At Moscow schools, Russian is taught as foreign language

Moscow  schools have to teach cultures of various nationalities of former USSR as schools become poly-ethnic now
Fifty per cent of pupils in Moscow's school 987 are not Russians. The school administration even had to introduce lessons of Russian as a foreign language. At that, the school was given the status of an educational institution with a Russian ethnic component. Pupils of the school learn about native Russian holidays, they are not permitted to speak their native languages in intervals between lessons otherwise the school will turn into Babylon. There are children of 45 nationalities in the school; many nationalities are absolutely unknown to us - tsakhurs and tabasarans for example. Among the pupils, there are also one German, a Pole and a Yugoslav.

In the first days of school studies first-formers keep together with their national groups, but then they easily communicate with other children in the school. It is just in middle classes that ethnic conflicts may arise between pupils at their parents' suggestion. But until this age children do not care to what nationality they belong.
In 1987, ZIL automobile maker built four many-stories hostels for its workers. The enterprise welcomed non-residents of Moscow for work and promised that in several years they will have individual apartments. There were many Tatars and Mordvinians working at ZIL, and the people brought quite enough children into the world with the hope to get bigger apartments. So, by the year of 1992 the majority of pupils at school 987 were children from the ZIL hostels. Today, the automobile-maker cannot afford giving apartments to those families living in the hostels. It was decided that hostel rooms would be property of families living there.

The school administration says there are four strong diasporas in the school: Azerbaijanians make up 11.09 per cent of the total number of pupils, Armenians - 5.99 per cent, Ukrainians - 5.81 and Tatars - 3.35 per cent. Yeugeny Krasenets from the Economy and Sociology Institute states the ratio is typical of Moscow in general. Ethnic pupils of the school are children of those who migrated to Moscow from former Soviet republics in search of job. From eight to ten million of people have migrated from the CIS and Baltic republics to Russia within 1996-2005, and 50 per cent of the migrants settled in Moscow.

In 1994, 90.5 per cent of people living in Moscow were Russians, but the showing dropped to 84.6 per cent in 2004. The number of migrants from Caucasus and Ukraine has increased within the ten years.

There is a poly-ethnic center at the school that allows ethnic pupils not only study the Russian language but also learn more about their native cultures.

In present-day conditions migrants cannot assimilate in Moscow. The head of the Education Department decreed that Moscow schools must accept children of any nationality, non-residents and those who are not officially registered in Moscow. Otherwise, schools may be blamed for violation of the constitutional rights. In the nearest tow-threes years the authorities plan to make migration temporary: guest workers will have an opportunity to work in Moscow for several years or months only and then will have to go back home.

The authorities suggest that favorable conditions must be created for life of migrants in some regions of Russia somewhere away from Moscow. But today Moscow is in great need for man power, and the need is increasing every year. Demographers state that able-bodied population of Russia will drop by 2 million people by 2015. And they add that today migrant workers are the only method to compensate the demographic recession. The birth rate in Moscow is the lowest in Russia: 1.09 children fall on one female Muscovite over the reproductive period of her life. At that, children of migrants living in Moscow are also taken into consideration as well. The share of non-residents makes up 13.5 per cent in the total Moscow birth rate. Every seventh baby born in Moscow is delivered by a non-resident female.

In the nearest time, in addition to migrants from Ukraine and Caucasus Moscow will have to receive migrants from Asian republics. Sociologists say that Central Asia may give Russia four million of able-bodied migrants. When the resources of the Asian republics are exhausted, Russia and Moscow first of all will have to welcome migrants from China.

Moskovsky Komsomolets

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Author`s name Olga Savka