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Modern Education
Reference:

The Zemsky Uchitel program and regional features of its implementation

Zhukovskaya Nataliia

ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3144-7000

PhD in History

Docent, the department of State Legal Disciplines, Lipetsk State Pedagogical University named after P. P. Semenov-Tyan-Shansky

398020, Russia, Lipetskaya oblast', g. Lipetsk, ul. Lenina, 42

lgpu322@gmail.com
Other publications by this author
 

 
Tonkikh Anna Gennad'evna

student, Department of State and Legal Disciplines, Lipetsk State Pedagogical University named after P. P. Semenov-Tyan-Shansky

398020, Russia, Lipetskaya oblast', g. Lipetsk, ul. Lenina, 42

annatonkikh@mail.ru

DOI:

10.25136/2409-8736.2022.1.36963

Review date:

26-11-2021


Publish date:

06-05-2022


Abstract: The article discusses the features of the implementation of the state program "Zemsky Uchitel" in certain subjects of the Russian Federation in Kursk, Voronezh, Lipetsk, Saratov, Kaliningrad regions, in Primorsky Krai. The subject of the study included: the procedure and conditions for the implementation of the Program provided for by the resolutions of the Government of the Russian Federation; data on the quotas of vacancies provided for by the Program and their financing; regulatory legal acts ensuring the implementation of the Program in the subjects of the Russian Federation. The prerequisites and historical aspects of the appearance of the program "Zemsky teacher", the etymology of the terms "Zemsky teacher" and "Zemsky school" are also considered. The main research methods are comparative, formal-legal, design and theoretical construction. The novelty of the research consists: firstly, in a comparative analysis of data on the completion of the first year of the Program; secondly, in identifying the weaknesses and strengths of the Program and the level of its demand in various regions of Russia; thirdly, in developing a set of measures aimed at eliminating the "weaknesses" of the Zemsky Uchitel program". Main conclusions: 1) the regulatory framework of the Program requires further improvement, including at the level of regional legislation within the framework of the opportunities provided to the subjects of the Russian Federation to expand the list of benefits for the winners of the competitive selection; 2) it is shown that the suspension of the project in the future will mean the return of the problem of understaffing rural schools with teaching staff to their original positions.


Keywords:

federal program, zemsky teacher, teaching staff, competitive selection, vacancies for teachers, benefits, privileges, program risks, rural schools, federal quotas

This article is automatically translated. You can find original text of the article here.

For a long period of time, a sad trend has been observed in Russian education: many schools located in small or remote settlements experienced an acute shortage of qualified teaching staff. A large number of rural school teachers were employed at one and a half or two rates, which was due not only to low wages, but also to the complete absence of teachers in some disciplines. The low standard of living in rural areas in comparison with the urban one, the remoteness of settlements from large urban centers, unattractive teachers' salaries, outdated school equipment all these circumstances combined to make work in rural schools unattractive for young graduates of pedagogical universities and inevitably led to a reduction in the number of teaching staff in them. As a result, according to the estimates of the Government of the Russian Federation, there was a shortage of 12 thousand jobs in rural schools [1]. And the number of such schools themselves is quite large. For example, in the Kursk region, according to experts, more than half of general educational institutions (more than 300 schools out of 525) are located in small settlements.

A side effect of the current situation was a significant decrease in the general level of education in small settlements.

Urban schools have significantly less need for teachers than rural ones. However, there is a situation in which graduates of pedagogical universities prefer to work in the city, although they often do not work according to their profile. The reasons for this are the more attractive urban environment for young people, as well as the low income of teachers.

In order to solve the problems associated with the acute shortage of teaching staff in rural areas, in 2020, on behalf of the President of the Russian Federation, the national program "Zemsky Teacher" was launched in Russia. The project, which aimed to attract teachers to rural areas, assist young professionals in finding employment, as well as obtaining equal access to quality education throughout the country, was named by analogy with the already successfully implemented Zemsky Doctor program.

