Duma deputy Irina Yarovaya declared today that Russia’s education system is too “tailored to the study of foreign languages,” according to a report by United Russia, the country’s ruling political party.
“How can we expect to preserve our traditions under these circumstances?” Yarovaya asked worriedly, criticizing the Education Ministry’s plan to make a second foreign language compulsory in schools’ curriculum and require students to pass a standardized exam in at least one foreign language.
The newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets published an even more radical quote from Yarovaya’s statement: “While studying in our schools, students spend 866 hours of instruction on the Russian language and 939 hours on foreign languages. Now the Education Ministry wants to introduce a compulsory standardized exam in a foreign language and mandate the study of a second foreign language. My fellow citizens, what kind of country are we raising here?”
Yarovaya also said the state’s current educational standards rely on “students’ personal success,” which she claims is “foreign to the Russian frame of reference,” instead of developing traditional values. Additionally, she expressed concern about the variety of school textbooks used throughout the country to teach the same subject.
“Who’s creating these divisions inside Russia? What are these people after? Why are they creating different educational opportunities for our children? Naturally, the authors and the publishers have a stake in selling large numbers of textbooks, but we should be thinking foremost about our kids,” Yarovaya said.
Currently, Russian schoolchildren study one foreign language (typically, English), though taking the standardized exam is optional.
Russia is currently developing a single history textbook for use throughout the country. Several Duma deputies, Yarovaya included, have advocated creating single textbooks for literature and Russian language studies, as well.