16 may, 2011 18:20  

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin holds a Presidium meeting of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports in Krasnodar


“We want to involve as many people as possible in physical fitness and sports and to promote the values of a healthy lifestyle in society.”

Vladimir Putin At a Presidium meeting of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports in Krasnodar

Vladimir Putin's opening address:

Good afternoon,

Today let's discuss the training of specialists in sports and physical fitness. We want to involve as many people as possible in physical fitness and sports and to promote the values of a healthy lifestyle in society. We will continue carrying out major projects such as the preparations for the Olympics in Sochi and the World Student Games in Kazan, and host European and world championships. I'd like to congratulate all of you on Russia's victory in the bid for the Ice Hockey World Championships in 2016. I'm convinced that although sports are sports and that it is not always possible to win, fans are always looking forward to victories. They always do! I hope that our teams will make us happy, and not only in hockey. I'd expect our specialists to analyse everything in a timely manner and make adjustments in preparation for future competitions and victories.

However, today we are going to discuss professional education. We need good coaches and physical fitness teachers in schools and universities, those who can help students, and people in general, to realise their potential in sports and take on a responsible attitude to their own health.

Legendary doctor and teacher Pyotr Lesgaft was the father of sports education in Russia. In 1896 he launched higher specialised courses in St. Petersburg. The national school for training coaches and teachers has developed quickly and has by right received international recognition in its 115 years of existence. Moreover, our specialists are considered to be the best in the world in many sports. Therefore, it’s very important to maintain professional continuity and carry on the traditions we’ve established.  

However, I admit that Russia’s lead in athletic education has slipped, and many top-notch trainers have sought work abroad. Certainly, workforce mobility is natural in today’s world, and people always (in a free world) look for the employment that suits them best. This is clear, and we should strive to create the best conditions for Russian and foreign teachers here in Russia. Like I said, our goal is to provide the necessary conditions to make this happen. The teachers’ and trainers’ expertise should be used in creating a new generation of sports instructors, teachers and trainers. It is important to establish closer relations with the best foreign schools and have Russian specialists train abroad.

Let me emphasise that highly-skilled specialists are needed in order to launch a comprehensive educational process not only at existing educational facilities but also at the newly established innovative facilities. An international educational centre at the International University Sports Federation will open before the World Student Games begin in Kazan. This centre will operate at seven sports facilities of the Summer World Student Games. The Russian International Olympic University has already opened its doors in Sochi.

Certainly, we will need to think about how we can best use the potential of the Kazan and Sochi centres to raise the international status of Russian sports science and education, so that people will want to come to Russia for high-quality education and modern technologies.

Our next goal is to improve the logistical and scientific foundation of sports education in Russia. As little as twenty years ago, Russia’s vocational colleges had about 80 sports educational and biomedical laboratories. Today, we are left with only five such research units. Experts say that our vocational colleges need 154 labs to study the effects of physical and mental strain on the athlete’s body. We have only 27 such labs. You and I know well that trainers and sports educators cannot manage without the knowledge or fact-based information provided by such labs.

The Ministry of Sports, Tourism and Youth Policy and the Education Ministry need to do their best to incorporate the latest technologies into the curricula of educational institutions and higher training schools. First of all, we need to think about team sports, because they are the most popular, but we shouldn’t forget about the others, either.

An educational internet portal might be very useful in developing and improving coaches’ and educators’ professional skills. It will bring together the information resources of the leading sports universities and provide access to information about the latest achievements in sports science and new teaching practices, and it will be available for professionals and laypeople who are interested in this area of activity. The shared information and educational network for sports and physical education is scheduled to be launched in early 2012.

Next. Almost all 146 colleges that train sports specialists need to renovate, build or rebuild all-purpose or specialised gyms for specific sports. A set of measures is being implemented in order to achieve these goals. For instance, two federal training centres at the sports colleges are being established in the Leningrad and Chelyabinsk regions under the Programme for the Development of Physical Fitness and Sports in Russia in 2006-2015. The renovation and construction of college sports facilities is underway in Voronezh, Krasnodar, and Smolensk. Nine billion roubles were allocated for these purposes in 2010-2011.

