Education that is not for all
The members of the parliament debates of the Russian State Duma claimed that, unlike UNESCO, which chose to follow the motto “Education is for all”, Russian system of education aims at the most wealthy social strata. That’s why the government spends on one teacher 43 rubles per day and on one prisoner – 48 rubles per day.
The social movement “Education is for all” celebrated UNESCO’s 60th anniversary. During parliamentary hearings they compared UNESCO’s strategies with educational policy of Russia, the latter revealed evident faults.
According to parliament members, in Russia education is antidemocratic, it’s hardly financed by the state, so teachers live in poverty and school buildings are almost falling apart.
Vice-chairman of the Russian movement “Education is for all”, Alexander Buzgalin says that UNESCO and Russia follow absolutely different aims, as Russia is mostly oriented to the elite education, witch will fulfill the demands of the market. With time it may deprive less wealthy social strata of the good quality education and may create a circle of self reproducing poverty ghetto.
According to the vice chairman of the State Duma Education and Science Committee, Oleg Smolin, Russia has been falling behind the developed countries in all that concerns education. He considers the reduction of the state budget the main reason for that. He claims that the number of solitudes in the Universities and Colleges has been reduced to 8% in 2005, which happened for the first time since the beginning of the 90-s. On the 1st of January the government launched the law that cancels the tax privileges on the Educational Establishments land, which means that education will be even more expensive for those who pay for their education.
President of the Non-government educational establishments, Gavriil Polyakovsky, fears that they will go bankrupt and get closed.
The point is that beside paying high taxes, the nongovernmental schools and Colleges are deprived of the state finance support, which was guaranteed by the former law. The exception is Moscow, as the city government still continues finances of these establishments. But the rest of the Russian regions cannot cope with that, which means that their private schools and college will have to go through hard times and not all of they will be able to survive.
One the whole, the member say that the number of institutions, providing different levels of education, which close every year comes to 1000 . In 2005-2004 it came to 919, 2003 –2004 – 1411, 2002- 2003 – 1058.
According to the member of the UNESCO program Committee, the lack of budget funds on education keeps the teacher’s salary at the extremely low level. The primary school teacher with University diploma gets 1500 rubles per month, and the teacher in the College of Education gets 1250 rubles per month. With all the taxes taken, it comes that a teacher has to live on 43,6 rubles per day. It is of interest that the Government spend 48 rubles on one prisoner and 40 rubles per day on the guarding dog.
Due to the lack of finance, many school buildings have not been renovated for years. According to the president of the Education Fund in Russia, Sergey Komkov, most of them are in most deplorable state. On the 1st of September 2005 333 schools “were prohibited to open” and 27% were accepted conditionally: most of them did not have canalization, running water, anti fire equipment.
All the problems are supposed to be discussed at the meeting of the Russian Educational Society Congress, which takes place in February 2006. The participants re going to refer to UNESCO’s experience and will claim to top this “agony of Russian school”.
Nonetheless, UNESCO does not share the Russian education “agony” point of view.
According to “Gazeta.RU”, the head of the Education and Science Department at the UNESCO Committee, Valery Sakharov says that “The state of Russian Education is not that bad”. He believes that we hold “common” rates in most of the points. The only exception is the quality of education, especially of the primary one. The state funding is also low: the funding that is UNESCO consider “enough” should be approximately 5-6% of the State Budget. In 2005 Russia spent on education 4,5% of its budget.
Text by Marina Lemutkina