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Meeting on preparations for the new school year

July 28, 2021, Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region

Vladimir Putin held a meeting, via videoconference, on preparations for the new school year.

The meeting was attended by Minister of Labour and Social Protection Anton Kotyakov and Minister of Education Sergei Kravtsov.


President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues,

I suggest that today we discuss preparations for the upcoming school year.

As you know, under the Executive Order I have signed we should draft a renovation programme for schools for the period until 2026. We have 39,600 schools (they occupy 67,500 buildings and structures), of which approximately 10 percent require major repairs, while less than one percent of schools – this is not much, but it is also unacceptable – are in a state of disrepair.

In keeping with my request, the Government should draft this programme before the end of this year and allocate the necessary funds. Today, I would like to hear how this work is proceeding, Mr Kravtsov.

No one has cancelled preparations for September 1, and therefore, I would like to hear from you how this work is advancing this year.

My second question is this: You know that in accordance with the decision we have taken and to the Presidential Executive Order of July 2, 2021, we are planning to make a one-time payment to families with children aged from six to 18 years for getting their kids ready for school as well as to those who are continuing their training at schools – I am referring to people with disabilities and health limitations aged from 18 to 23 years.

My question is about whether it is possible to make this payment ahead of the scheduled date – the scheduled date was August 16 – to enable people to get their children ready for September 1, for school, in keeping with the current requirements, letting them do this in a planned manner, without haste, giving them a longer timeframe.

Let us begin. Mr Kravtsov, please.

Minister of Education Sergei Kravtsov: Good afternoon, Mr President.

First, let me note the successes of our school students. We are now following the achievements of our national team in Tokyo and hope they will get as many gold medals as possible. International academic competitions go parallel with the Olympic Games. Thus, the International Mathematics Olympiad (IMO), which was hosted by Russia, ended a few days ago. Six Russian school students won five gold and one silver medals. Last year, we had two gold and four silver medals.

Several days earlier, our team took all five gold medals from the International Physics Olympiad (IPhO), thereby breaking its own record. Our students demonstrated the high quality of our education in natural science subjects in these competitions.

Now, Mr President, I would like to say a few words about our preparations for the new school year. We are working according to our plan. As of now, Rospotrebnadzor, the Emergencies Ministry, and the regional education administration bodies have accepted about 6,000 schools. We will complete this process before August 20 in line with our plan.

We are also separately monitoring the epidemiological situation and will ensure compliance with all Rospotrebnadzor requirements on the safe health of schoolchildren, their parents and teachers.

About 17 million schoolchildren, including 2 million first formers, will attend school this school year.

Mr President, under your instructions, we have prepared a programme of major school repairs. Of the 40,000 schools or 67,000 buildings you mentioned, 10 percent require major repairs. During this time, we have analysed the condition of each building and checked the design and estimate documentation. We know the situation in every school and have all the required information about them.

In cooperation with United Russia, we have a programme for up to 2026. We have already earmarked the required funds together with the Finance Ministry in the 2022–2024 draft budget and plan to repair the schools that have design and estimate documentation in 2022. We will conduct major repairs on some 700 buildings.

As we have agreed during discussions with our colleagues, schoolteachers and directors, it is important to listen to the opinions of the students themselves and make the education environment as comfortable for them as possible.

Mr President, in the new school year we will also focus on monitoring the implementation of your instructions on payments for classroom management and payments to group curators in secondary vocational schools. The budget funds for this purpose have been allocated, so there will be no disruptions.

We will also continue our efforts to provide primary school students with free hot breakfasts. Following your advice, we will involve parent committees as much as possible in monitoring the provision of meals for schoolchildren.

Starting September 1, an educational work programme will be introduced at all schools. Last year, we tested it in 17,000 schools. This year, it will be all-out systemic work. In 10 regions, 2,500 educational work advisers will start performing their duties. They received proper training at the Artek international centre.

So, we are on schedule, and I personally oversee all matters daily.

Thank you.

Vladimir Putin: Mr Kravtsov, you just said “on schedule,” but I am not sure how ambitious these plans are in order for us to be able to meet our objectives.

