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MOSCOW, September 1 (Itar-Tass) — Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Thursday – Knowledge Day - will get acquainted with the introduction of innovations in school education by an example of one of the secondary schools in Podolsk, Moscow region. He will examine a number of specialised school rooms, including a primary school room, a school TV studio and a planetarium, as well as will talk to senior class students. Minister for Education and Science Andrei Fursenko and Moscow region governor Boris Gromov will accompany the prime minister, the government press service reported.
The secondary school selected for the visit is one of the “young” educational institutions of Podolsk. Nevertheless, in 2008 it won a contest within the national project Education and in 2009 was the winner of the competition for The Best Schools in the Moscow Region. This year the school has won a competition of municipal educational institutions developing and implementing innovative educational programs.
The school specialises in the subjects of natural sciences: mathematics, physics, chemistry, geography and astronomy. All classrooms are equipped with multimedia systems and interactive boards, and the education is based on computer presentations. The educational process widely involves a school 3D cinema, a studio for the creation of virtual reality, school television, astronomical complex and an electronic library. The school’s astronomical complex is unique and only one in Russia – it consists of a planetarium, a platform for visual observations and the observatory with modern automated telescopes. The schoolchildren under the guidance of scientists-astronomers prepare research projects and engage in research activities.
In 2009 the school launched an experiment to introduce information and communication and Internet technologies in the educational process. The students of senior experimental classes instead of all textbooks, workbooks and journals use personal mini-laptops, which replaced a number of measuring and test instruments in physics classes, connect via the Internet to special resources and are a way to communicate with the teacher - regardless of the location of the student.
There are 703 pupils and 47 teachers at the school. Half of the teachers have the highest qualification category. The average wage of teachers at the school for the first quarter of the year was 23,254 roubles. Beginning September 1, the monthly pay of teachers and school employees will be increased in line with the regional education modernisation program.
This April, Putin proposed to develop a program of modernisation of regional systems of general education for the next three years. The main sense of the program is with the help of the federal budget subsidies to help the regions implement a set of measures to modernise their own schools and at the same time raise the salaries of teachers and school staff. The federal funds are planned to be used to purchase equipment, transport for students, making additions to the library, the development of school infrastructure, the establishment of distance learning. The released regional resources will be spent on raising the salaries that have not been indexed for a long time.
The ultimate goal of the project is to raise the average teachers’ wages to average wages in the economy of each region. For this purpose the federal envisages 120 billion roubles: in 2011 - 20 billion, in 2012 - 60 billion, in 2013 - 40 billion. This year, all the allocated funds - 20 billion roubles – were received by the regions in full volume.
The wage increases are expected in 40 Russian regions already in September. In 38 regions of Russia the average level of teachers’ salaries will increase from 1 September will be raised by at least 30 percent, compared with an average salary a teacher of the subject received in the first quarter of 2011. And in four regions - the Ivanovo and Saratov regions, the Republic of Tuva and Moscow - starting from September 1 the average salary of teachers will exceed the average wage in the subject’s economy in the first quarter of this year.
As of today, about 2 million and 168 thousand people work in Russian general education schools, half of them are teachers (lecturers). Another 200 thousand people are the so-called pedagogical staff (psychologists, speech therapists, educators, etc.).
Education in Russia is provided predominantly by the state and is regulated by the federal Ministry of Education and Science. Regional authorities regulate education within their jurisdictions within the prevailing framework of federal laws. In 2004 state spending for education amounted to 3.6 percent of GDP, or 13 percent of consolidated state budget. Private institutions account for 1 percent of pre-school enrolment, 0.5 percent of elementary school enrolment and 17 percent of university-level students.
Before 1990 the course of school training in Soviet Union was 10-years, but at the end of 1990 the 11-year course has been officially introduced. Education in state-owned secondary schools is free; first tertiary (university level) education is free with reservations: a substantial share of students is enrolled for full pay. Male and female students have nearly equal shares in all stages of education, except tertiary education where women lead with 57 percent.
The literacy rate in Russia, according to the 2002 census, is 99.4 percent (99.7 percent men, 99.2 percent women). 16.0 percent of population over 15 years of age (17.6 million) have tertiary (undergraduate level or higher) education; 47.7 percent have completed secondary education (10 or 11 years); 26.5 percent have completed middle school (8 or 9 years) and 8.1 percent have elementary education. Highest rates of tertiary education, 24.7 percent are recorded among women aged 35–39 years (compared to 19.5 percent for men of the same age bracket).