According to the Minister of Education Sergey Kravtsov, Russian schools and teachers were not ready for the transition to distance learning due to the overload of online platforms. The Minister also admitted the impossibility of providing all families with computers and smartphones.
“For many families this came as a shock. Do you think I don’t know this? My daughter was just as tormented with online platforms, which every time crashed due to overload”, said the head of the Ministry of Education.
It is hard to disagree with the official. Indeed, technical problems with server overload and the inability to provide all Russian families with devices for access to Internet services do exist. But back in 2011, the head of the state corporation Rusnano, Anatoly Chubais, cheerfully reported to the Head of the Government, Vladimir Putin, about the readiness of the “textbook of the future” – a Russian tablet for schoolchildren. However, 9 years have passed, and nothing has been heard about the supply of school tablets.
Internet connection in little towns of Russia is also far from stable. What can we say about the finansial opportunities of families with incomes below the subsistence level for the acquisition of computers and smartphones?
However, exposing the main reasons for the transition difficulties as purely technical problems and the teachers’ unpreparedness for a new teaching format, the Minister of Education covers up the failure of the education reform itself. He simply transfers the responsibility to other ministries, ordinary teachers and schoolchildren.
On May 7, 2012, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree “On measures to implement the state policy in the field of education and science”. In accordance with this document, from January 1, 2016 all general educational organizations and organizations of additional education were transferred to normative per capita financing.
The result of this policy was the actual division of schools in terms of funding, an increase in the burden on teachers and the struggle “for consumers of educational services”. The Ministry of Education encouraged such “competition” in every possible way. A particularly market-based approach to education has affected teachers’ pay. Now, in order to get an acceptable salary, teachers have to take an extra workload, prepare all kinds of extra “projects”, engage in tutoring and constantly prove their qualifications to education officials, instead of calmly preparing for lessons. The need for constant sitting at a computer during online training only aggravated the situation with overloaded teachers, bringing it to an extreme degree.
Coronavirus and the accompanying lockdown revealed the inability of the bourgeois state to ensure equal access of citizens to free education, and technical difficulties here are far from the main reason.