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North Ossetian school directors to be dismissed for collecting money from students

13 October 2017
Vyacheslav Bitarov meeting with representatives of local self-government bodies and heads of North Ossetia’s District Education Department (alania.gov.ru)

The head of North Ossetia, Vyacheslav Bitarov, has demanded headteachers be punished after complaints from parents of the widespread practice of collecting money from students.

On 11 October, Bitarov met representatives of local self-government bodies and heads of the District Education Department to discuss money collection in North Ossetia’s schools. According to Bitarov’s press service, his hotline has been receiving complaints from parents.

‘I repeatedly said that teachers, headteachers, and others should stop collecting money in schools. One school hung up a list of those who had paid the money and those who hadn’t. children whose surnames are on the list feel under pressure. What kind of an adult will this child become? What kind of teaching methods are these?’, Bitarov said at the meeting.

Zinaida Larionova, deputy head of the Education Department of Vladikavkaz, responded that all school heads knew that collecting money was illegal, but that ‘compassionate and proactive’ parents could collect money themselves.

‘We have 35,139 pupils in the city, who have fathers, mothers, and grandmothers, whom you physically can’t keep track of. Only such an intimidating measure directed against school directors remains’, Zinaida Lationova said.

At the 11 October meeting, Bitarov warned that if he continued to receive complaints, the head of the local education department and the school’s director would be dismissed.

[Read on OC Media: The cost of schooling in Kabardino-Balkaria’s corrupt education system]

Zaur Farniyev, the father of a third-grade student in one Vladikavkaz school, has mixed feelings about the reaction of the head of the republic.

‘On the one hand, I am opposed to parents bearing the burden of paying fees for some extravagances, like expensive gifts to teachers or the director. On the other hand, it’s not a shame to give money for something really necessary, but not accounted for in the school’s budget. Say, a printer or a projector — that will make the learning process more interesting and effective. At first glance, the initiative of the head of North Ossetia is good, but I’m afraid that seemingly good initiatives could be turned into something absolute and executed to the point of absurdity’, Farniyev told OC Media.

A mother of two schoolchildren in the third and sixth grades, Madina Pliyeva, told OC Media why they used to collect money in schools.

‘On average, each half term I donated ₽2,000 ($35) for the needs of the school and its security. More money was collected for repairing classrooms, floors, new desks, or new chairs. I don’t even mention collecting money for gifts to teachers during holidays or for their birthdays’, Pliyeva said.

According to her, since the beginning of this school term, no money has been collected at her children’s school.

‘Since September, no grade has been asked for money in the school where my children study. I don’t know why, but one never has too much money, so I like that we aren’t collecting money for anything right now, except for the past Teacher’s Day [on 5 October]. Here we, the parents, took the initiative and collected the money to pay respect to the class headteachers’, Madina Pliyeva told OC Media.