Remarks at the opening ceremony in five general education schools with instruction in Russian in Tajikistan
President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon: Greetings, Mr Putin.
Dear education workers and schoolchildren,
I am sincerely happy to attend today’s opening ceremony of new educational institutions together with President of Russia Vladimir Putin.
I remember 2019, when the President of Russia and I launched this project to build five schools with Russian as the language of instruction in the cities of Khujand, Tursunzoda, Kulob, Bokhtar, and in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan.
I am happy that we have managed to fully implement it in a relatively short period of time, and now the younger generation has additional opportunities to get an education in new schools that have the latest in education technologies and equipment.
On behalf of the Government of Tajikistan and myself, I would like to thank the Government of the Russian Federation and you personally, Mr President, for your support and comprehensive assistance during the high-quality construction work and for opening the new educational institutions on time.
It is symbolic that they are opening their doors for teachers and schoolchildren this year, during the anniversary of diplomatic ties between our states. Over the last three decades, Tajikistan and Russia have achieved significant results in developing and strengthening our relations of strategic partnership, which encompasses almost all key spheres of cooperation today.
The consistent build-up of humanitarian ties, including in the areas of education, science and culture, has a special place on the bilateral agenda. Further expansion of cultural and humanitarian cooperation is a constant priority for discussion during regular meetings and contacts at the highest level.
Over this period, we have developed the necessary legislative base for education and research cooperation in our relations. More than 200 documents on bilateral cooperation have been signed between governments, relevant departments and universities of the two countries. They serve as a solid foundation for the further development of cooperation in education and science. A good foundation has been laid for comprehensive cooperation between the two countries’ research centres and universities.
Russia and Tajikistan’s cooperation includes many topical scientific and practical areas in the natural and hard sciences, mathematics and social science, as well as innovative technologies.
Our efforts to expand opportunities for receiving secondary and higher education in Russian are yielding the desired results. Today there are 39 schools in Tajikistan with Russian as the language of instruction, with about 27,000 students. There are also more than 160 mixed Tajik-Russian schools with about 70,000 pupils.
At the same time, in accordance with state standards, teaching of the Russian language is obligatory in the curriculum, and starting from second grade, it is studied in all general education schools – about 4,000 of them.
Today Russian teachers teach Tajik children in our educational institutions as part of a separate social project.
In this context, providing our schools with textbooks and manuals is still a topical issue. Russian-Tajik (Slavonic) University operates productively in Dushanbe, under the auspices of the two countries. In addition, branches of such prestigious Russian universities as Moscow State University, Moscow Power Engineering Institute and MISiS [National University of Science and Technology] are successfully operating in Tajikistan.
In general, considering students of RTSU and the branches of Russian universities I have mentioned, the number of Tajik young people getting a Russian education is more than 30,000, and about 25,000 citizens of Tajikistan are currently studying in over 700 universities in Russia.
Graduates of Russian universities are in high demand in various sectors of the national economy. They are the reason for the constantly growing pool of qualified applicants for jobs in the civil service, diplomacy, science and education, as well as culture and the arts.
We are interested in further expanding cooperation in the sphere of higher education. We welcome the opening of new branches of Russian universities in Tajikistan, which could train specialists in fields that are vital for our country’s development.
We are grateful to the Russian side for annually giving us an education quota in a wide range of disciplines that are in demand in our country.
Today the quota has reached 700, and the President and I have agreed that it will be increased up to 1,000.
As we consistently implement the government’s language policy, we are careful to take an integrated approach to the development of the Russian language along with the state language. And this is no accident. As you know, according to the Tajikistani Constitution, Russian has the status of a language of interethnic communication.
Two years ago, the CIS Heads of State Council decided to declare 2023 the Year of the Russian Language. In this connection, we agreed to take additional measures to support and develop Russian in the Commonwealth countries, including Tajikistan.
In general, I would like to emphasise that Tajikistan is interested in further developing the full range of cultural contacts with Russia. In this context, the Government of Tajikistan is committed to adopting the necessary measures to expand cooperation between the educational, scientific and research institutions of the two countries, including in the sphere of training scientists and teachers.
In conclusion, I would like to express my gratitude to the builders and everyone who worked hard to make this project to build schools in Dushanbe, Khujand, Tursunzoda, Kulob, and Bokhtar a reality.
I would like to extend my best wishes to representatives of one of the most noble professions – our teachers, who begin their work in these educational institutions today. I believe that the knowledge gained by schoolchildren within these walls will help turn them into creators, who will ensure the sustainable development and prosperity of the country.
Best wishes also to our schoolchildren, who begin their studies in these institutions.
