15 august 2012

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev holds a meeting on developing preschool education and making it accessible

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev chaired a meeting on developing a pre-school education system accessible for all children. Mr Medvedev told the meeting's participants that the Defence Ministry's kindergartens must continue to operate. "There are departmental kindergartens, including those of the Defence Ministry, and they must remain, no matter what... All of them must remain and must, naturally, accomplish their main objective," the prime minister said.

The prime minister stressed that the government monitored and would continue to monitor the shortage of places at kindergartens. Mr Medvedev noted that there are about 1.3 million children between the ages of three and seven in Russia. "About a million children in this category will be accommodated at kindergartens," the prime minister said, noting that the shortage of places must be eliminated more quickly. Mr Medvedev said the federal budget stipulates budget loans worth eight billion roubles for the regions, which will use them to build additional kindergartens. "On July 20, the government decided to allocate the same total in 2013. The allocations must be used to implement a comprehensive programme for supporting and developing pre-school educational institutions and to build new kindergartens," the prime minister said. He also noted the need to promote alternative, private kindergartens and the necessity to return earlier privatised kindergarten buildings, which don't fulfil their main functions.

In her report, Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets noted that new kindergartens for 281,000 children would be opened between September 1, 2012 and January 1, 2013. The deputy prime minister said the shortage of places at kindergartens was to be eliminated by 2016. "Right now, more and more parents also realise the need for pre-school education and seek to enrol their children in kindergartens. The national pre-school education system continues to expand. We also realise this. Consequently, we must work fast and keep ahead of current national birth rates and demographic trends," Ms Golodets said.

Moreover, the deputy prime minister discussed new standards and approaches to pre-school education, due to be introduced throughout Russia by 2015. Ms Golodets said such approaches to pre-school education curricula had been compiled by professional educators, as well as by methodologists and international experts. "It is very important that all these approaches have now been divided into blocks. This includes new approaches to physical fitness, arts education and speech and language therapy," the deputy prime minister explained.