Education, preferential mortgages, and lessons from pandemic: what Minnikhanov discusses with journalists prior to March 8
The president of Tatarstan meets with media representatives prior to March 8
Various aspects of school education, the benefits of preferential mortgage programme and the harm of 'human hills' without schools and kindergartens, Covid-19 lessons and many other topics were discussed at the meeting of Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov with media representatives prior to March 8. Realnoe Vremya presents the main statements of Minnikhanov.
About vaccination and vaccines
The traditional meeting of the president of Tatarstan, Rustam Minnikhanov, with representatives of the Russian and republican mass media on the eve of March 8, predictably began with conversations about coronavirus and vaccination. It is planned to vaccinate about 1,7 million people in Tatarstan against COVID-19, Minnikhanov told reporters on 3 March.
The president also noted that scientists of the Kazan Federal University also worked on their vaccine, although in October these works were suspended, from the president's statement it follows that the development will not be lost.
“It is impossible to produce a vaccine if there is no scientific groundwork. Such world leaders — even they have just produced vaccines that are not yet 100% effective. In our country, there is a certain scientific reserve, which was quickly implemented. [...] So it's not just that we sat down and did it. The fact that we are creating such a centre for the study of pharmacology in Kazan is a groundwork, but we will see how quickly we can implement it. In any case, this work will be necessary, because there will always be a virus in one form or another, and if our university has such competence, specialists will be able to make vaccines for other tasks," Minnikhanov reasoned.
On the impact of the pandemic on healthcare system and its lessons — for everyone
The pandemic has rolled back the state of the healthcare system of the republic to almost 20 years ago, said Minnikhanov.
“Remember, at the end of March, we decided to quarantine the country, because we didn't know. The healthcare system was not ready. But by and large, it turned out to be a huge stratum of people who were sitting at home, could not receive medical care. We rolled back to the level of 2003. The entire healthcare system, which worked proactively, for prevention, has not yet been restored," the president of Tatarstan stated.
He added that during the period of the most severe restrictions and the most difficult situation with the disease, people learned a lot, but now they stop using this experience.
“Covid-19, it taught us a lot — how to wear a mask, how to wash the hands, how to disinfect the premises, and how to maintain social distance. But people forget everything very quickly. And many things should be taken as a standard.”
About preferential mortgages and 'human hills' without schools and kindergartens
Minnikhanov spoke positively about the programme of preferential mortgages and said that the rate on it should be reduced further.
“The most important criterion for housing affordability is the cost of a mortgage. It reached 11%, and we always said: we would like to reach 7% at least. But here it is 6,5%," says the president of Tatarstan. “I am sure that the rate should be reduced even more. 6,5% is also a lot of money. If two million was given — that is what percent will be. This is a very good programme, and today there are many solutions in terms of simplifying the procedure.”
In this context, Minnikhanov also answered the question of Realnoe Vremya about the situation with a shortage of schools and kindergartens in residential areas on the outskirts of Kazan, which is why residents travelling to the city, including to take their children to school, are stuck in traffic jams for many hours. Minnikhanov called it a mistake to build a territory without social infrastructure facilities, without an integrated approach.
“The topic is important and difficult. But when we develop a territory, we should consider it as a complex — with schools, medical institutions. At the very beginning, our mistake is when we unreasonably build residential complexes, and by and large all residents get up in the morning and go to the city, then back. We have a programme — we need to create industrial parks, technology parks, and other forms of [employment]," Minnikhanov said.
About nutrition in schools
The president of Tatarstan discussed with journalists not only the availability of schools, but also the organisation of meals in them. Minnikhanov said that during working visits to the districts, he always tries to visit schools in the area and have lunch there.
“We understand that it is difficult to put everything in order in one day, but we have ensured this work in the republic. In general, the work is organised, but there are issues that need to be put in order within two or three years. I try, when we go to a certain area, to see the school, to have lunch and ask my colleagues. This must be done constantly, constant constrol. It is a shame when there are low-quality products, it is a shame when children do not eat, half of the food is thrown away. It's a shame when we can't provide proper food. [ ... ] When the head [of the district] will be interested, at least a couple of times a week to go to some school for lunch, then there will be an order," suggested Minnikhanov.
More about education
“Our big mistake is to underestimate the role of the school. We demand the results of the Unified State Exam, but this is no longer a question who we educate, what their inclinations are. He may be an excellent student but not a good person. He may be a C-student but a wonderful person. It is necessary to revive the systematic work of class teachers with students and parents," Minnikhanov said.
In addition to studying, students should also attend extracurricular activities — sports sections or creative circles, the president of Tatarstan added. This should help to neutralise the negative impact on the minds of young people, which is happening today, including through social networks.
About Our Yard programme
One of the participants of the meeting told Minnikhanov about cases when contractors started work on the Our Yard programme, but abandoned it in the middle — according to the journalist, such case occurred in Derbyshki.
“And there is data on the developers. Who worked on it? We will not allow such people at all, plus they have contracts. If they got the money, they must finish. Everything that is planned must be completed. [ ... ] There are complaints to builders: poor-quality materials that do not correspond to the project of small forms," the president of Tatarstan responded.
In general, the programme Our Yard will continue, assured Minnikhanov — this year it is planned to allocate 8 billion rubles for its implementation. “The yard is like a state of mind. And for people of retirement age, women with children, this is a living environment," he added.
About Tatars living outside the republic
In Tatarstan, there live 30% of Tatars, and the rest live outside of it, Rustam Minnikhanov said. In the run-up to the All-Russian Population Census, a lot of work needs to be done with them, he added.
“It is important for us to know where and how many Tatars live, how we contact them. Why are we interested in this? There is a desire to preserve our identity, our ethnicity. It is important that people living outside of our region and country have the opportunity to receive literature, communicate with us, and come to us," Minnikhanov said.
About public sector salaries and women in power
The level of average wages in Tatarstan, including in the budget sector, is higher than in neighbouring regions, said Minnikhanov, answering the question about the implementation of the May Decrees of Russian President Vladimir Putin on raising salaries for state employees.
“If we look at the salaries in the neighbouring regions — Mari El and Chuvashia, the level of average salaries, including those of state employees, is lower there than in Tatarstan. [...] There is the presidential decree, and we will certainly implement it. So far, I don't see any wrongdoing. If there are such special cases, we will respond quickly," said Minnikhanov.
He also answered the question about the number of women in the leadership of the republic.
“The main criterion of professional aptitude is the ability to do their job. I would never hire a woman or a man on purpose. We look simple: who could work more effectively in this position," said Minnikhanov.