Look, you just said there are plans to overhaul 700 schools next year, correct?

Sergei Kravtsov: Buildings, Mr President.

Vladimir Putin: Yes, buildings. The total number of buildings, if we say that this is a little over 10 percent, amounts to 7,353. If we continue to renovate school buildings at this pace, it will take us over 10 years to finish the project, correct? In order to complete the repairs on time, by 2026, it is necessary to overhaul 1,400–1,500 buildings per year, not 700. What do you think about it?

Sergei Kravtsov: Mr President, since we will be primarily repairing the buildings with design estimates next year – major repairs need corresponding paperwork – today we have gathered papers precisely for 700 buildings, and this is 2022.

The programme will continue, and we will pick up the pace. We have crunched the numbers to make sure that all the buildings in need of major repairs get renovated. In this regard, we have teamed up with the regions and the Ministry of Construction in order to draft design estimates for all the remaining buildings that need major repairs. After they get approved, we will start renovating these schools.

Vladimir Putin: Mr Kravtsov, look, if the work continues at this pace, the volume of funding will increase, whereas it should continue at an even pace, so 700 buildings next year is not enough. This is my first point.

Second, it will be difficult for you to obtain high-quality documents from all the participants in this process in due time. You will be talking with them not until 2026, but until 2056. What you need to do is not just wait for them to submit the design and estimate documentation but help them draft it.

I will issue additional instructions for the construction bloc and Deputy Prime Minister Khusnullin. They must be involved in this directly, and you must help the regions draft these documents, otherwise we will not meet the objective that I identified in the corresponding Presidential Executive Order. Please revise your plans for 2022.

Sergei Kravtsov: Will do, Mr President. We will do so and report back to you separately.

Vladimir Putin: Good. Thank you.

Let’s move on to another topic.

Minister of Labour and Social Protection Anton Kotyakov: Mr President,

So far, the Pension Fund has received applications from 12.4 million parents. A decision has already been taken to allocate money to families with a total of 16.5 million children. Let me remind you that, overall, families with over 20 million school-aged children will receive one-time payments.

The Pension Fund has received 204 billion rubles – these are the funds required to disburse payments in full. We continue to accept applications from parents.

Mr President, indeed, under the relevant Government resolution we planned to begin making payments from August 16. At the same time, by Monday we will be technically ready to start distribution of funds for 17 million children. To do this, we will have to make amendments to the Government resolution that specifies the day for us to start making payments. We are ready to do this quickly and to begin to distribute the payments starting Monday, August 2.

Vladimir Putin: So the procedure has been put in place and you have funds, don’t you?

Anton Kotyakov: The procedure has been put in place and we have received the funding, and on Monday we will disburse the money to families that, in all, have 17 million children.

Vladimir Putin: Good.

I have a question about people with disabilities and health limitations. How is the allocation of money for this category of citizens organised?

Anton Kotyakov: The flow of documents between us and the Ministry of Education has been put in place now, so the Ministry has supplied us with the lists of children with disabilities who go to school. As soon as we receive a request we check if the child in question goes to school at present and then we send the funds in the same way we do for other citizens.

Vladimir Putin: That is, this issue has also been resolved.

Anton Kotyakov: This issue has been resolved, Mr President.

Vladimir Putin: Good, thank you very much.

Then let’s do it this way and begin disbursements on August 2 this year, that is, next Monday.

Thank you.

Mr Kravtsov, as for capital construction plans, please, report as soon as possible. Report to the Prime Minister, discuss the issue and submit your proposals.

Sergei Kravtsov: Will do, Mr President. Everything will be done.

Vladimir Putin: Of course, immediate attention should be given to buildings and structures in disrepair. This should be done promptly, as soon as possible.

How long will it take you to complete the revision of plans for next year?

Sergei Kravtsov: Mr President, I believe this will take two weeks. We will try to do it within the shortest possible timeframe – within two weeks.

Vladimir Putin: Fine, I am looking forward to hearing your report.

Thank you very much.

July 28, 2021, Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region