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#16 - JRL 7034
Russia: Right to education restricted by poverty, minister says

Moscow, 25 January: Economic conditions in this country put certain
constraints on the universal right to education, guaranteed by the Russian
constitution, Education Minister Vladimir Filippov said live on national
television today during a televised conference on the rights of Russian

As he answered a question from a schoolgirl in Blagoveshchensk, the Far
East, Filippov admitted that economic problems put some constraints on the
opportunities to get education.

"Many people simply cannot afford to buy an air ticket and come to Moscow
to enrol for college entrance exams," he said.

Also, far from all parents could find enough money to pay to private
teachers who prepare school students for university and college exams, or
to pay for private apartments while their children are studying, since many
schools of higher learning do not have hostels rooms for all students,
Filippov said.

He recalled that the State Council, a consultative and decision-making body
that reports to President [Vladimir] Putin, had raised the issue recently,
and the government was taking a range of urgent measures as part of the
national education system reform.

One of them is to raise the student grants, Filippov said. With the
beginning of next academic year (1 September 2003 - ITAR-TASS), an averaged
academic grant will total R1,000, he said.

The televised conference on the rights of children is a unique action for
Russia. Its most important participants, the school students, have done
researches on how the legal rights of children are observed at their
schools, cities and regions.

The televised conference has embraced eight time zones from the Far East to
the Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad, with children telling the regional
leaders and federal officials about the problems that schools in their
areas come across...
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