Yelena Shmelyova: “Tatarstan decided to create a centre for gifted children. Resources will be consolidated for this purpose”
The head of Talent and Success foundation about how the analogue of Sirius will be created in the republic
A Tatarstan centre for gifted children like Sirius in Sochi is going to open in Friendship children’s camp in Derbyshki settlement. The suburban campus will be reconstructed next year, after that, the centre will be able to teach up to 300 children. The students will be selected according to their scholastic and research achievements, while Tatarstan President will chair the board of trustees, said head of Talent and Success foundation Yelena Shmelyova. According to her, KAMAZ, Kazan Helicopters, leading universities will become partners of the Tatarstan centre for gifted children. The creation of the centre will be, first of all, financed within Education federal national project.
“It is a model we show to all interested regional governors”
During the meeting with Rustam Minnikhanov, you signed an agreement on creation of a centre for gifted children in Tatarstan like Sirius. How much money will be needed to create it? Who will give the money and how? Have other regions ever created such centres?
Today we have established a transition between Sirius and the Republic of Tatarstan to a new stage of a relationship. Colleagues, the best teachers of the republic have been cooperating with Sirius since day one. As you know, almost a thousand children from Tatarstan have already been in Sirius. And today we’ve discussed a big plan of works designed to accompany the children who are back from Sirius, create infrastructure within Education national project as well as Digital Economy and Science project. 45 regions have already signed an agreement with Sirius.
I will talk about financing. Regional centres for gifted children aren’t a subdivision of Talent and Success foundation. It is a model the foundation created and shows to all interested governors, heads of republics, regions of the federation to try to apply it to work with talents at a regional level. In this respect, we’ve discussed network programmes with students, as a university is opening in Sirius, with Innopolis and leading companies of the republic. In addition, we’ve discussed the creation of the environment because Sirius is not only a campus, it has already turned into an open space for the city.
The model has been approved in Tatarstan. Mr Minnikhanov often goes to Sirius and thinks that the effect the union of the brightest children and the most outstanding teachers in different areas is very fruitful to develop the creative environment in the republic. It is a choice, decision of the region. Resources will be consolidated for this decision. First of all, those available. It is not compulsory to transfer Olympic legacy facilities to Kazan, for example, to enable guys to receive tasks from industrial partners. Kazan already has enough campuses and operating laboratories.
Mr Minnikhanov often goes to Sirius and thinks that the effect the union of brighest children and the most outstanding teachers in different areas is very fruitful to develop the creative environment in the republic
Tatarstan developments to get to Sirius library
I suppose that nowadays the first help of the federal budget will be included in Every Child’s Success project in Education national project. There is a competition of regional centres, and up to 300 million rubles are expected to finance them. This all will become investments only if the further development chain of a schoolchild whom we’ve noticed is planned correctly.
Then we have Science national project, and the ultimate goal of such work is probably the creation of research centres. I know that Tatarstan will aspire to get this subsidy, too. And it has absolutely all industrial partners that would be able to play the key role in this research centre. It means that the schoolchildren whom we’re selecting for the first programmes will immediately be oriented to using their developments in practice to develop Tatarstan and all national projects in general. There is a feeling that there will be enough financing for infrastructure. The most important thing is to give children a clear idea of priorities.
We also agreed to inform all our schoolchildren arriving in Sirius about developments unfolding in Tatarstan. In other words, we want to make a library of current developments so that children will look at plans of social and economic development of the Republic of Tatarstan, laboratories or clusters when choosing a speciality or specialisation.
Tatarstan analogue of Sirius to be built in Derbyshki
How will this centre work? Who will be accepted?
This is probably the part that refers to the partners’ work. The partners are, first of all, leading teaching staff. A very powerful council of experts was created. The head of the republic chaired the Tatarstan centre’s board of trustees. In this respect, it’s an exact copy of the Sirius model because, as you know, the president of the Russian Federation chairs our board of trustees.
And it’s a guarantee that all three areas will be equally important and get an opportunity to develop in the new infrastructure and new educational programmes. The same scheme is applied in this case. Just the interest of the republic’s president, in this case, gives an opportunity to use an unusual approach. Next year, there will be an experiment in both network programmes for Sirius students and graduates and those who come to these programmes from high school. A lot of attention will be paid to upgrade teachers’ skills. It will be done depending on the subject and projects. Projects will be fully patronised by strong partners. Colleagues already have big ideas with KAMAZ, Kazan Helicopters and Kazan National Research Technological University. I think the number of partners will only increase, including thanks to the partners Sirius has.
We also agreed to inform all our schoolchildren arriving in Sirius about developments unfolding in Tatarstan. In other words, we want to make a library of current developments so that children will look at plans of social and economic development of the Republic of Tatarstan, laboratories or clusters
Selection for every programme is made by the council of experts. There are experts in every area. In this sense, it’s also the model Sirius has. Academic accomplishments or research accomplishments are considered if we are talking about science. Sport and art are the areas that are under discussion now.
Today we’ve heard an instruction of Mr Minnikhanov that all offers from colleagues will be collected and analysed for two weeks. And we will see a document, the final direction the centre will be developing for the first two years, for instance.
Has any specific site where the centre for gifted children will open in Tatarstan been chosen?
On the one hand, we’ve had a list of partners. It’s leading universities and all specialised schools. On the other hand, there is a suburban base that will be reconstruction for constant residence, constant terms next year. It’s Friendship camp in Derbyshki settlement.
How many children will the centre accept?
As I understood, monthly programmes might have up to 300 people during the first year after the reconstruction. Then it will depend on the demand for programmes and inclusion of additional sites.
Who will teach? Will it be local teachers or somebody from Sirius will also come?
Yes, teachers from Sirius will also come. We created an association of Sirius school partners, and they also make sure that regional centres get the best expertise and additional teachers.
Sirius operates in the interests of every region of the Russian Federation, that’s to say, the brightest children from every region come to us. The republican centre must operate according to the same principle but with every municipality
“Front will control the effectiveness of money spent on national projects”
You are a famous sociologist, politician, co-chairwoman of the All-Russia People's Front Central Staff. How do you evaluate the situation in Tatarstan from this perspective?
I oversee the job of three areas — education, science and culture. In this respect, culture is basic for me, the main site that gives not only sense but the quality of life we look at to perform academic and technological tasks. A breakthrough is impossible without developing spaces, without developing cities, without all children’s access to the infrastructure we’re creating.
Sirius operates in the interests of every region of the Russian Federation, that’s to say, the brightest children from every region come to us. The republican centre must operate according to the same principle but with every municipality. Then we get a situation when the regional centre sees bright children who distinguished themselves in every area and understands who is its partner in the next step.
On the one hand, considering digitalisation, we must make access to this system fair. It means that every child should know about the opportunity he or she has. Secondly, it’s the teachers’ qualifications. Thirdly, availability of infrastructure. And this all is also a responsibility of the regional centre. We can’t divide children into groups, create infrastructure for some but close it for others. This fairness is important for everyone. And it’s very important that these children, future leaders in science, sport, art play fair, by transparent and open rules for everyone as it happens in Sirius, as it happens in the strongest schools because these children must pay for those tools that will help this tendency further. We really need top specialists for national projects.
The Front controls federal agencies, ministries in those parameters I mentioned. There is a lot of outstanding teachers and staffs that achieved significant results. The national project must consider their experience, their expertise. The best practices must be supported, not practices of an institution subordinate to some ministry. In this respect, the Front will very strictly control the effectiveness of money spent on national projects.