I am sure that both parents and children are very happy to get such a gift on Knowledge Day, which is celebrated today everywhere in Tajikistan.
I would also like to wish success and all the best to everyone involved in today’s important event.
Thank you for your attention.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Rahmon,
Dear teachers, pupils and parents,
I will begin with what my good, longtime friend, President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon ended his speech – I will wish all of you a happy beginning of a new academic year.
By a good tradition, we – both Russia and Tajikistan – consider September 1 the Day of Knowledge and a day of celebration. Symbolically, on this day, the Republic of Tajikistan has opened five new schools with instruction in Russian, and, as was mentioned, based on Russian education programmes and standards.
As was also noted, President Rahmon and I agreed to implement this large joint project in 2019, and we have kept it under permanent control since then. I remember how Mr Rahmon criticised me, out of friendship, for not paying enough attention to areas of humanitarian cooperation.
Mr Rahmon, we are getting better.
President of the Republic of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon:
Vladimir Putin: I believe we are attending a good, very kindly event today.
In a relatively short time, modern schools that can accept almost 5,000 Tajik children were built in five Tajik cities: Dushanbe, Khujand, Bokhtar, Kulob and Tursunzoda.
The new schools have been equipped based on the latest practices for organising the education process, and they meet the latest seismic safety requirements. They can withstand a 9-point earthquake, which is vital for Tajikistan. I would like to convey special thanks for this to the Russian engineers, designers and builders and all our Tajik friends that took part in building these schools.
I am convinced that the schools built with Russia's help will become a welcoming home for students, and the teachers, including those from Russia – a question that President Rahmon also raised a few years ago – about sending teachers to Tajikistan, we did it too, I remember, Mr Rahmon, it was your request – so with the help of our teachers, students will discover for themselves the wonderful world of Russian language and literature. Our teachers will introduce the achievements of Russian and world science and culture to Tajik children, help them put to use their talents and interests, get to know each other, and find friends among their peers in Russia and other CIS countries, and provide them with a path to adulthood.
We are pleased to note the growing interest among citizens of Tajikistan in education in Russian. This trend is largely a result of the fact that, as already mentioned, the Constitution of Tajikistan gives Russian the special status of a language of inter-ethnic communication.
As is well known, the Russian language in general education schools in Tajikistan is studied, and I want to emphasise this, as early as second grade. There are 39 general education institutions with Russian participation in the Republic, and 160 schools have opened classes with Russian language instruction.
Our humanitarian project Russian Teacher Abroad has been running successfully in Tajikistan for six years now. In the framework of this project, 76 Russian teachers will teach the Russian language, mathematics, natural sciences and information technology in Tajikistan’s schools.
With Russian support, Tajikistan also regularly conducts geography and ecology quizzes, and the Victory Quiz.
By the way, I should mention that our countries actively cooperate in higher education, as the President of Tajikistan has just said. Every year, citizens of Tajikistan have the opportunity to study at Russian universities at the expense of the Russian budget. No money is spared for this, as it brings our countries and peoples closer together and trains workers for Tajikistan. People educated in Russia will be committed to strengthening our cooperation in the long term.
In the 2022-2023academic year, the quota has increased by 100 spots, reaching 750, and next year it will be even higher.
Russian-Tajik University and affiliates of several Russian universities are training qualified personnel, as was just mentioned. I want to cite this figure – overall, there are already 30,000 students from Tajikistan at Russian universities.
Returning to the current event, I would like to stress that the opening of five new Russian schools in Tajikistan is a momentous event for our bilateral relations, and that this is a clear indication of the long and sincere friendship between the Russian and Tajik nations, and of the partnership and alliance between our states.
Russian-Tajikistani relations are growing stronger every day. They are continuously replenished with joint, mutually beneficial projects in the humanitarian, education and other areas.
The Days of Tajik Culture will open in Russia soon, on September 24.
Mr Rahmon, I would like to tell you that at yesterday’s meeting with the Mayor of Moscow, Mr Sobyanin said that Moscow has resolved the issue you raised – to provide you with a building of your choice in the centre of Moscow to host a cultural centre. Mr Sobyanin said the Moscow government will foot the bill for it.
We are also planning to hold, before the end of this year, a bilateral youth forum devoted to the development of inter-cultural dialogue and the creation of a common humanitarian space.
All these major initiatives would not have been possible without the keen attention of Tajikistan’s leadership and the President.
I would like to convey my sincere gratitude for this to President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon and all of our Tajik friends and colleagues, and to thank them especially for their assistance and support in preserving and promoting the status of the Russian language in Tajikistan.
In conclusion, I would like, of course, to wish good marks to the students of these new schools, self-fulfillment and new discoveries.