The Legislative Duma of Tomsk Oblast

Address by Oksana Kozlovskaya at the 14th session
of the Legislative Duma of Tomsk Oblast (November 29, 2012)

Oksana Kozlovskaya
Duma Speaker Oksana Kozlovskaya delivered a salutary address to the deputies, community leaders and journalists attending the 14th Duma session

Oksana Kozlovskaya started her speech with important events that took place in November such as US presidential elections and Russian Government staff changes. She spoke of Barak Obama’s re-election as a positive signal for the US-Russia relations. “At least, our countries will maintain the continuity of their foreign relations”.

The staff changes in the Russian Government (dismissal of Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov and a series of criminal cases initiated against companies controlled by the Defense Ministry) reinforced anti-corruption actions at all levels. A new anti-corruption law is being developed which obliges government officials to report not only their incomes but also expenses. The new law is a response to society’s demand. According to the latest opinion polls, more than half the population of Russia say there is a need to change the system of the government and reinforce efforts to fight corruption.

For Tomsk Oblast, November was marked by a number of events related to the innovative development of the region.

First, the fate of the Innovus forum was sealed. Gazprom CEO’s visit to Tomsk and the company’s agreement to become the title sponsor of the forum have taken Innovus to a whole new level. It is becoming an open ground for the communication of innovators and big business. Tomsk Oblast Governor Sergey Zhvachkin reached an agreement with Gazprom on investments of 4 billion rubles and creation of a Tomsk Polytechnic University-based oil and gas engineers training center. Thus, the region has got a new development thrust and a new anchor partner.

Second, Russian high-tech pharmaceutical company R-Pharm opened a science and education center in the Tomsk Polytechnic University. R-Pharm is one of the leaders in the bio- and pharmaceutical technology market with a revenue of 1.3 billion dollars.

Third, the 15th Crossregional Congress “Energy Saving 2012” was held in November. Tomsk Oblast became a full-fledged participant in the global Green Growth strategy based on sustainable use of resources, energy efficiency and innovations.

“Add to this list a massive agreement with Rosatom signed a month before (which implies investments of 100 billion rubles until 2020!) and it becomes clear that Tomsk Oblast has remained the leader among the innovative regions. Even more important is the fact that it has kept its main priority to create and develop high-tech production companies,” said the Speaker. Oksana Kozlovskaya reminded the deputies about the necessity to train adequate human resources to meet the region’s growing demand in view of the recent developments.

Human resources and the HR potential have always been the region’s competitive advantage. And Tomsk Oblast should make the best use of this potential, develop and augment it. In early November, at the Open Innovations forum in Moscow global business leaders and experts defined three global challenges currently facing the mankind:

– Food supply
– Climate
– Resources

The Earth’s population will have grown by 2020 from 7 to 10 billion people, with middle class population growing from 7 to 10 billion people. That means a totally different quality of life and hierarchy of needs.

Responses to these challenges will shape the world for the forthcoming 20 years. The general conclusion is that those will succeed who are ready to change, who will adapt the quickest and offer creative approaches to these problems.

The fight for human capital therefore rises from the level of corporations and regions to the level of countries.

The Speaker spoke of the development of the educational system in alignment with the demands of business as a highly topical issue for Tomsk Oblast. The research and educational complex has historically been the backbone of the city of Tomsk accounting for 6% of the GRP and half of tax and non-tax revenues of the municipal budget.

According to Oksana Kozlovskaya, training of human resources should be organized as an “educational lift chain” which consists of the following “links”:

Level one (considered the most important in Japan!) is preschool education. The new federal law “On education” will have to resolve the task of providing equal training opportunities for children before school and not only by creating more places in preschool institutions. What is most important – to ensure that the quality of preschool training is the same in the capital of the Oblast and in a remote village. A problem to be resolved by 2016 is to provide enough places in nursery schools.

“As I see it, the new law on public-private partnership that we are to adopt today will facilitate attracting investors in this area,” the Speaker said.

Level two is school education. According to the Russian Academy of National Economy, in 2015-2016 Tomsk Oblast will see increased numbers of preschool students and by 2020 the number of schoolchildren will have grown from 100,000 to 125,000.

Does that mean new problems or new opportunities? Probably, both.

That means more load on teachers, more competition over staff resources between the city and the village and among schools, a need for young school professionals and new teaching formats, particularly in ungraded schools.

That means extra demand for the services of children’s doctors, cultural workers, sports teachers and leisure organizers. That means a different youth policy, etc. This whole complex of questions needs answers and solutions.

Level three is intermediate and higher professional education. For Tomsk Oblast those are links of one and the same chain without which creation of a unique innovative business environment is impossible.

Tomsk Oblast has successful examples of “tailored” training of professionals. There are 12 Resource Centers working for specific industries such as construction, forest, mechanical engineering, metal fabrication, oil production and IT.

Thus, the region has a unique opportunity to keep the best human resources and attract high-technology business. The last rating of 100 best Russian universities compiled by Expert magazine features four Tomsk universities on positions 8, 15, 37 and 47 (Tomsk Polytechnic University, Tomsk State University, Tomsk University of Control Systems and Radioelectronics and Siberian State Medical University respectively). The key ranking criterion is evaluation of university graduates by business.

“It is high time we develop a comprehensive regional program for the modernization of education by integrating resources at all levels. We should define a common regional platform for the development of the concept and hold public discussions of the program.”

“I am certain that we are ready to offer the society an elegant system – the educational lift that will become a basis for the development of a knowledge economy in Tomsk Oblast and Siberia," Oksana Kozlovskaya summarized.

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