We had two buses that took us to the school.The first bus left about 10 minutes before the second. The first bus arrived at the school almost an hour before the second. I was on the second bus. At one point, the traffic was stopped for so long, our bus driver got out of the car and walked around for a while. We thought he had abandoned ship!
When we finally got to the school, we were escorted up to the auditorium where we had the opportunity to hear from a gentleman who is on the Ministry of Education for Moscow. He spoke on how Education is financed, how curriculum is chosen, how schools are organized, and some of the challenges that Moscow faces in Education.
Some of the statistics are incredible. Moscow has 280,000 teachers. There are about 2 million children in grades K-11.Moscow has and funds 4500 educational establishments which includes schools, pre-schools, after school activity buildings, vocational schools and some universities. Of Moscow's total budget, 14% of it goes to Education. Each school gets 125,000 rubles per student per year, no matter where the school is located or the type of school. Parents can choose any school in the district where they live, and Moscow has 124 districts.
School is compulsory in Russia until the 9th grade. After that, students can either continue with secondary school on a college track for grades 10 and 11, or they can enter Vocational school, take the basic grade 10 and 11 courses and then also take vocational or trade classes.
Finally, with regard to teacher salaries, Moscow's goal is that the average pay for teachers should not be lower than the average salary for the city.
After hearing from the gentleman from the Duma, we heard from a gentleman who is a consultant for the federal government of education regarding textbooks and who works with companies such as Apple or Samsung who want to help with education. He talked about authority in school decisions as well as about how the content and syllabus for classes is limited by the government. There is a list of accepted textbooks for the government and schools can only choose books that are on this official list. However, there are over 3,000 different textbooks covering all the subjects that is included on this list. By 2015, the government has a requirement that all textbooks on this list must also have an interactive e-book that is available. While they don't expect that all schools will have the infrastructure to use the e-books, they must be available.
We also broke two times for "coffee." We all went to the cafeteria where the lunch ladies served fresh brewed cappuccinos, freshly brewed tea, and fresh made (in the school kitchen) pastries! The pastries were so good!
We got to go on a tour of Marina and hear from some of their students. Ever time we entered a classroom, the students stood up, and wouldn't sit until instructed to by their teacher!
These last few pictures are of the students in their classrooms and the four students who came and spoke with us about their experiences in school.