Marat Akhmetov: “Many parents do not have a spiritual need to learn their native language”
A heated discussion around teaching the Tatar language unfolded in the State Council of Tatarstan on 14 December. The deputies discussed the prospects for the development of multilingual education in the republic, asked how to measure the effectiveness of new educational complexes Adymnar, and also considered the idea of creating an association of leading schools in Tatarstan. Read the details in the material of Realnoe Vremya.
Two learning pathways
A whole network of multilingual educational complexes Adymnar are going to be set up in Tatarstan until 2024. The first such schools were opened in Kazan and Yelabuga this September.
The Kazan poly-lingual complex “Adymnar — the path to knowledge and harmony” is designed for 2,504 students, it was created on the basis of school No. 165. After a complete reconstruction, the building was transferred to an elementary school for 480 students. The complex includes a new bilingual school for 800 students, a polylingual school for 1,224 students, a boarding school, and a country centre for additional education.
In turn, the design capacity of Adymnar-Alabuga of the Yelabuga municipal district is designed for 1,224 places. As the head of the republican ministry of education and science, Ilsur Khadiullin, said during a meeting of the parliamentary committee on education, culture, science and ethinic issues, in the future such complexes will appear in Almetyevsk, Naberezhnye Chelny and Nizhnekamsk.
“The main message of polylingual education is equal training in several languages, introducing children to the cultural wealth of the multinational people of Russia by means of the studied languages, introducing children to the achievements of world culture, educating them in the spirit of tolerance and interethnic harmony," Khadiullin said. “Taking into account the really difficult situation in the linguistic diversity and level of language proficiency, in polylingual educational complexes, two learning paths are offered to choose from.
The first trajectory is polylingual. It includes in-depth study of Tatar, Russian and English languages and teaching disciplines in these languages. The concept is aimed at children who have competence in the Tatar language at the time of admission to school.
The second trajectory is bilingual. In this case, we are talking about the mandatory study of Tatar as the state language of the republic, in-depth study of English and teaching in three languages. This concept is designed for children who do not have a deep knowledge of Tatar when entering school.
“It is important to develop cooperation between the school and the family, so the principle of parental involvement will be developed in the complexes. Also, much attention will be paid to extracurricular activities, plus suburban centres of additional education will operate — this is a year-round working base that will give the opportunity to organise summer holidays, specialised language camps, preparation for the olympiads and the language socialization of children," the minister reported.
“Every school is polylingual from the point of view of the layman”
The minister who made the report was immediately bombarded with questions by the rector of the Kazan Federal University, Ilshat Gafurov. He was interested in how to measure the effectiveness of such complexes and the achievement of goals.
“If you look from the outside, then, from the position of the layman, every school is polylingual. We have the opportunity to learn our native language and a foreign one. Another thing is special schools, in which a huge amount of capital, including human capital, has been invested," Gafurov said.
As the director of the Kazan multilingual complex “Adymnar — the path to knowledge and harmony”, Aydar Shamsutdinov, explained, the state task sets new type schools “an order of magnitude higher tasks” than for ordinary educational institutions. We are talking about the results of the Basic State Exam, the Unified State Exam, the number of olympiad medalists, overall academic performance and other indicators.
“Can we say that we are talking about exceeding the indicators by dozens of times? Will students be able to master physics 100% in English or history — in Tatar? You've mentioned the indicators that are also applied to other schools," said the rector of the Kazan Federal University.
“Children who study Tatar as a state language enter the B1 level. Children who learn Tatar as their native language reach the C1 level. Throughout all the years of education, the diagnosis of achieving the level of language knowledge is carried out. Every graduate should know the language at the level of functional proficiency," Shamsutdinov explained in response.
Satisfied with the answer, Ilshat Gafurov noted that “schools in Kazan and Yelabuga are different levels of training and teaching staff”. In continuation of his thoughts, the speaker proposed to create an association of Adymnar schools, which will also include gymnasiums at universities, so that “all issues are discussed in the circle of the same type of schools”.
The minister of education of the republic considered this idea worthy of implementation. In turn, Deputy Chairman of the State Council of Tatarstan Tatyana Larionova said that she “fully supports the idea of an association of leading schools”.
“Today 3,500 Tatar teachers teach, and there were more than 5,000 of them before”
During the meeting, the minister of education and science of the Republic of Tatarstan, Ilsur Khadiullin, also raised the personnel issue.
“More than 400 teachers have already completed advanced training courses at our universities. In addition, 617 students are currently studying at the KFU and at the branch in Yelabuga. Of these, 237 future teachers are preparing to work in bi- and poly-lingual environments. We are also working with “contract groups” among graduates of the 11th grade. By the way, let me remind you that in the republic there is a scholarship support: during 5 years of study, with successful passing of exams, contract students who then go to schools receive 15,000 rubles a month," Ilsur Khadiullin said.
The speech on personnel training gained support from the chairperson of the Commission for the Preservation of the Tatar Language and deputy chairperson of the parliament of the Republic of Tatarstan, Marat Akhmetov.
“The attitude should be serious. Many parents do not have a spiritual need to learn their native language. We need to make sure that teachers are responsible in this direction. Only the best teachers should be chosen. In this case, the attitude to the Tatar language will be completely different," Akhmetov said.
The education minister supported the idea, saying that “the problem is really very serious”.
“Today, 3,490 Tatar teachers work in schools. Previously, there were more than 5,000 of them. Among them, there are teachers who love their language, love their people and are responsible for their work. Teachers should be just like that. The textbook can be good, but if the teacher does not bring the discipline to the desired degree, the result will not be, — ilsur khadiullin concluded.