Sirius centre won the respect of the teaching community, students and parents.
The centre’s success was noted by managers of some major companies, research institutions and creative associations. Just before this concert, I had a meeting with the trustees, including the managers of Russia’s largest companies. Some of them are already involved in the centre’s activity one way or another while the others are starting to get involved. They will be advancing their proposals and ideas for the centre’s development. This is what we talked about today.
Now, it is very important that locally, there are more initiatives to establish more educational centres for children. Maybe not as ambitious as Sirius, but schools should devote more attention to children’s personal potential fulfilment. For this purpose, Sirius offers professional development courses for school teachers. This year, over 1,300 teachers have completed internships and professional courses.
At the moment, Sirius is in the middle of its project session. We reviewed what is happening here. The session is for children passionate about science, design and creative engineering. The idea to hold the session was a response to children’s aspiration to apply theoretical knowledge in maths, physics, chemistry and biology and use it to solve hands-on technology and inter-disciplinary tasks.
Participants are presenting their ideas, designs and prototype models, and the results we have seen today are impressive. Of course, there is still a lot to be done in order to equip these classes with modern educational tools, materials and other resources that will allow the kids to carry out their most daring plans.
This is just one example of how Sirius is expanding the horizon of experience and creativity and offering opportunities to talented children. These projects would not be possible without the support of the powerful people with strategic thinking and love for their country and its future. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the teachers, coaches and partners of the Sirius centre and everybody who helps realise its most ambitious plans.
You are all aware of the tough global competition for intellectual resources. We must not lose a single gifted child. We must prioritise the efforts to identify them and help them through life, at least the part of their lives that is concerned with receiving an education and professional skills.
It is one of the main objectives of the Foundation, which stays in contact with the Sirius centre’s “graduates” and monitors their further achievements. We also hope that the Foundation will develop into a federal methodological centre for the regions and will compile a special database for monitoring the development trajectory of each gifted child.
This year the Foundation started issuing Presidential grants for gifted students at our universities. Therefore, it is keeping track not only of the Sirius centre’s graduates, but also other school and university students who have shown their worth, the best of the best.
You may know that I signed an executive order to this effect last year, under which monthly 20,000-ruble grants are issued to each of these students. We have signed 450 contracts on issuing these grants, the recipients of which have pledged to work in Russia upon graduation.
Interest in the Sirius centre will provoke more proposals on expanding its areas of operation. As you remember, initially the centre focused on the areas where Russia traditionally holds the leading positions – physics, mathematics, music, ballet, figure skating and ice hockey. New areas were added over the past year – painting, chemistry and biology. The immediate plans include adding courses on creative writing and information science.
The Foundation’s infrastructure is still under development. The Sirius centre children have modern laboratories, engineering workshops and sites for staging experiments. The centre can invite leading experts to organise professional programmes in the areas of its activity.
We managed to create a unique platform for educating gifted children and fostering their creative endeavours. Our next task is not to let up but to move forward. Let us talk about this in more detail today.