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Education for all

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Clubs in Russia: join in or start your own

Picture: Pavel Mylnikov

Getting involved is the most important thing...

In her article, Kathrin mentioned Germany’s clubs where young people have the opportunity to attend courses they’re interested in – to learn something new or pick up additional skills. I found the topic really interesting because I also try to find ways of getting extra education in my life.

In any generation, there will be young people with no desire to study. However, among people I work and communicate with, the majority are eager to go on and get a degree. The problem is that the conventional model of education can’t fully satisfy their needs as it hasn’t kept pace with the world’s development.

For most people, school, college or their jobs just aren’t enough – people have a natural need to experience something unusual or new. That can come by way of a hobby or courses that go beyond school or university. For instance, I had drawing and piano lessons as a kid, but after several months, I realized that it wasn’t my cup of tea. After all, a parent’s wish to educate a child may not coincide with what the child likes! My sister, on the other hand, continued the first course. Now she is a good artist and studies design while I have favored languages and economics.

Picture: Pavel Mylnikov

...whether with music...

The thing is: about three decades ago we used to have a state youth organization that organized summer camps and was mostly responsible for giving teenagers stuff to do in their free time. That may sound promising. But the downside was that the state wanted to have so much control over citizens’ lives that there were practically no societies apart from the state-run organizations. Now the situation is just the opposite. The choice of private courses is quite enough (though some are available only in big cities), but not every family can afford them. The best solution is if you notice the lack of something you are interested in, go and organize it yourself, and share it with your friends, who will share it with theirs and so on.

That is how my friends started a bookshop, which has had regular lectures on art, literature and poetry or small concerts and masterclasses – things a typical school doesn’t always provide. Thanks to this club I found people with similar interests and broadened my outlook, gaining some new skills along the way. It’s marvelous to spend a cozy evening absorbed in board games or reading the works of some promising writer (but not well-known in Russia) among friends.

Picture: Pavel Mylnikov

...or at a game night.

Of course, those activities are mostly about one’s mental development. As for the physical side of things (and that is necessary for building a balanced human being) – you have a good choice of clubs if you can afford a course fee. For instance, I think motorbiking or auto racing could be popular among teenagers as there are Russian drivers in well-known car-racing championships, but the infrastructure – at least in our region – needs expansion.

 The more clubs a city has, the better it is for its teenagers and students! It results in an open-minded generation that is used to different situations and can more easily find solutions


May 29, 2012 | 2:38 pm