“Having led this school for years I understood, that all the challenges of multiculturalism, both in our country and in the whole world, they just do not exist among children. Yes, they do fight, but not because they are of different nationalities, but just because they are children. We are all human beings with the same problems and same dreams”, school director Nataliya Prykhodko, said.
She underlines that the ultimate aim of their school is not only transferring knowledge, but rather educating citizens. The school has 673 students of around 40 different nationalities. Most of them are Kyrgyz, Korean, Tajik, Uzbek, Tatar, Azerbaijani or Afghan. Their parents are unskilled labourers, working at the town market.
“Of course, parents’ mentality and specifics of their employment do influence children’s performance at school. Our children help their parents on the market. It is of course very bad, as they work on Saturdays, during the school day. On the other hand, it is good that children learn to be responsible and have the possibility to choose: whether they want to work hard as their parents do, or join a skilled workforce in the country – so, it helps them to realize how important it is to get a good education”, Prykhodko said.
The project has caught many peoples’ attention, among others the local tv station which interviewed the principal, teachers and students. In the segment, on which this article is partly based, the children are given space to talk about their plans for the future.
“My mother does not work. But I want to enter the medical institute and become a doctor”, Asel, a 9th grade student said.
While another 9th grader, Nasypkul has different plans
“I want to get an education and work in the office, in a decent and clean place. I want to become a dentist, and to be a well-educated person.”
Dmitriy Karatunov, elementary school teacher notes that the children face difficult challenges: “They try to do their best. Many of them come from families of low income with very poor living conditions. It is not easy for them to follow the educational process”.
But hard work pays of. Massoud, 7th grade student, came from Afghanistan when he was 11. Just within a year he managed to learn Russian and advance from the 4th to the 7th grade. Moreover, Massoud’s drawings recently won at the City Drawing Contest.
Mayim, Angelina and Takhankul are the school’s celebrities; they won different competitions in Russian literature. Some years ago the students couldn’t speak Russian, all coming from Afghanistan. Now they win regional contests with their compositions about classic works in Russian literature.
Promotion of civic education
The European Wergeland Center (EWC) has been supporting the promotion of Civic Education in Rostov schools since 2013. The administration and teachers of the school #105 have taken part in a series of seminars within the Project “Promotion of Civic Education in the Regions of the Russian Federation”, carried out in 2013-2015 in cooperation with the Moscow School of Civic Education with the support of the Norwegian Foreign Ministry.
In November 2013 the school initiated a local Civic Education project aimed at strengthening democratic environment at school. Under this project, launched in cooperation with the South Federal University in Rostov, both teachers and student arrange open lessons, trainings, conferences and smaller activities to draw attention to such topics as children’s rights, civic responsibilities, tolerance, dialogue and conflict resolution. The report of the project is expected in June 2014.
“Rostov school 105 shows how we want EWC projects to work. A small dedicated team from the school received training from us. When they returned home, they did not only implement their own project but shared their new knowledge with colleagues first at their own school, later at neighbouring schools as well. The impact of the EWC training thus goes far beyond what the numbers of the initial participants would suggest, Ana Perona-Fjeldstad, EWC executive director said.