The Suleyman Kerimov Foundation considers funding education and the edification of young people to be of paramount importance to its goals. This provides the theme of the second installment of our series documenting the activities of the Foundation. In 2010, when his youngest daughter was just starting school, Suleyman Kerimov began considering the educational future of Russia’s children. Subsequently, his Foundation made the decision to donate to the redevelopment of a secondary school in Zarechye, in the Odintsovo district on the south-west outskirts of Moscow.
Zarechenskaya secondary school officially opened in 1976, with 240 students. It had 430 students in 2010, when the reconstruction began, and 670 in 2016, after the remodeling was completed. The costs of the renovation were provided by the Suleyman Kerimov Foundation. As befitting an institution designed to be at the cutting edge, the new school is extremely innovative, sometimes described as the “school of the future”. As its website shows, Zarechenskaya School is equipped with a special 3D classroom, pupils and teachers all have their own iPad, and all textbooks and necessary teaching aids are uploaded to the school's own electronic library for free access to students. Moving beyond the intellectual realm into physical education, a brand-new sports center was built, boasting a 25-meter pool, a skating rink the size of a hockey arena, and a giant dance hall. The Zarechenskaya School believes that cultivation of the body is a prerequisite for an effective cultivation of the mind in any child’s developmental journey.
One of the school’s goals is to provide a high level of education to children from many different areas and social backgrounds. Included in the renovation financed by the Suleyman Kerimov Foundation was the addition of comfortable residences for students whose families live far away. All students of various social, cultural, and economic backgrounds are accepted based on merit, with an ideal of tolerance and peace. This enthusiasm for social equality may initially derive from a desire to create high quality alternatives at home for those who might otherwise send their children to study abroad. It also raises the bar for those economically privileged students and creates more opportunities for national talents from other backgrounds.
Teachers for the school are recruited from among the finest talents Russia has to offer. Many of the school’s team of creative and innovative educators have won awards and distinctions from the educational authority, and they bring an unparalleled enthusiasm for pedagogy to their work every day. Thanks to this dedication, the school has no underachieving students, drop-outs, or pupils repeating years. As the school’s website says,
“Today our school is a unique center for the harmonious development of the child, in which the classical traditions of Russian education are organically combined with the innovations of the world educational schools. Where the child has the opportunity to develop intellectually, physically, aesthetically and morally. And next to him is his teacher, a professional and a master of his craft.”
We can only hope that this initiative, funded by the Suleyman Kerimov Foundation, is repeated across Russia, to allow other children the joy of a modern, forward-thinking education.