Russia marking Knowledge Day

Schools and colleges, and universities re-open all across Russia on September 1, the day when the country marks Knowledge Day.

The first lesson in all schools is devoted to Russia, peace, and friendship between nations. Many of government officials and other politicians are meeting school and university students today.

The education ministry has reported on 279 schools that have been built in Russia by the start of the new academic year.

Schools will carry on the experiment to update and expand secondary school curricula. As many as 1,734 schools are engaged in this experiment as of today. Pupils in these schools start learning foreign languages in the 2nd form. Besides, they study computer science, basics of economics and law and get professional education.

The development of education stands high on the Russian cabinet's priority list, Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov said at a meeting of the commission for education related issues that took place ahead of Knowledge Day.

Students' scholarships will double and professors' pays will go up threefold beginning September 1, while school teachers' salaries will increase by one third beginning October 1, 2003, recalled the premier.

The 2004 budget envisages a 20% increase, compared to 2003, in allocations on the educational sphere, said the premier.

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