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Second International Forum “Russian Language Outside Russia” Concludes in London
The forum organized jointly by EUROLOG-UK association and the Russkiy Mir Foundation gathered over 150 directors and teachers from 32 countries (Europe, the Middle East and the North America). Representatives of several countries, including the U.S. and Egypt failed to attend the event because of visa issues.
The event participants pointed out an absence of generally accepted programs and methods of teaching Russian to Russian pupils living in foreign countries. This prevents schools (located outside the country) from providing efficient Russian language training. Among the barriers is the lack of agreement on teaching methods, unawareness about the current situation with teaching of the Russian language and poor coordination and cooperation between all parties involved. Besides, there are almost no relevant textbooks reflecting national and language specifics of each country Russian schools are situated in.
Irina Veselova, director of a Russian school located in Mons (Belgium) shared her positive teaching experience with colleagues: “At the end of last year our local university opened a Russian language center, which is the first one in Europe. I take my pupils there regularly and they meet students of the foreign language department, who are planning to work as interpreters or translators for the European Union and NATO. Such an example motivates children for learning the Russian language.”
The worsening situation with funding at the Russian schools prompted participants to the forum to voice an alternative solution: suggest to the Russian government to directly subsidize Russian schools abroad, providing at least 30 percent of the necessary financing, as do certain European countries for the children of their nationals living abroad (France, for instance, absorbs 50 percent of the costs). The Russian Constitution stipulates that every Russian citizen has the right to free high education and there is no law saying that that right does not extend to children, subjects of the Russian Federation, living abroad.
Speakers at the section Methodology of Russian language teaching adopted several recommendations: first, to combine textbooks from different publishers in a single comprehensive course from kindergarten through high school, second, to determine the goals and objectives of supplementary education. A decision was made to set up a working group to develop the subject further and it was recommended to organize systemic work to retrain teachers and improve their skills.
“We are witnessing the emergence of a new methodology of teaching Russian language in supplementary education schools abroad, -- rector of Moscow Pushkin Russian Language Institute, Yuri Prokhorov, said at the end of the meeting. – And participants to this forum are witnesses and parties to this process”.
The forum also elected the board of the International Association of Russian Cultural and Educational Unions EUROLOG. The board, chaired by Olga Bramli, comprises representatives from 20 countries.