Friday, July 7, 2017

Russia’s Municipalities to Lose a Most Important Prerogative – Local Control over Schools

Paul Goble

            Staunton, July 7 – Russian education minister Olga Vasiliyeva says that she wants to transfer control over schools from the municipalities who have been responsible for them since 1992 to the regions and the center in order to ensure more money goes to the schools and Moscow has move control over academic programs.

            When the schools were given to the localities in 1992, she told a Duma committee earlier this week, “this was one historical period, but now is a completely different historical period which naturally requires – I will allow myself to speak the term – ‘state schools’” rather than local ones (

            Vasiliyeva complained that as long as the 40,000 plus primary schools were under local administration, her ministry lacked almost all “levers” for influencing them. By moving away from the 1992 law – and this will be done at least initially only for a period of less than three years, she said – Moscow will recover that power (
            Such a shift will allow the country to save money by cutting down the number of educators now employed and by consolidating schools, two developments known under the euphemism “optimization” that are extremely unpopular in many places where the school is the center of public life.

            Many experts even in Moscow are less than pleased by this idea. Tatyana Klyachko, head of the Center for Economics of Education at the Russian Academy of Economics and State Service, says that the current economic situation may have forced Vasiliyeva’s hand but that local control is of great value (

            “International practice shows that schools should be controlled at the municipal level,” she argues, and “in the end, we also will return to this, possibly after having made a step toward greater state influence on the schools” in the name of ensuring that they get more resources given that some local governments are now spending on other things money that should go to schools.

            But it remains to be seen whether this shift away from local control will in fact lead to more financing for public education or simply be the occasion for stripping yet more rights from localities and destroying more of the already hard-pressed villages and towns in the periphery and concentrating power in this sector as in so many others in Moscow once again.

No comments:

Post a Comment