"The goal of this round table is to get as many experts as possible to discuss the functional requirements for general education facilities, which would take into account the tasks that our general education system will be facing in the future," Analytical Center expert Inna Karakchieva said, opening the round-table at the Analytical Center.
It is also for this purpose that the Analytical Center and the Public and Business Council under the Government of the Russian Federation are conducting an online survey on the Analytical Center's website. "The survey has been underway since early April and so far more than 30 regions of the country have taken part," Ms. Karakchieva said.
The expert also noted that the number of students attending general education schools is constantly rising and this growth is going to continue until 2020, but the number of schools is decreasing. "The main reason is the wear and tear of the infrastructure facilities of the school buildings and the fact that many schools teach classes in 2 and 3 shifts," Ms. Karakchieva explained.
"In order to move away from 2-3 shifts as fast as possible, a special program was adopted in 2016 under which more than 60 new school buildings have been constructed," said Irina Petrunina, Deputy Head of the Department of State Policy in General Education of the Ministry of Science and Education. The new task for 2017 is to ensure that the new schools that are being built on federal money are modern. "To get a federal subsidy, a school design must be registered with the registry of standard design documentation. But it is not easy for modern designs to get into that registry, it is mostly being filled with outdated designs," the expert explained. "We must come up with new approaches and new requirements for school buildings to ensure the implementation of general education standards."
The registry will continue to be a cesspool for outdated designs unless we change the requirements for education, educational standards, functional requirements, construction and sanitary standards, according to Mark Sartan, CEO of Smart School. "In order to build a modern school building we have to revise and coordinate our standards and incorporate educational goals into them," the expert believes. It is also important to improve the skills and education of employees in charge of construction project assessments.
Mikhail Khaikin, first deputy head of the Chief Directorate for Architecture and Urban Planning of Moscow Region, believes that some adjustments have to be made to the school construction process itself. "For instance, all schools do not have to have a swimming pool. For one, it is expensive and that money could be used to add other more useful amenities to the school building. For second, there could be a modern sports center in the area that has a good modern swimming pool already. Schools do not always need big libraries or halls either," the expert explained his position. For that reason, according to him, it is important to treat every design on a case-by-case basis.
The event was held in accordance with the passport and the consolidated plan of the Creating a Modern Educational Environment for School Students project approved by the Presidium of the Presidential Council for Strategic Development and Priority Projects in Resolution No 9 dated October 25, 2016.