Thursday, November 28, 2019

Tatar Parents Urged to Take Education into Their Own Hands for Linguistic and Ethnic Reasons

Paul Goble

            Staunton, November 24 – Rustam Kurchakov, a commentator for Kazan’s Business-Online portal, says that Tatar parents should take the education of their children into their own hands at least in part so that they can promote their national language as well as English and ensure that their children know the history of their people.

            He urges parents to work together “on cooperative principles” and become teachers “for small children’s groups,” an approach that is “completely possible and in demand in Kazan. And he insists that such arrangements won’t be “in place of the existing state-municipal system” but rather “a wise alternative” (

            Such collective home schooling, Kurchakov continues, will give children and parents a choice rather than “a dead end;” and he calls on the government to provide support for such an enterprise or at least not throw up roadblocks. Such arrangements will bring parents and children closer together and allow both to enter the future with the skills they need.

            Around the world and especially in the United States, ever more parents are homeschooling their children, often for ideological reasons – they don’t accept the ideas and messages they see the public schools offering or view the schools’ curriculum as a threat to their way of life. 

            In Russia, approximately 100,000 children are now homeschooled, many because they have special needs or because they live too far from a school given how many rural schools have been shut down as part of Vladimir Putin’s education “optimization” campaign (

            What makes Kurchakov’s proposal intriguing is that he has a clear linguistic and cultural and one could even say national agenda, an indication that homeschooling in Russia may now be something members of non-Russian nations or non-Orthodox religious groups will consider in order to defend their languages and cultures.

            If that trend continues, Moscow will lose one of the most powerful socializing forces it has, a loss it may feel particularly keenly today given that officials now say, the number of viewers of television has been falling at the rate of one million a year, thus depriving the Kremlin of a much-favored ideological tool (

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