Putin says United Russia will help more teachers become MPs

Vladimir Putin attends the All-Russia Pedagogical Assembly (RIA Novosti / Aleksey Nikolskiy)
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin pledged that the ruling party will include educators in its list of candidates during the elections to the State Duma.

­Russian teachers should have a broader representation in the parliament, Putin said at a congress of the All-Russia Pedagogical Assembly on Tuesday. He promised to use the resources of United Russia to fulfill the goal. The prime minister leads the ruling party without being a member.

“To look further ahead, one should sit higher,” Putin noted. The All Russia Popular Front that is being created around United Russia at Putin’s initiative makes it possible to include representatives of different public organizations into the party list. They should not be necessarily members of the ruling party.

Putin also demanded that the Education and Science Ministry should make public all of its legislative initiatives so that they can be discussed before being adopted. “It is not enough to consult with a narrow circle of experts,” the premier said, adding that the “formalistic” approach should be abandoned. The work of the ministry has been widely criticized recently.  

Russia is going to keep free secondary education, Putin told teachers. The state budget will finance all basic education programs and subjects, including Russian language and literature, foreign languages, mathematics, physics, geography, chemistry, history, biology and physical training. Any specialization of education should not harm the all-round development of children, the premier stressed.

As of September 1, the Russian teachers’ wage fund will be increased by 30 per cent. According to Putin, the decision was made that the average wage of teachers must be at least equal to the average wage in the economy of each region. Teachers’ wages are a serious indication of the work and responsibility of the regional authorities, Putin said.

Another novelty in the education field is the new status of school librarians. The government has introduced a new position – the teacher-librarian. This will make it possible to raise the wages of more than 50,000 people who now get two-thirds that of teachers, Putin said. Librarians do not “simply give books, they are forming the cultural level – or at least they should,” he noted. “They guide children in a huge sea of information and broaden the horizons of education.”