At the top of the agenda are the new lump sum monetary benefits for families with children and for pensioners too, the preparations of a programme for major repairs of schools, and educational facilities’ readiness for the new academic year.
Mikhail Mishustin: Colleagues, a very good afternoon.
Last week, the President attended the All-Russian United Russia party congress where he set out a number of tasks that require to be implemented immediately. Today, I would like to hear from you how things are progressing.
But before we listen to the progress reports, I would just like to ask Tatyana Golikova to speak about the delivery of the new monetary benefits for families with children.
At the President’s instruction, effective as of 2 August, parents of schoolchildren, including those who are starting school this year, are entitled to a one-time benefit of 10,000 roubles each, to help them get what their children need for school by 1 September.
Ms Golikova, how is all this coming along and have all the entitled parents received their money?
Tatyana Golikova: Mr Mishustin, colleagues.
Pursuant to the President’s instruction, the Government of the Russian Federation has promptly arranged the provision of the one-time cash payment to families in the amount of 10,000 roubles.
At the beginning of this week, there were more than 15 million, namely 15.3 million, applications, and parents received the benefits for as many as 20.3 million children, a total of 202.8 billion roubles. By the end of the year, as we expected, the new support measure should embrace 20.4 million children.
So to date, the target that we predicted has been met 99.5 percent. We will continue the programme in relation to the remaining families who have not yet received their payment.
Mikhail Mishustin: We allocate the funds to support schoolchildren expecting that their parents or guardians should apply for the benefit. We certainly need to focus on informing people so that those who did not know or have not yet heard about the new benefit could use it. I would like to ask you to carefully monitor the developments.
In regard to the question that the President raised at the United Russia congress – about supporting senior citizens – he instructed the Government to arrange a lump sum payment in the amount of 10,000 roubles to everyone receiving a pension. Pensioners who also have jobs as well as retired military are also entitled to it.
Overall, the Government will allocate more than 454 billion roubles for this purpose. This new support measure is primarily meant to help offset the unplanned expenses that people incurred during the pandemic.
Ms Golikova, please tell us how these payments will be arranged.
Tatyana Golikova: Mr Mishustin, at the President’s instruction, United Russia held a meeting with the Ministry of Labour last week. The participants discussed the mechanism of these payments in great detail. For example, United Russia representatives voiced their own proposals.
What has already been accomplished? Following this meeting, the Pension Fund made necessary updates to the information system, so as to simplify the payment procedure without any prior applications and requests under social treasury principles. This is how we earlier paid the child benefits, in accordance with the President’s instruction.
Lump sum payments of 10,000 roubles will make it possible to support over 43 million Russian citizens. All eligible pension recipients, including senior citizens, people with disabilities and families receiving benefits for the loss of their breadwinners, will get help.
People who receive their pensions via their bank cards will get money already on Thursday. Executing one day lump sum payments has become standard practice. On 2 September, 30.7 million people will receive their payments on bank cards. An additional 12.7 people receiving pensions at home will obtain these payments together with pensions via Russian Post or other delivery options.
It is important that the lump sum social payments will not be included in household incomes and will not affect other support measures.
Mikhail Mishustin: Ms Golikova, it is very important that people receive this money as soon as possible without excessive red tape using the most convenient way for them.
And now, let’s discuss another subject. Last week, participants at a meeting of the State Council Presidium discussed the drafting of a programme for overhauling schools, including the ones in rural areas. All work on this should commence early next year, and we will have to renovate more than 7,000 schools over a period of five years. Apart from improving the buildings, we need to upgrade essential school equipment used for teaching the children. Ms Golikova, what is the current stage of discussing this programme?
Tatyana Golikova: Mr Mishustin, as you are aware, just over ten percent of all schools have to be overhauled. At the United Russia’s initiative and the President’s instruction, we held a meeting to draft and launch the relevant programme. As you have already mentioned, over 7,300 school buildings should be renovated in 2022-2026 under this document. The programme will stipulate federal budget subsidies to the regions, and the latter undertake to train personnel under the document.
Today, we have already listed specific types of work required and prepared proposals to reduce document evaluation deadlines. We expect the programme to include facilities with clear overhaul cost estimates and standard project forms and records, as well as other cost estimates.
Following the discussion and on the initiative of the United Russia party, we have decided on a comprehensive approach towards the renovation of schools, so that to ensure material and technical upgrade and to provide schools with the required equipment.
The programme is to commence on 1 January 2022. Consequently, the regions should already start developing renovation procedure, which should be convenient for the children and which should not interfere with the academic process. We expect that the entire regulatory and legal framework will be finalised in the near future, as soon as the draft 2022-2024 budget is submitted. We are now reconciling data with the Ministry of Finance.