In addition to this, the Ministry of Sports, Tourism and Youth Policy, in conjunction with United Russia, launched the 500 Swimming Pools programme last year. Pools have already been built at five colleges, and the construction of 17 more began this year under this programme. However, the situation at some colleges is almost comical, with swimming or track-and-field coaches being trained without access to swimming pools or stadiums. Certainly, we need to take a really hard look at this problem. This is something we need to deal with. Otherwise, our trainers will be more of humorous characters who, when asked if they can swim, say they really can’t, but they know all the moves. This is not enough; we need sports facilities, too.

Next. We should focus on the arrangements for forming Russia’s athletic talent pool. Just twenty years ago we had here in Russia a well-established system to select and train talented children that operated through almost 300 sports schools. Today, we are left with 10 such schools at most. The selection system must be reinstated by all means, including through reviving such boarding schools in Russia’s regions. I’d like to ask the government leaders from the Russian regions to pay attention to that.

Certainly, the Olympic reserve schools in Russia’s regions are of key importance in forming the athletic pool for the Russian national teams. The educational process there is unique in a way that academic curriculum is combined with rigorous training and athletic competitions. This concept should be kept as part of the new educational standards.

Athleticism should be promoted at regular secondary schools, too. As you know, the third physical education lesson is about to be introduced in the curriculum. I am confident that this is absolutely the right move. However, we should support this decision by building new sports facilities. This is the only way to achieve our goal. The physical education teachers at schools must be modern specialists with good educational backgrounds. With all due respect, we can’t expect good results when an art teacher or a military training teacher leads physical education classes on the side.

Our project to support the Russian school should provide for measures to attract well-trained professionals to our schools, as well as experts in advanced teacher training. The physical education classes should be more fun and manageable for children of various levels of fitness and health conditions.

Please note that in certain regions over 30% of schools don’t have any sports facilities whatsoever, and the gyms comply with sanitary standards only in nine of Russia’s regions. Effectively addressing these issues is an essential priority of the programme for upgrading Russian schools.

Today we had a chance to see some excellent projects here in the Krasnodar Territory. Mr Tkachev, you have some really excellent projects. We can build the facilities to be shared by schools, but every one of them should have basic equipment, no doubt about it.

Let’s start working.

* * *

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s concluding remarks:

Ladies and Gentlemen, today we’ve spoken about high-performance sports, popular sports, and physical fitness. The importance of all these things is evident to us.

When delivering his speech, Mr Tkachev (governor of the Krasnodar Territory) pointed out that in areas where sports are promoted (among younger generations), juvenile delinquency is low.  That’s something obvious, that’s a matter of statistics. As soon as new sports opportunities appear, juvenile delinquency and the crime rate in general go down. Nikolai Sergeyev (Chancellor of the Volgograd Teacher Training University) spoke to us about the promotion of healthy lifestyles and the training of teachers in that particular area. Strictly speaking, that’s our topic today. But, of course, we couldn’t just stick to it without raising any other issues. Garry Karnaukhov (chairman of Russia’s Olympic Sports College Principals Board and the headmaster of the Olympic Sports College in Samara) demonstrated to us what the material situation in his and other such colleges across the country is like at the moment.

Clearly, we’re making headway, and not just on Sochi. We’ve seen how things are progressing in Kazan and other regions of the Russian Federation. But problems remain, like those we’ve seen in sports colleges. So, we have made considerable achievements in almost every sector, but there’s still a huge number of problems to address.

We’re going to draft a record of today’s conference, to take due account of all relevant remarks and proposals. As for financing, we’ve already set all the key parameters, but there’s the problem of prioritising.

Everything will depend on the ministries involved, notably the Ministry of Sports and Tourism and the Education and Science Ministry. Everything will depend on how we prioritise. Within the existing parameters, we could redistribute funds for areas we may later recognise as more important.

Thank you very much for your efforts. Thanks to our colleagues that have joined us from the regions, including Samara, Volgograd and Kazan. See you all next time!