On February 14, within the framework of the 2018 Mentor All-Russian Forum, Olga Vasilyeva, Minister of Education and Science of the Russian Federation, presented her speech. She reminded the listeners of the past and shared about the development of mentoring projects in today’s Russia.


According to the minister, modern people got used to understanding the word ‘mentoring’ as assistance in acquiring some professional skills. However, it has a much broader sense. 

It is considered that Vladimir Monomakh, Grand Prince of Kievan Rus, discovered moral essence of mentoring.  His famous Instruction (also known as The Testament) to his sons and Russian princes became the literary heritage. In this document, Vladimir Monomakh stressed the importance of personal qualities of the ruler. He did not give exact instructions what to do but tried to give the readers a direction to follow. He tried to form their life position and advised not to forget what they could do and to master what they could not cope with before.


As stressed by Olga Vasilyeva, social mentoring has a thousand-year history. The speaker pointed to the example of Venerable Sergius of Radonezh. According to historians, he could influence even most fierce people and bring together adversaries. 

The speaker believes that a person is largely formed under the moral influence of the mentor. According to her, there were a large number of outstanding politicians among Russia’s rulers, and many of them had their mentors. For example, Vasily Zhukovsky was the mentor of Alexander II and Konstantin Pobedonostsev mentored Alexander III. Those people were devoted to educating and directing their students and in fact were responsible for the future of the whole country. In addition, Vasily Zhukovsky, Russian poet, was the first who had seen the literary talent in Alexander Pushkin. According to her, mentors put a piece of their soul into those who follow in their footsteps and build Russia’s future. 


The speaker shared that mentoring in the sphere of secondary vocational education in Russia had originated about 100 years ago. At the same time, 100 years ago there appeared a movement solving the problems of child homelessness. Olga Vasilyeva stressed the example of Anton Makarenko, a Soviet educator, and his activity.  His educational theory is studied in teacher training institutions; it is especially popular in North America. According to Anton Makarenko, it is impossible to teach people be happy but it is possible to bring them up in such a way that they become happy. In the minister’s opinion, this quotation must become the basis of work of every mentor. 


Moreover, Olga Vasilyeva emphasized the need in cooperation of teachers and mentors with parents. She believes that raising a child is their joint business that can be successful only with mutual support. 


The speaker shared about modern mentoring projects in Russia.  For example, the Circle Movement by the National Technological Initiative was approved last year. Different projects are now being implemented in terms of this programme. Mentors are also being attracted to this field. In addition, networks of the so-called Quantoriums (technological parks for children) also develop mentoring system. By now, there are 51 Quantoriums in Russia. These technological parks contribute greatly to attracting children to professions acutely needed by Russia. According to Olga Vasilyeva, each region of Russia will have at least one Quantorium by 2020. The speaker also paid special attention to the Russian Schoolchildren Movement. The Movement actively cooperates with other associations and large governmental corporations including Roscosmos. These corporations provide the schoolchildren with vocational guidance. 


Olga Vasilyeva also took part in the Best Mentoring Practices contest’s awarding ceremony in terms of the forum. She emphasized the important role of mentors in schools and universities, in production, and in any other field. According to her, they are of extreme importance for the rising generation. 

“I believe that teaching a person confidence in the profession is only part of the task we have ahead. The main task of mentors is teaching and developing human qualities, civic behavior, and right values in their students. In my opinion, raising children is important of even the most important part of our work”, she finished. 

Viktoria Yezhova, news agency of the Eurasian Women’s Community

Translated by Nikolay Gavrilov