Staunton, January 27 – Most people study foreign languages in order to learn about other countries, but a Moscow educational official wants to change that: Russian pupils, Isaac Kalinin, says, should study such languages not to learn about others but rather to tell others about their own country.
Deacon Andrey Kurayev, an independent-minded Russian commentator observes that this is the latest example of a dangerous nativization of Russian education and even a manifestation of the fact that the only thing the Kremlin really cares about is having young people capable of handling a Kalashnikov (diak-kuraev.livejournal.com/1910395.html).
According to Interfax, Kalinin, the head of the Moscow city education department, told a Duma council this past week that courses in foreign languages should be changed from a focus on the history and culture of others to one in which pupils would learn how to tell foreigners “about their motherland and native region” (interfax-russia.ru/Moscow/citynews.asp?id=904173).
At the meeting, chaired by the Irina Yarovaya, notorious for her authorship of restrictive Russian legislation, Kalinin said that the schools of the Russian capital “had already begun to correct the situation” by dropping materials about London in English language courses and inserting information instead “about Moscow without any loss of material.”
The Moscow official said it was important to do this not only in courses where English is being taught but in all cases where Russian students are receiving instruction in other languages as well.