руководитель Daugavpils High School of Sciences Виталий Азаревич


How are you getting into the new school year?

“Despite everything, my colleagues and I enter the new academic year with a positive mood, the beginning of a new academic year is always exciting for teachers. The year began as usual, on September 1, but no one undertakes to predict when it will end.

Maybe we will study only until September 19, when the teachers’ strike begins, or maybe the coronavirus will come again. Let’s hope it’s a full, long school year.”

About the teacher shortage problem

“The situation is different everywhere – there are schools that are fully staffed in terms of teaching staff, and there are those in which the problem of a shortage of teachers is very urgent. I spoke with school directors from Riga, the situation there is much worse than ours – on average, each school lacks 10 to 15 teachers.

Speaking specifically about our school, I can’t say that we are fully staffed – today there are 3 vacancies open at the school. Considering that there are 154 teachers in the school, these 3 vacancies make up a very small percentage.”

Will the school cope if the pandemic returns?

“Based on the experience of previous years, yes. Every teacher knows how to work remotely, we have “brought up” the computer database of schools. Therefore, if COVID breaks out tomorrow and we all go to remote learning, then I don’t think it will be difficult for teachers and for the school as a whole. It will be difficult for parents and for children of elementary grades.

I hope that it will not come to remote learning – now all ministries assure that schools will be the last ones to go remote.

About unification of schools in Daugavpils

“You know, I think that our merged school will feel for a few more years that we didn’t do it in time – like all the other schools in the city that have merged. I’ll explain why. Now grades 10, 11, 12 have a new content of education. Grade 12, which will graduate in 2023, will be graduating for the first time on the new content of education. After the merger of the two schools, we were forced to spend about 30% more money than we could have spent if the merger had taken place two years ago.

The school has 6 so-called “baskets”, that is, areas of study: engineers, IT, etc. Take, for example, a potential basket of doctors – in this basket in the former 3 and former 9 schools there are still differences in subjects. But the guys still have to finish their programs, which means we have to finance all this.

In one program, let’s say we will fund philosophy, and in another program we will fund psychology. Due to the difference in elective subjects for different schools, we will have to fund both subjects. 2 years ago, when the current 12th grade was the 10th and when the choice of these very subjects took place, everything would have been much simpler.

Yes, unpleasant; yes, it can be very difficult. The reform is noisy, but time will tell everything – the integrity of the education system in Daugavpils depends on the reform. The model itself, proposed by the Department of Education and deputies, is quite competent. Let’s see what happens – we will work and study.”

About the new name of the school

“We had several options to choose from, which were formed after surveys of parents and the public. The name of our school was approved one of the last. There were a lot of discussions, there were whole teams that did not want to change the name.

As a result, the name “Daugavpils zinātņu vidusskola” was invented by one of the kindergarten workers. After that, we were somehow able to find a compromise, take a step towards each other and this name was approved.

I think that the new name meets the classics of education and the spirit of the times. We have and will continue to rely on chemistry, physics, biology, mathematics, and languages. Classical education must be complemented by modern technologies – this is the most important thing that we are going to do and develop in our school. It won’t be easy, but we count on the support of the school.”

About school fundraising

“Raising money from parents for curtains is, of course, archaic. On new technologies – why not? Do you want your child to be familiar with a 3D printer, to work on it? Do you know how many of these printers from the budget we can buy for the school? At best, one. And the whole laboratory needs to work.

Funds are needed for modern chemicals, microscopes, handouts … These are, as a rule, those things that an ordinary school cannot afford. Therefore, joint work with sponsors, projects and parents begins here.

Therefore, I do not see anything reprehensible in the fact that one of the parents will donate 2 euros per month and support the school. Moreover, in this regard, the school is transparent – parents always know what this money is going for.

About the extension of the school year to Ligo

“The ministry is presenting this as a positive process – there will be less workload, less lessons, etc. But, you know, if teachers are taken away from the vacation that they have today, how many more of them will leave school? I think it’s quite a large number.

I am sure that the next step is to simply take away vacation from teachers. Therefore, personally, as a school principal and teacher, I am against the extension of the school year. I believe that we can do everything within the framework of the program that we have.”

On the refusal of budget places in universities

“Our education system is designed to ensure that children leave schools after the 9th grade – look how much money the state invests in vocational schools, and how much – in secondary schools. As a matter of fact, self-management “pull” high schools. We have units of elite schools in Latvia, which are financed by the state according to a separate principle. All other self-governments “pull” the schools themselves – as they understand how much money they have for this.

Regarding the refusal of state-funded places in higher educational institutions – this should be asked from students, from parents. Personally, I believe that those who have earned a budget place with their work should study for free.

About the planned strike of teachers on September 19

“Everything will depend on negotiations. I hope that some kind of compromise will be found, especially before the elections. I understand that after the elections you can no longer promise anything, but before the elections they are obliged to promise the teachers everything they need.

I think that what the teachers’ union is asking for is not enough. If there is a strike, then everyone should go on strike, not selective schools and selective teachers. We must all go on strike together, strike until our demands are met.

