The question on per capita financing of schooling was raised again in the Parliament the day before. According to the deputy Esengul Isakov, such system can work only in big cities. "In ungraded schools in rural areas such system doesn't work, forcing them to close and pupils have to attend schools in neighboring villages," the press service of the Parliament reports.
But the new principle is also not implemented in big cities, particularly in the capital. Moreover, switching to such system was considered impossible at the latest session of Bishkek City Council. The Mayor Kubanychbek Kulmatov said about that. According to him, the current budget won't bear it. "And saying about the terms of switching, we just talk about becoming whipping boys. If you see any sources we are ready to reconsider the budget. Do you have any sources?" the mayor asked at the session on March 18.
However, talks about shortage of funds in the sphere of education never stop. What can be said if the government finances only three items - salary, public services and assignments to the Social Fund? "In the days of the Union, for instance, there were 17 items! - the Director of the School №17 Natalia Shcherbakova. - If the government took responsibility of free schooling then it must finance it or to honestly confess: we can't do this and this, let's implement fixed charge."
But the deputies often silently shrug their shoulders. And the parents continue pay so called voluntary-compulsory fees. Parents of schoolchildren raised 21 (!) million soms for 2013. According to the Head of Education Department of the Mayors Office Gulnara Tagayeva, these fees - one of the resonant problems of educational system. "There are 77 public associations and funds under the schools and kinder gardens of the capital (where parents' fees transfer to). In 2013 the state budget allocated 23 million soms for renovation of schools according to the itemized list. And parents invested 21 million. The sum almost equal to the budget subsidy," she noted.
...turns into charges
Due to this assistance educational institutions maintain security of schools, pay for junior service personnel, even expenses on chalk and rags. That's why parents are displeased.
"And they are right, - Natalia Shcherbakova thinks. - But I, being a mom, can't wait until the government has funds. I don't want my child to be taught by sweeper in Moscow. I want him to study on interactive whiteboard, using modern technologies. Even in Almaty all children use computers. Russia approved new standards and after fourth class a child should handle touch typing. But here even money for chalk is not allocated. And children study textbooks of 90s. So, whom do we prepare? Yes, in the Constitution it is written that education is free. Then it should be changed. For example, we should say that we can provide only elementary schools (1-4 classes), but in such was that child also handle touch typing."
"Monthly payment in our school amounts to 250 soms. Of course, there are those who don't pay. And there are schools where the payment comprises 800 soms per month. Thanks to our public association. Due to the parents' assistance the school has 25 projectors, 5 interactive whiteboards, and two equipped cabinets of computer skills. But each class should be equipped," Natalia Shcherbakova said.
Returning to blast from the past
By the way, almost a year ago the idea on payments legalization and establishment of fixed consumer fees. Costs were even counted: about 980 soms should be spent on each pupil in Bishkek yearly. "These means would be enough only for school functioning - purchasing chalk, rags, lamps, glass, expendable materials for computers and payment for the Internet. This sum doesn't cover purchasing of school desks, boards, equipment, and also additional payment to teachers' salary. Previously there were such consumer fees (160 soms for current reconstruction - note 24.kg news agency)," - the MP, Director of School №9 Valentina Lisnichenko noted.
However, nothing has changed since last year. The variants of solving this problem are still being searching for. "If such fees were legalized, every parent would know that (s)he must pay certain sum of money. Parents' committee and school board will able to conmtrol expenses. The funds can be passed through Treasury in order it to be under control not only of parents but also state agencies, - Lisnichenko thinks. - The issue is solved very simply. Or per capita financing should be implemented. The pilot in several regions showed that such system works very good, every pupil pays. It increases competitiveness among schools. But there are no funds on all schools of the republic. That's why I see the way out in consumer payments. Recently, the Ministry of Education suggested repayment of rent on textbooks. It is also a way out."
"We see that money is not enough, but textbooks should be renewed all the time, - the Director of School №69 Sayragul Ataeva. - the system of rent collection should be worked out in details. Collected in school money should stay there. The school knows which textbooks it needs. For example, in our storage there are a lot of unclaimed books given by the Education Administration without our coordination."
By the way, the idea about creation of textbooks rent fund was suggested for the fifth time: the Ministry of Justice admits the norm contradicting the Constitution of the KR, according to which education is... free. In spite of multimillion parents payments. The representatives of educational system will have to think about which corners to scrape.