Parent: “You need to invest to be accepted to grammar school”

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Minsker Alena is a mother of three children. Two of them study in an Uruchcha school. She has to donate 50 thousand roubles per child a month. The woman does not know what the money is used for but she stressed that ‘the obligatory donations’ in her children’s school are ‘moderate’.

“My parents never donated anything to my school when I was a pupil. We have to pay a lot here. We pay 50 thousands a month for a fourth-former and we paid 200 thousands for a first-former. And it is not clear how long it will last – six months or the whole year. It is not clear what the money will be spent on. They need scissors, they said. They also need to organize birthday parties and buy covers,” Alena said.

She does not mind giving presents to teachers, paying for birthday parties and water, Alena confessed. But she does not understand why parents are being made to pay for the classroom repairs.

"Parents do not have to renovate schools. It is a state school and the state is responsible for it. School education is free, isn’t it?” Alena asked. The woman counted her expenses for a fourth-former – 450 thousands a year and the monthly payment for school dinners – the sum is pretty big. Alena needs to multiply it by two because she has two kids who study at school.

Maryna from Hrodna thinks different. Her daughter is in the last age group in the kindergarten. Parents donate two base amounts twice a year. The money is accumulated on a special account. Parents also get a list of purchases at the beginning of every year. Maryna needs to buy a pack of detergent. Do they really need 20 packs a year?!

Maryna knows what the money is spent on.

"We bought armchairs for kids this year. One armchair costs 200 thousand roubles. Some person bought a chalkboard. It’s okay that younger children will also use it, nothing can be done about it,” Maryna said. Some parents refuse to donate. But she will never refuse because her kids may be humiliated because of it. She is getting ready to donate to their school too. Parents have to buy printers, scanners and projectors for grammar schools, she said.

"They told us that we would be accepted to the grammar school, if we were ready to invest. It is really necessary. It is inadmissible to have better equipment at home. If a teacher cannot afford a book for 500 thousands while parents can, why not buy it? If you want your child to receive good education, you need to invest!” Maryna thinks that donations are unavoidable. They will invest if it is necessary.

Kindergarten teacher Irena has two children who go to school. She donates money every month and asks parents in her kindergarten to donate too. It is not a pleasant thing to do, but nothing can be done about it:

"A kindergarten teacher will not spend money on detergents and paper. Our salary is 3.5 million roubles. Nobody will give us anything unless parents agree to help.”

By the way, deputy PM Anatol Tozik said in July that 1.5-1.6 million roubles was spent on a child in kindergartens. Parents pay a third of this sum.