Russian teachers told they will not get paid for newly introduced ideological school lesson Important Conversations — Verstka

According to teachers from several Russian regions and representatives of teacher unions, no funds have been allocated for conducting the newly introduced ideological school lesson Important Conversations, reports Russian media outlet Verstka.

“The management is saying that Important Conversations is just another homeroom period. But no additional payment for the class will be provided seeing as the teachers [who conduct the homeroom periods] already receive the presidential pay-out (5,000 rubles or €83 per month - translator’s note). The situation is very unfair, considering these lessons are first on the schedule on Mondays,” a teacher from the Kirov region told the media outlet.

A Cheboksary school headmaster said that teachers would not be paid for conducting the Important Conversations lesson because it was considered an “extracurricular activity”. According to a Russian language and literature teacher Irina (name changed - editor’s note), extracurricular activities include additional work with kids outside of school, and additional education teachers get paid for conducting these activities.

Despite the increase in the amount of work, no additional funds have been allocated to the schools, chairman of the Teacher union Yury Varlamov told Verstka. Furthermore, head of the Teacher’s Alliance union Daniil Ken noted that no letters or explanations had arrived from the Ministry of Education.

Important Conversations is a series of extracurricular lessons, during which the children will learn about “patriotism” and “morality”. According to the Ministry of Education, these lessons have to be conducted in all grades every Monday, with the plan to have 34 lessons during the school year.

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Important Conversations will be conducted as part of Vladimir Putin’s decree “On Russian National Security Strategy” — the aim of the lessons is to “protect the Russian society from destructive information and psychological influences” and “strengthen the traditional Russian spiritual and moral values”.

In particular, there are plans to explain to third and fourth graders that love of one’s country is demonstrated via “courage and determination to protect one's Homeland during dangerous times”, while fifth, sixth, and seventh graders will be lectured on the “special military operation” and its goals, for example “defending the population of Donbas from the Kyiv regime” and “disarming Ukraine”.

According to Russian independent outlet IStories*, the Russian Ministry of Education has already spent 22 mln rubles (€360,000) on developing materials for these lessons.

Previously, it was reported that, in 20 Russian regions, the prices of school kits, which include everything a child needs before starting the new school year, surpassed the average monthly income per capita.

*The Russian government considers IStories an “undesirable organisation”. Reposting this news article in Russia may lead to a fine. A repeat offence may result in criminal charges.

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