For a more accurate understanding of the nature of the Zemsky Uchitel program, it is necessary to consider the historical aspects of its appearance and, in particular, refer to the origin of the terms "Zemsky uchitel" and "zemsky schools". More than a century and a half ago, on January 1, 1864, in accordance with the Regulations on Zemstvo Institutions, public selfgovernment bodies - zemstvos - were established in 34 Russian provinces. Their appearance led to the fact that on the territory of the provinces, in rural areas, zemstvo schools began to work, whose activities were regulated by the "Regulations on Primary public Schools" of 1864 and 1874 [2]. The competence of the zemstvos included the opening and financial maintenance of schools, but without the right to interfere in educational work. Zemstvo schools have played a great progressive role in the development of the national education system. The ideas of great Russian teachers, innovative methods of teaching them, humanistic pedagogical traditions [3] were mostly embodied in educational institutions of this kind.

In Soviet times, the Rural Teacher program became quite widespread in the country, within the framework of which measures were implemented aimed at attracting graduates of pedagogical specialties to rural schools with the subsequent arrangement of their residence. Rural teachers were paid "lifting", benefits for accommodation, various kinds of allowances were established. In the 1960s and 1980s, male teachers who took advantage of the Rural Teacher program had the right to receive a deferral from military service and some other privileges.

Thus, the idea of attracting teaching staff to rural areas with granting them preferential working and living conditions was not new for the state educational policy. There has already been positive experience in implementing relevant programs in Russia.

Currently, the basis of the mechanism for implementing the Zemsky Uchitel program is one-time compensation payments to teachers who wish to go to work in rural areas or in cities with a population of less than 50 thousand people. It is envisaged, in particular, that in the Far East, participants of the program are provided with cash payments in the amount of 2 million rubles, and in other regions of Russia ? 1 million rubles [4]. Subsidies are allocated on the basis of an agreement between the Ministry of Education of Russia and the state authorities of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation. At the moment, the federal budget provides funds to finance this program until the end of 2023 in the amount of about 4 billion rubles [5].

The basis for receiving subsidies is a payment agreement and an employment contract concluded between a teacher and an educational organization. It is assumed that the selected candidates go to the place of work, where the conclusion of an employment contract, the registration of an employee and the receipt of compensation payments are carried out.

The legal basis for the implementation of the Zemsky Uchitel program is formed by: 1)Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation No. 1430 dated November 9, 2019 "On Amendments to the State Program of the Russian Federation "Development of Education" [6]; 2) Methodological recommendations of the Ministry of Education of the Russian Federation "On Acts of Subjects of the Russian Federation" containing model rules and conditions for the implementation of the Program in the regions [4]. In accordance with these acts, each region of Russia has developed its own regulatory framework for the implementation of the project, which includes a generally similar package of documents (Regulations on the competitive selection of applicants for the right to receive lump-sum compensation payments to teachers who arrived (moved) to work in rural settlements, or urban-type work settlements, or cities with with a population of up to 50 thousand people located on the territory of the region; Regulations on the competition commission for the selection of applicants; The procedure for providing one-time compensation payments).

The list of vacant positions by region is formed on the basis of information provided by local self-government bodies. This list includes vacancies for which the number of hours of study load is at least 18 per week. Regional lists of vacant positions and information about the location of educational organizations are published on the federal portal "Zemsky Uchitel" [7].

Obviously, the program provides a number of mandatory conditions that its potential participants must meet. So, teachers living and working in a certain municipality should plan their relocation and their future place of work in such a way that their distance from their former place of work and residence is a certain mileage established by the region. The expected educational load of a teacher should provide, according to uniform requirements, at least 18 hours per week per rate.

In addition, applicants wishing to fill a vacant position should take into account that only teachers who have secondary or higher professional education, meet qualification requirements and professional standards, and are under the age of 55 can take part in the competition.

To become a participant of the program, the teacher must send an application in electronic or paper form on the website of the authorized body or submit his application to the regional operator. Applications, as a general rule, are submitted before April 15. The winners among the applicants are determined during the summer months as a result of competitive selection. For this purpose, the documents submitted by the participants are reviewed, applications are evaluated, appropriate points are awarded and rating tables are compiled. Important criteria for winning the project are the availability of a qualification category, an academic degree in a specialized subject, pedagogy or psychology, the ability of a teacher to teach related or other academic subjects, the experience of pedagogical activity, as well as the continuity of work in a particular educational organization for at least five years. Thus, in the Kursk region, according to the Kursk Institute for Educational Development, which is the regional operator of the project, six teachers became winners of the competitive selection in 2021: teachers of Russian language and literature, foreign languages, physics, mathematics and computer science (four women and two men) [7].