So far, the inconsistency of these demands is similar to certain political actions, rather than concern for teachers. But that’s my personal opinion”.



Gorod ON AIR: Head of Daugavpils High School of Sciences Vitalijs Azarevičs

Head of Daugavpils High School of Sciences Vitaly Azarevich became a guest of the current program of the Gorod ON AIR program.

How are you looking at the new school year?

“Despite everything, my colleagues and I enter the new school year with a positive attitude, the beginning of a new school year is always exciting for teachers. The year began as usual, on September 1, but no one undertakes to predict when it will end.

Maybe we will study only until September 19, when the teachers’ strike will start, or the coronavirus will come again. Let’s hope that this will be a full-fledged, long school year”.

About the problem of teacher shortage

“The situation is different everywhere – there are schools that are fully equipped in terms of the composition of pedagogues, and there are those where the problem of the lack of teachers is very urgent. I spoke with the principals of Riga schools, the situation there is much worse than here – on average, each school lacks 10 to 15 teachers.

Speaking specifically about our school, I cannot say that we are fully staffed – today there are 3 vacant positions in the school. Considering that the school has 154 teachers, these 3 vacancies represent a very small percentage”.

Will the school cope if the pandemic returns

“Based on previous years’ experience, yes. Every teacher knows how to work remotely, we have modernized the school’s computerized database. Therefore, if Covid-19 breaks out tomorrow and we all learn remotely again, I don’t think it will be difficult for teachers and the school in general. It will be difficult for parents and elementary school children.

I hope that remote learning will not happen – now all ministries confirm that schools will be the last to work remotely”.

About merging schools in Daugavpils

“You know, I think our merged school will feel for a few more years that we didn’t get it done in time – just like all the other schools in the city that have merged. I will explain why. Now the 10th, 11th, 12th grades have new educational content. The 12th grade, which will graduate in 2023, will graduate with the new educational content for the first time. After the merger of the two schools, we were forced to spend about 30% more money than we could have spent if the merger had taken place two years ago.

The school has 6 so-called “baskets”, that is, fields of study: engineers, IT, etc. Let’s take, for example, the basket of potential doctors – in this basket there are still subject differences between former 3rd and former 9th schools. But the students have yet to complete their programs, which means we have to fund it all.

In one program, say, we will fund philosophy, and in another program we will fund psychology. As the electives vary from school to school, we will need to fund both subjects. 2 years ago, when the current 12th grade was 10th and when these subjects were selected, everything would have been much simpler.

Yes, unpleasant; yes, it can be very difficult. The reform is loud, but time will tell – the integrity of the education system in Daugavpils depends on the reform. The model proposed by the Board of Education and deputies is a good one. Let’s see what happens – let’s work and learn”.

About the new name of the school

“We had a number of options to choose from, which were developed after polling parents and the public. Our school was one of the last to be named. There were many discussions, there were whole collectives who did not want to change the name.

As a result, the name “Daugavpils Science High School” was invented by one of the employees of the kindergarten. After that, we somehow managed to find a compromise, take a step towards each other and this name was approved.

I think that the new name corresponds to the classics of education and the spirit of the times. We have and will continue to rely on chemistry, physics, biology, mathematics and languages. Classical education must be supplemented with modern technologies – this is the most important thing that we will do and develop in our school. It won’t be easy, but we hope for support”.

About fundraising at school

“Collecting money from older curtains is, of course, archaic. But for new technologies – why not? Want your child to be familiar with and work with a 3D printer? Do you know how many of these printers we can afford to buy for the school? One at best. But the entire laboratory must work.

We need funds for modern chemicals, microscopes, handouts… These are things that a normal school cannot afford. Therefore, joint work with sponsors, projects and parents begins here.

Therefore, I do not see anything objectionable in the fact that one of the parents will donate 2 euros per month and support the school. In addition, the school is transparent in this regard – parents always know to whom this money is directed”.

About the extension of the school year until the Ligo holiday

“The Ministry presents it as a positive process – there will be less workload, fewer study hours, etc. But, you know, if teachers are taken away from the leave they have today, how many more of them will leave school? I think that’s a pretty big number.

I’m sure the next step is to simply take the leave from teachers. That is why I personally, as a school director and teacher, am against the extension of the school year. I believe we can do everything within the framework of the program we have”.

About the refusal of budget places in universities

“Our education system is designed so that children leave school after the 9th grade – look at how much the state invests in vocational schools, how much in high schools. In fact, the municipality “pulls” universities. We have a couple of elite school units in Latvia, which are financed by the state according to a separate principle. All other municipalities themselves “run” schools – how do they understand how much money they have”.

About the teachers’ strike planned for September 19

“Everything will depend on the negotiations. I hope that some compromise will be found, especially before the elections. I understand that after the elections you can no longer promise anything, but before the elections they are obliged to promise the teachers everything they need.

I think that what the teachers’ union is demanding is not enough. If there is a strike, everyone should strike, not individual schools and individual teachers. We must all strike together until our demands are met.

So far, the variety of these demands is similar to individual political actions rather than concern for teachers. But this is my personal opinion”.


Source: GOROD.LV – новости Даугавпилса by gorod.lv.

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