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Yabloko is positive about the results of the discussion of the education reform at the meeting of the State Council and proposes a mechanism for school financing

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“Yabloko is positive about the results of the discussion of the education reform, held at a meeting of the State Council on August 29,” said Deputy of the State Duma from the Yabloko faction, Deputy Head of the Duma Committee on Education and Science Alexander Shishlov. “Attention paid by the President and governors to education issues leads us to hope that the state recognises the importance of the resolution of the problems in education for the development of our country,” noted Shishlov. – However, the State Council is an advisory body. Now we need practical, comprehensive and visible steps, so that talks about the priority of education could be transformed into real deeds.”

In particular, Shishlov thinks it important to provide state guarantees of gratuitous education, specifically, the introduction of educational standards for secondary schools and transfer to standardised financing of education. “The introduction of such measures means that schoolchildren, their parents and state bureaucrats will know how many funds the state should allocate per pupil and will have an understanding of the volume of knowledge a pupil will get for these funds,” explained Shishlov. He also recollected that this approach has already been formulated in the draft law “On the Provision of Constitutional Rights of the Citizens to General Education” submitted to the State Duma by Yabloko deputies in 2000. In terms of implementation of the principle of standardised financing for schools, Yabloko proposes a clear-cut mechanism for financing schools from federal, regional and local budgets through the creation of special budget funds. Partially t! hese ideas were included in the draft law “On the State Standard of General Education” which has been recently submitted to the State Duma by deputies from Yabloko and other factions.

Shishlov said that in his opinion it is too early for the transfer to a 12-year educational school system (Ed. Earlier it used to be 10 and then 11 years. The transfer to a 12-year term has been announced) and expressed his concern that this topic had gained more precedence than more important issues, such as modernisation of education. He also noted that Yabloko’s amendment to the law “On the State General Education Standards “clearly states that we should have a 11-year education system, and that a transfer to a 12-year term may be possible only after the adoption of a corresponding law; we oppose such a situation when the issue of a 12-year education system is resolved via its lobby, without resolving other related problems – army conscription, the updating of educational programmes, increases in teachers’ wages an! d an increase in the [budget] financing of schools.”

Shishlov also noted that the idea of postponing army conscription for male teachers was approved by the State Council. However, only teachers of village schools could have enjoyed this benefit. According to Shishlov: “this gives us hope that there are stronger chances that the Duma may approve the corresponding Yabloko amendment to the law “On Military Duty and Military Service”. If our amendment is approved, there will be more male teachers in schools.”

Shishlov also agreed with the opinion voiced during the meeting of the State Council that it is necessary to considerably raise teachers’ wages. “This should become one of the priority measures in changing the situation in education,” noted Shishlov. At the same time, Shishlov said that increased financing targeted at developing the education system as such and implementing specific programmes should be planned separately. “It is obvious, however, that if sufficient funds are not forthcoming from the budget, all the ideas proposed by the members of the State Council will remain ideas only,” stressed Shishlov in conclusion.

See also:

Reform in education

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