An important condition of this project is also that in order to receive compensation payments, the teacher must work at a new place for at least five years. In case of termination of the employment contract before the expiration of its validity, the teacher will have to return a one-time compensation payment to the budget of the subject of Russia within thirty days. Otherwise, the recovery of funds will be carried out in court.

Since 2020, the federal project "Zemsky Uchitel" has been implemented on the territory of all subjects of Russia. However, the effectiveness of its first stages was not the same everywhere. The success of the project was influenced by the quality of education characteristic of a particular region, the state of the material and technical base of schools, the population (namely students and teaching staff), teachers' salaries, standard of living. In this regard, assessing the success of the project on the territory of the country as a whole, it is worth paying attention to certain aspects of its implementation.

Let us consider in more detail the features and progress of the implementation of the Zemsky Uchitel program in certain regions of the Russian Federation.

The specifics of the implementation of the Program inThe Kursk region manifested itself, for example, in the fact that residents of other subjects of the Russian Federation became its participants who wanted to take advantage of the opportunity. So, in 2021, applications were received from citizens living in the Ryazan and Voronezh regions, from the Trans-Baikal Territory, the Republic of Bashkortostan, Tyva [8]. Housing is allocated to the project participants in the region. This takes into account the provisions of the Kursk Region Law No. 121 of December 9, 2013 "On Education in the Kursk Region", which establishes social support measures aimed at attracting teachers to rural areas. Such measures include the return of housing and communal payments and a number of other benefits. By analogy with many Russian regions, the Kursk Region has a system of targeted training that guarantees graduates of higher educational institutions future employment (including in rural areas) [9].

InThe legal basis for the implementation of the Program is formed by the decree of the Regional Administration of February 4, 2021 No. 27 "On the provision of one-time compensation payments to teachers who arrived (moved) to work in rural settlements, or work settlements, or urban-type settlements, or cities with a population of up to 50 thousand people" and adopted in accordance with this the act contains a package of orders of the Department of Education and Science, ensuring the selection of vacant positions, the competition of applicants, the approval of the list of winners of the competitive selection. An important addition to the provided benefits is the allocation of residential premises (houses or apartments) to the winners in the locality where the teacher will work [10].

Similar acts also record the specifics of the implementation of the Program on the territory of the Voronezh Region.

The Lipetsk region this year, in accordance with the regional quota, provided three vacancies (in the Volovsky, Dobrovsky and Lebedyansky municipal districts). According to the information posted on the electronic portal of the Lipetsk region UOiN, the most popular in rural areas were teachers of chemistry, biology and elementary grades.

InIn the Voronezh Region in 2020, applications for participation in the program were accepted until mid-April. In total, the region provided 44 vacancies in 27 schools. According to official data, rural schools in the region are most in need of teachers of foreign languages, mathematics, physics. Many schools are waiting for teachers of Russian language and literature, as well as primary classes. However, in accordance with the conditions of the Program in force in this region, in addition to the necessary education and qualifications, the teacher must move to work at a school located no closer than 80 km from his place of residence. And if the teacher leaves for more than 200 km, he is awarded additional points [11]. According to officials, teachers who are not among the winners of the competitive selection can count on regional support.

The Zemsky Uchitel program is in good demand among teachers, which proves the number of submitted applications left on the websites of regional operators. For example, in the Voronezh Region in 2020 there were more than 40 of them [12]. At the end of the admission campaign (June 1), there were 312 applications from applicants wishing to move to Voronezh villages. The most applications were received from Tambov, Ryazan, Kursk, Saratov, Belgorod, Smolensk, Krasnodar Krai, Novosibirsk, Irkutsk, Transbaikalia, Buryatia, Tatarstan and Altai Krai. According to the results of the competitive selection, teachers from Transbaikalia, Saratov Region and Krasnodar Krai moved to the region [13].

