Commuting explains shortage of places in Tatarstan kindergartens

14,000 new places in pre-school institutions have additionally opened in Tatarstan in the last three years, but they are anyway not enough

Commuting explains shortage of places in Tatarstan kindergartens
Photo: Rinat Nazmetdinov (archive)

14,000 new pre-school places additionally opened in Tatarstan from 2019 to 2021 — 60 kindergartens had to be built for this. However, the availability of places in these establishments isn’t a hundred percent. As the Ministry of Education and Science says, the population’s migration from the countryside to the cities is the reason. Commuting — when parents live in the suburbs but go to work to the capital of Tatarstan — is the cause of the shortage of nursery groups, explains the ministry. Read in Realnoe Vremya’s report how Tatarstan is going to solve the problem of “irritated teachers,” a deficit of staff, nurseries and why children under three cannot go to usual groups but parents have to pay for the kindergarten even when the child doesn’t go there in summer.

14,000 new places in pre-school institutions have additionally opened in Tatarstan in the last three years

Today the system of pre-school education in Tatarstan is a mechanism consisting of 2,000 organisations — private, public and municipal. A total of more than 215,000 children go to these kindergartens where 50,000 workers work. As Ramis Muzipov, vice minister of education of Tatarstan, said, 60 new kindergartens opened in Tatarstan in 2019-2021. Half of them were built in 2019, 28 institutions did in 2020 for 5,000 new places (half of them for nursery groups), 17 kindergartens for 3,000 new places (of which 1,200 are for children under the age of 3) opened in 2021.

“We plan to open another three kindergartens in 2022. One is already being built in Kazan, another one in Buinsk District, the third is in Nizhnekamsk District,” the functionary promised. “More than 14,000 new pre-school places have opened additionally in the last three years.”

At the same time, programmes aimed to “repurpose” groups in existing kindergartens, that is to say, the renovation of buildings and changes in the groups to create nursery groups Tatarstan urgently needs, are underway. So about 2,000 new places for children under the age of 3 were created. Muzipov assured us that 30 groups were repurposed in Kazan alone.

As Ramis Muzipov, vice minister of education of Tatarstan, said, 60 new kindergartens opened in Tatarstan in 2019-2021. Photo:

Talking about the availability, Tatarstan is 98% provided with places in kindergartens. To compare, the rate in 2020 was 91%, in 2021 it was already 94%. We will reach 100% very soon,” the vice education minister of Tatarstan promised. “The availability of kindergartens in 38 districts of the republic is already 100%. A smaller rate of availability is mainly in big cities of the republic and in the suburbs of Kazan such as Pestretsy and Laishevo Districts. The number of children also grows year after year, this is linked both with domestic migration (many families move from the countryside to the city) and external migration. According to the preliminary date of the recent Russian Census, 4 million citizens were registered in the Republic of Tatarstan.”

“A tired teacher is an irritated, anxious teacher”

As functionaries noted at an online meeting with the population, repurposing is a trend of the Russian politics: it is necessary to admit younger children to kindergartens so that young mums can get education and “find an interesting job.” However, only about 3,000 of all Tatarstan children (not only under 3) don’t attend kindergartens of Tatarstan though the number of places today “exceeds the number of those willing.” This happens because though a kindergarten solves 30-500 children’s problem, the parents have the right to taking their child to those kindergartens they want.

Another problem is with new microdistricts where “it is impossible to build a kindergarten right away.” The third problem is staff. As one of the teachers of Kazan kindergartens noted in her question, in her institution, 12 teachers work to the point of exhaustion for 12 groups.

“A tired teacher is an irritated, anxious teacher. Such a person cannot make sure children are safe,” she claimed.

Muzipov claimed that they understood the problem and tried to solve it. Nowadays 6 pedagogical colleges operate in Tatarstan and annually up to 4,000 pre-school workers graduate from them. However, not all of them work by trade because of the low salary. The Tatarstan Ministry of Education assured us that now they are working to raise it and return grants: a dedicated road map seems to exist to provide Tatarstan kindergartens with staff.

Commuting as explanation of the Kazan city administration for a shortage of nursery groups

The Tatarstan capital has two big problems: it is the suburbs and a shortage of nursery groups. Representative of the Education Office of the Kazan Executive Committee Tatiana Bagayeva partly confirmed this. According to her, up to 10,000 kids from 3 to 7 are going to the kindergarten in 2022. But the Executive Committee planned 14,000 places so that “a parent can choose not one but two, three kindergartens and consider the most convenient one.”

She says that both the republic and Kazan have significant dynamics on the fall in the queue: if about 10,000 little Kazan citizens were in line just several years ago, now this queue doesn’t surpass 6,000. Moreover, about 3,000 places remain vacant.

“11,000 kids under the age of three were going to the kindergarten this year. We plan to provide a total of 18,000 little Kazan citizens with places. 8,000 out of 11,000 children [from 1 to 3 years] will get the places, many are referred to their kindergartens now. The admission goes on,” Tatiana Bagayeva claimed and noted that the number of people who didn’t have their places in nursery groups in Kazan fell from 9 to 3,000. “The case is that Kazan is an attractive city for young families to live in, many come here from other Russian regions. Kazan carries the burden because of the families living in the suburbs, for instance, Pestretsy or Laishevo Districts. Moreover, their parents work in Kazan and it is more convenient for them to take their kid to a kindergarten in Kazan. There are restrictions for them because it is necessary to have Kazan registration, at least temporary one, this is what legislation requires. But we never say no, we can offer options.”

Up to 10,000 kids from 3 to 7 are going to the kindergarten in 2022. Photo:

Why nursery-age kids cannot attend usual groups and kindergarten will have to be paid for during summer holiday to

She added that kids under three (particular one-year-olds) cannot attend usual groups because it is necessary to meet legislative requirements for furniture — it must correspond not only to the age but also individual height indicators.

Answering Tatarstan residents’ questions, the functionaries explained why parents will have partly pay for a place in the kindergarten — even if the kid won’t attend it in summer. According to Muzipov, today the kindergarten fee, for instance, in Kazan is divided into two parts: the monthly fee (about 750 rubles on average) and meals (about 2,500 on average). He says the monthly fee is paid always, no matter if the kid goes to the kindergarten or not. And the meals shouldn’t be paid for.

Sergey Afanasyev