Mikhail Mishustin: It is essential that the regions adjust their budgets on time, so that they can get down to carrying out this programme without delay.
Could Anton Siluanov inform us about the funding for this programme?
Anton Siluanov: Mr Mishustin, colleagues,
We have the financial resources to carry out the President’s instructions. As we can see, economic growth in Russia has recovered to pre-pandemic levels this year, which offers us an opportunity to generate additional revenue for the federal budget. These resources will go towards initiatives designed to support pensioners, military personnel, as per the Presidential instructions.
As for repairing school buildings, we will factor these allocations into next year’s budget so that all the schools and secondary educational facilities receive the funding they are entitled to in full. We will make sure that the financial resources are there to carry out the instructions.
Mikhail Mishustin: Thank you, Mr Siluanov.
Colleagues, in just two days, the school year begins.
All general educational facilities must be ready for this, including in terms of safety precautions. We are still fighting the coronavirus, and for this reason we still need to respect sanitary measures so as to avoid any health risks for the youngsters and their teachers.
Ms Golikova, may I ask you to update us on the readiness of general educational facilities for the new school year.
Tatyana Golikova: Mr Mishustin, colleagues, it has already been pointed out that the preparations for the new school year have been taking place in a rather challenging environment, from a sanitary and epidemiological perspective. Restrictions are still in place. As you are aware, emergencies caused by the floods and the fires continue to affect a number of regions of the Russian Federation.
Still, all the regions across the country completed acceptance procedures on time and confirmed that their schools are ready for the new academic year.
According to the latest updates, as of 27 August 2021, 100 percent of educational facilities were ready for the school year. Schools will open for in-person learning in all the regions in the new school year. Day of Knowledge celebrations will be held taking into consideration the sanitary and epidemiological situation, and in compliance with the requirements set forth by the Federal Service for the Oversight of Consumer Protection and Welfare (Rospotrebnadzor) and the Ministry of Healthcare, to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, as well as following the methodological guidelines issued by these federal agencies to the regions.
On 1 September 2021, 17.1 million pupils, including about 2 million first graders, will go to 38,900 general educational facilities, where 1.3 million teachers and educators will greet them.
On 1 September 2021, 102 new schools will open, for an added capacity of 70,000 pupils, including 36 schools established as part of the Education national project for a total capacity of 21,000 pupils.
The initiative to provide first- to fourth-graders with hot meals comes into force on 1 September, and will cover 7.4 million primary school pupils in 38,800 schools. More than 183 billion roubles have been earmarked to this effect in the federal budget for 2021-2023. This project deals with almost all the schools.
Effective as of 1 September 2021, the 10 regions that have rectified the shortcomings they had will be entitled to increased subsidies for providing hot school meals.
In execution of your instructions, the competent agencies in all the regions are monitoring the situation when it comes to hot school meals in all the regions. A hotline has been set up, so that parents can share their feedback on nutrition quality in schools.
In addition to this, in keeping with the Presidential instruction, teachers who also act as homeroom advisors in vocational training schools will receive a new disbursement equal to 5,000 roubles. Homeroom teachers in schools have been receiving these pay-outs since 1 September 2020, as you may recall.
Pupils from 18,300 schools will be bused to and from schools, whenever such need may arise, and 28,500 school buses will be used for this purpose.
Also, the school year begins for 6.5 million children in pre-school educational facilities. As of 1 August, 2021, the indicator of availability of pre-school education for children between three and seven years old stood at 99.5 percent, and the same indicator was 98.5 percent for children between 18 months and three years. It was the Education and Demography national projects that made achieving these results possible.
Let me also point out that the number of pupils enrolling in vocational training colleges after the 9th grade increased 60 percent, while the number of those making this choice after graduating from the 11th grade was up 30 percent. This year, 3.3 million pupils will attend more than 3,000 educational facilities of this kind. Extra-curricular educational facilities will also continue their work.
Mr Mishustin, ahead of the new school year, I held a meeting with governors and advised them to micro-manage the preparations for the school year taking into consideration comprehensive safety and epidemiological requirements, including the question of school meals, as I have already mentioned.
I really do hope that the new school year will begin without any hiccups.
Mikhail Mishustin: Thank you.
During the State Council Presidium meeting, the President paid special attention to the need to improve the quality of school education. This includes ensuring that all youngsters have equal opportunities. It is essential that pupils can learn and discover their talents regardless of where they live, be it in a regional capital, in rural areas or anywhere else.
Ms Golikova, please keep a close eye on all these matters.