InIn the Saratov region in 2020, 34 vacancies were submitted within the framework of the Zemsky Uchitel program, which significantly exceeded the number of places allocated in other regions [14]. In 2021, despite the significant need of the region for teaching staff, due to the lack of quotas from the federal authorities, the region did not participate in the implementation of the Program, but intends to return to it in the future. Based on the existing agreement with the Ministry of Education of the Russian Federation, it is assumed, in particular, that in 2022 the region will receive quotas for 28 teachers, and in 2013 for 16.

At a press conference held by the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper, Acting Minister of Education of the Saratov Region M. Orlov noted that during the year, out of 34 teachers who passed the competitive selection in 2020, only one participant was forced to leave the program for health reasons. At the same time, many participants of the Program expressed their intention to stay for further work in rural areas after fulfilling the obligations under the program [15].

In In the Kaliningrad region, as in other regions of Russia, within the framework of the Zemsky Uchitel program, vacant positions are selected, which is carried out by a regional operator the Kaliningrad Regional Institute for Education Development. The list of vacancies in this region is formed taking into account the demographic and socio-economic situation in various localities, as well as the availability of funds and conditions for self-realization of teachers in municipalities. The teachers needed for the region included teachers of mathematics, physics and computer science (12 places), teachers of English (2 places); one vacancy was allocated for primary school teachers, Russian language, chemistry, biology and technology [16]. In total, 18 teachers were provided for employment in the Kaliningrad Region at the expense of the federal budget under the Zemsky Uchitel program.

The implementation of the Program in the region has its own peculiarities. Thus, teachers wishing to participate in the project must have three years of teaching experience; the place of the planned relocation of the teacher must be at least 300 km away from the existing place of residence and place of work. This means that when implementing the Program in the Kaliningrad region, the emphasis was placed on attracting teachers from other regions of Russia. Accordingly, the list of incentive measures to support young teachers in the region has been expanded. In Baltiysk, for example, payments in the amount of a 30 percent salary supplement are provided for young teachers. The possibility of professional development at the expense of budgetary funds is also provided. The issues of housing provision are resolved by the administration together with the deputies of the city Council.

In 2020, applications for participation in the vacancy competition for work in schools in rural settlements and cities with a small population of the Kaliningrad region were accepted until April 20, and its results became known a month later May 20.

It is worth noting that the Kaliningrad region is also distinguished by a good material and technical base of educational organizations that have received support within the framework of the national project "Education". The latter provides for the creation of a kind of "Growth Points" in small towns and settlements of the region, and in fact a new type of educational space equipped with modern equipment.

The implementation of the Zemsky Uchitel program differs in the Far Eastern region (Primorsky Krai) in significant features compared to the rest of the country . Due to the urgent need to attract the population to this region, the amount of a one-time compensation payment has been increased to 2 million rubles, and housing is provided to the project participants without fail [17]. Information about residential premises can be found in the corresponding Database. Applicants who live or work in a municipality that is located at a distance of more than 200 km from their intended place of work can participate in the program.

In 2021, 23 teachers were employed in Primorsky Krai under the Zemsky Uchitel program. Russian Russian language teachers (one position each), physics teachers (one position each), teachers of Russian language and literature (three positions), teachers of biology and chemistry (one position each), teachers of elementary school (four positions), teachers of mathematics (seven vacant positions), teachers of mathematics and physics (one position each), teachers of physics (one position), teachers of Russian language and literature (three positions), teachers of biology and chemistry (one position), teachers of English (five vacant positions) [17].

Thus, despite significant differences in the demographic situation and remoteness from the federal center, the main parameters of the implementation of the Zemsky Uchitel program in various regions of the country generally coincide. Of particular note is the fact that, despite concerns, the process of exchanging teaching staff between different regions of the state is actively underway. For example, 291 applications were registered on the program portal in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) for the 2019-2020 academic year, with 115 applications received from residents of the region, and 176 from other subjects of the Russian Federation. As a result of the competitive selection, 18 teachers (out of 43) moved to work in the Republic. These figures indicate that the Zemsky Uchitel program is in demand both by the regions themselves and by the pedagogical community as a whole.

Despite the significant advantages that the Program provides, however, it also has weaknesses that negatively affect the involvement of teachers in its promotion. In particular, the project's shortcomings include the short deadline for submitting applications, as well as the fact that job quotas for program participants in some regions are carried out in very limited numbers. It is obvious that the Program does not cover the total shortage of teaching staff in 12 thousand places.

