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Excerpts from the JRL E-Mail Community :: Founded and Edited by David Johnson

TRANSCRIPT: Prime Minister Vladimir Putin delivers his report on
the government's performance in 2011 to the State Duma

Duma File Photo
file photo
[conclusion of Q&A]

Nikolai Levichev (A Just Russia): Mr Putin, I'd like to resume the discussion of the public education system which, in my view, is developing in a rather unbalanced manner. The ministry is making a lot of effort to develop assessment and gauging procedures, such as tests, reports and so on. A lot of money has been spent on the introduction of the Unified State Exam (USE) in recent years. According to expert estimates, the USE costs us an annual 6 billion roubles, which accounts for about 20% of secondary education spending. We believe this is over the top. A decision has now been made to introduce the USE for Bachelors, which means further costs. Is this feasible? The checks are becoming increasingly rigorous, yet the decline in the quality of education continues.

Would you agree that we have chosen the wrong vector for the development of the national system of education and that our preoccupation with testing procedures undermines the efficiency of the learning process as such?

Thank you.

Vladimir Putin: I partly agree that testing procedures alone won't help us discover young talent. But there is also a system of academic contests and competitions of all kinds. And then again, major Russian universities, such as the Moscow State University, admit aspiring students on the basis of their in-house entrance interviews as well [as the standardised academic aptitude test results].

I agree that by focusing exclusively on such tools, we will end up in a high-risk zone. We'd do better to combine what I've just mentioned with the aspects that you find disconcerting.

By and large, though, I believe that we've taken the right course. Our aim is to make the education system more efficient and modern.

Speaking of the Bachelors, if we want our university graduates to feel confident on the international labour market, it would not hurt to embrace this system. It could also help us make the national education system more competitive. Every resident or non-resident entering a Russian university will then know that upon graduation, he or she will be qualified to work in any country in the world. This will raise the competitiveness [of our education system] and attract skilled personnel. This is crucial, in my view. So, on the whole, I think we are moving in the right direction.

Nikolai Kharitonov (CPRF): Mr Putin, what kind of philosophy, conditions and legislation do you think we need for the even and equal development of the Russian provinces? The Regional Development Ministry does try to nurture all the regions in equal measure, but it hasn't been particularly efficient in its efforts so far.

Vladimir Putin: Well, this is something we should think about all together. This is not an easy question. In recent years, we've disbursed almost half a trillion roubles in budget allocations for regional programmes. We are running seven regional programmes, one of which I mentioned earlier today. They target Russia's Far East, the Trans>zAv`/|[Oq`o'M:+o$d[+@)FmE(cWl-ܰK3-+ީ3$}DfW2ӱ"*wZ>Ur~o t WxTj( :u;*<՛}͵m9)ҿ{i JރQqֽd|17xM bwޞc}pƧ$ vw*ME\6EݏIcDr1=*krQw1?ic:_{IEG_Z>  ?[r$,60yP:wobCN"ݧR68 %OeMVdVaTd<(%vj&􃔲eoY^fRђ}m%$(u<.aI{c$MBC]|I&cH#;K}\ia)g.dؕήj