Homeschooling is gaining popularity in Tatarstan —

Photo: Maxim Platonov (archive)

“They’re just scared”

Tatarstan’s Minister of Education and Science Ilsur Khadiullin criticized a new trend in Russian society: the transition to home schooling. According to him, the number of people refusing traditional school education and supporters of switching to home schooling is increasing in the republic.

He did not give the total number of children preferring such a form of education. At the same time, Ilsur Khadiullin noted that this year five people who were studying at home did not appear for state exams.

“We have information that they are just scared, they lost a year. They just didn’t show up. Why didn’t they show up? What are they thinking? If they were in school, they would take midterm exams, then there would be no problem,” the head of the Ministry of Education and Science of Tatarstan said indignantly.

Photo: Maxim Platonov

The Minister thinks that it is necessary to obtain a school education at school, with teachers:

“It’s a very good opportunity, a good site for creativity. You have your classmates, your teachers, hot meals at school. We have discipline, order and control. Second, Unified State Exam results are much better, and students are not afraid to take an exam. »

Ilsur Khadiullin noted that children who have dropped out of school are simply staying home to study with tutors. Moreover, not all of them have a diploma or a special license. He urged students to “come to schools in the republic, study in school, you will get the knowledge, and the education will be complete, and you will be socialized, live in this environment, in our environment, do not stay at home, immerse yourself in this virtual environment, wait for a tutor. And then, when it’s time to take exams, you feel terrified. You know, it’s already late to help them.

Photo: Maxim Platonov

Tatarstan officials for a “reasoned approach”

Authorities in Tatarstan expressed concern over the impending home-schooling trend already three years ago. Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov personally raised the issue a year ago.

Tatarstan’s prosecutor’s office is also wary of the home schooling format. During a meeting of the board in 2019, it was learned that an inspection they had carried out had detected considerable shortcomings in the organization of the educational bodies with students studying at home and their parents.

“Nobody denies the right of choice of students and their parents, but a reasoned approach is necessary,” insisted Tatarstan prosecutor Ilsur Nafikov. He paid attention to the fact that not everyone can provide a full education at home and socialize the child.

Photo: Maxim Platonov

In 2017, 606 children were studying outside of school, in 2018 the number reached 898. In February 2021, 881 children were homeschooled in the republic.

The Tatarstan office of the Ministry of Internal Affairs also disapproves of such a format of education. Interior Minister Artyom Khokhorin claimed in 2019 that “the second generation of Salafists” have been created in the republic – these are the children educated in families obeying Salafi Islam. He cited ideological and religious beliefs as the main reason parents wanted their children to be homeschooled.

The minister of Tatarstan saw a danger in home schooling and education of minors in an environment closed to society. In this regard, three years ago, he instructed his subordinates to find these children and religious organizations and to cooperate with the educational bodies of the municipalities.

Photo: Maxim Platonov

Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov criticized home schooling early last year. He highlighted the same aspects that security officials pointed to – quality of knowledge and socialization.

“It’s not good. I think that a child who studies at home will not receive the education that is due to him, and it is an open question whether the child will be adapted to society or not. We understand that parents have religious beliefs. We have experience in establishing Christian and Muslim Orthodox schools. I think these areas should be developed, but these schools should follow the federal standard. At home, we understand how to study at home,” Minnikhanov said.

Photo: Maxim Platonov

Critics of officials are not an obstacle for parents

However, despite the skeptical attitude of officials, their rather weighty criticisms and counterarguments, parents in Tatarstan more often prefer homeschooling to school. As Realnoe Vremya found out in April 2022, the number of students studying from home last year in the republic almost doubled, reaching 2,061 people.

Kazan citizen Raya Demidova, who chose homeschooling for her child, told the online newspaper that several factors influenced the decision: “an unbalanced six-day week at school”, a lack of educational organizations next to the place of residence. Additionally, some were positive about the experience of studying from home in the spring of 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A tragedy on the morning of May 11, 2021 at school No. 175 in Kazan also influenced the trend to switch to home schooling. After that, “many were simply afraid to take their children to school,” said Realnoe Vremya’s interlocutor.

Photo: Maxim Platonov

However, regardless of the arguments that parents provide in favor of home schooling, the results that children show when studying at home are not favorable. The quality of their education is significantly lower, according to Tatarstan’s Ministry of Education and Science.

“The quality of education of children studying at home in final exams is lower than the results in the entire Republic of Tatarstan,” the ministry told Realnoe Vremya.

Angelina Panchenko, Tatiana Dyomina


Rose D. Jones