Accordingly, the part of teachers who would like to take part in the project or participated, but did not pass the competitive selection, prevails over a small number of winners. This circumstance may weaken the interest of the pedagogical community in the Program being implemented.

The success of the implementation of the program, of course, depends on the prospects for improving the standard of living and material equipment of schools in small settlements. In this regard, local authorities should not neglect to solve the problem of strengthening the material base of schools in rural areas.

The threat of the spread of coronavirus infection (COVID-19) also made its own adjustments to the implementation of the Program, in connection with which, during the period under review, the implementation of the project throughout Russia was accompanied by known complications. In particular, changes were made to the mechanism of implementation of the Program regarding the acceptance of documents. However, at the same time, the deadline for accepting applications was increased, which should be evaluated positively.

One of the main risks of the implementation of the program is associated with the probability that, after working for the stipulated 5 years, the teacher will leave the locality in which the contract with the school was concluded. This probability arises primarily in those localities where arriving teachers are not provided with living space. It happens that such teachers are forced to live in relative remoteness from the school, which can only be reached by private transport. As a result, a person who has moved to a completely new place for him needs to spend seriously not only on his own arrangement, but also on rented housing and transport. In this situation, the million allocated to the teacher as a reward completely loses its stimulating effect and attractiveness, and the Program itself does not meet the expectations of those who used it.

The first year of the program's implementation revealed other unsightly facts: attempts to extort money from the winners of the project; administrative arbitrariness of the heads of individual schools who do not provide the promised working conditions; the need for newcomers to replace teachers in a variety of subjects or to carry out a load not provided for by the contract. It is not difficult to assume that these facts will have a bad effect on the popularity of the Program, and its participants, disappointed with the real situation, will not stay in a rural school after the expiration of the contract.

In fairness, it is necessary to touch upon such an aspect of the problem as the motivation for the relocation of the "contestants" themselves, which in some cases is not due to the desire to find a job "in the village", but purely personal circumstances: someone urgently needs money (for example, for the treatment of a close relative), someone needs to change their place In such cases, if the personal situation changes, the teacher, having "served time", will most likely leave the new place of work in five years.

The above means that in the future, if the implementation of the Zemsky Uchitel program is suspended, the problem of understaffing rural schools with teaching staff will return to its original positions. In other words, the effectiveness of the efforts implemented today will be extremely low.

Finally, attention should also be paid to the fact that the main provisions of the "Zemsky Uchitel" program, which appeared relatively recently, are little known not only to most teachers, but also to graduates of pedagogical universities. Meanwhile, in those regions of Russia where they operate, the opposite situation takes place: graduates of pedagogical universities cannot find a job in their specialty and are forced to seek application of their knowledge in other fields of activity. But young teachers also cannot use the Program, because they do not have the necessary experience and experience in teaching. But it is precisely graduates of pedagogical universities who are consciously looking for a job at school who have the most chances to stay where they could find a job within the framework of the Zemsky Uchitel program. Firstly, because it is easier for young people to get used to a new place in principle; secondly, because it is likely that they will get families and other attachments there and stay forever.

It seems necessary to propose the following measures aimed at eliminating the "weak points" of the Zemsky Uchitel program:

1) part of the budget funds should be directed to ensuring and stimulating the development of educational infrastructure in rural areas and, in particular, to mandatory payment of housing for the winners of competitive selections;

2) explanatory conversations should be held among senior students of pedagogical universities in order to popularize the Zemsky Uchitel program;

3) it would be justified to increase the deadline for accepting documents for participation in the project, as well as to expand the range of jobs allocated to program participants;

4) under the special control of the regional operators of the Program, it is necessary to put compliance by local authorities and school administrations with the promised working conditions and strict fulfillment of obligations under the contract; in this regard, the Program conditions should provide for measures of responsibility of the "host party" in case of non-fulfillment of its obligations.

In general, the analysis allows us to conclude that the Zemsky Uchitel program is in demand throughout the Russian Federation. Teachers who have passed the competitive selection receive both financial and professional advantages in the further realization of their interests. The fact that the list of benefits provided for by the federal program can be expanded at the initiative of the regions should also be positively assessed. As a result, the urgent need for specialists in schools of small settlements, at least at the current stage, is minimized.



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