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Russian President: priority task in education is computerization of all schools - 5 October, 2002

Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with the finalists and organizers of the contest "The Teacher of the Year in Russia" that it was high time all schools were provided with computers and connected to the Internet, with no exceptions made. In the president's words, all rural schools have already been computerized, and what remains to be done is to provide urban schools with computers too. Although it will cost quite a sum, it is necessary, Mr Putin pointed out, and the Education and Communications Ministries are already engaged in this issue.

Speaking about the problem of schools teaching a small number of pupils, the president said they are a heavy burden both for the regions and the federal government, as it is expensive to keep these schools, while the quality of teaching is low. "Preserving such schools is sometimes necessary, but in other cases bigger schools should be established," Mr Putin noted, adding that the issue is in the constant focus of the regional authorities' attention.

As for the prestige of being a teacher, the president pointed out the need for such conditions under which the profession would attract personnel. "More attention should be paid to state-of-the-art methods of teaching," Vladimir Putin emphasized.

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