Continuous Education In The Tatar Language: History And The Present

Abstract

This work is devoted to the study of history and the current state of continuous education in the Tatar language. To achieve the goal, at the beginning, a historical insight into the 18th-19th centuries is presented that covers a brief overview of the activities and main goals of the Tatar language teaching at the Kazan Imperial University, other secular schools, and in theological educational institutions. In the main part of our work we studied the activities of teaching in the Tatar language in Tatarstan from the 20-30s of the 20th century to the present day. In the 1920s-1930s Tatar was taught as one of the state languages of the Tatar Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic at different levels: from primary and secondary schools to higher education establishments, and a lot of work on the application of the Tatar language in various spheres of public life, on the development of national education in the Tatar republic was done. In the history of our republic the state language status of Tatar was possible to grant for the second time in 1992 after a long break and the development of national education. The last part of our research is devoted to innovations that relate to the Tatar language teaching as a native or state language, and the main provisions of new concepts of teaching the Tatar language and literature with the purpose of creation of an integral system of continuing education at all levels of general and professional education are provided.

Keywords: Continuous educationTatar languageTatarstanTatar language teaching

Introduction

In the XVI-XVII centuries Tatar language was used as a language of business writing which was conducted in administrative correspondence with the Eastern States. According to turkologists, the Tatar language was the first Turkic language that in the middle of the 18th century was included in the program of school teaching. The Tatar language was also introduced into the program of Kazan Imperial University in 1812, in addition it was taught in religious schools also. During these years, the Tatar language was taught only at the primary school level.

In 1759, in Kazan a men's gymnasium was opened – the first classical gymnasium in the city, the first in the Russian province, the first in the territory of residence of Muslim peoples. A year later, its director M. I. Verevkin wrote to his top staff at the Moscow University: ‘This local city is the main one for the Tatar national dialect. Will it be commanded in gymnasium to have a class of the Tatar language?’ By the decree of 1769, in the gymnasium ‘the Tatar class’ was established, i.e., the teaching of the Tatar language to Russian nobles was introduced. Sagit Khalfin was appointed as a teacher and by his behest in Moscow the ‘Alphabet of the Tatar language’ was published in Russian. The gymnasium had a strong tradition of the Tatar language teaching. Since 1773, after Sagit Khalfin the Tatar language was taught by his son Ishaq Khalfin, then from 1800 to 1829 by his grandson Ibrahim, further this work was continued by his great-grandson, Shahin-Giray Khalfin (Zakiev, 2008). According to the eminent orientalist O. M. Kovalevsky, Khalfins’ teaching method was directed to the practical study of language through assimilation of short grammatical rules, exercises on the translation from Tatar into Russian and from Russian into Tatar and by conducting speaking practice. ‘From the school many scholars of the Tatar language came out who justified the government's expectations at different levels of the public service’ (Kovalevski, 1842).

In 1764, Tatar language teaching began in schools for soldiers ' children in the city of Astrakhan also. At the end of the 18th century Tatar was taught in the following educational institutions: Academic gymnasium at Moscow University, Omsk Asian school, Tobolsk main public school, Tobolsk and Nizhny Novgorod theological seminaries. In Tobolsk main public school the Tatar language was taught by the well-known turkologist and the priest Joseph Giganov.

In 1812, the Tatar language was introduced into the program of the Kazan Imperial University and the first teacher was Ibrahim Khalfin who later became an adjunct-professor of the Kazan University, the first among Muslims, and the well-known specialist in Oriental literature. It should be noted that Ibrahim Khalfin taught the old Tatar language. This is also evident from his textbooks.

In the 19th century the Tatar language was also taught in Tobolsk, Tomsk, Orenburg, Saratov, Astrakhan, Stavropol, Simferopol high schools. Tatar language was presented not only in secular, but also in religious schools. The first teacher of the Tatar language at the Kazan theological Academy was a well-known linguist, teacher, a good connoisseur of the Tatar language, one of the first authors of the Tatar grammars and dictionaries Alexander Troyansky (Khanova, Kirillova, & Alkaya, 2017). Even in 1828, under Nicholas I, when the number of subjects taught was reduced, the Tatar language continued to be taught in Kazan.

In the XIX century Tatar language was also taught in Tobolsk, Tomsk, Orenburg, Saratov, Astrakhan, Stavropol, Simferopol high schools. Tatar language was taught not only in secular, but also in religious schools. The first teacher of the Tatar language at the Kazan theological Academy was a well-known linguist, teacher, a good connoisseur of the Tatar language, one of the first authors of the Tatar grammars and dictionaries Alexander Troyansky (Kirillova, 2014). Even in 1828, under Nicholas I, when the number of subjects taught was reduced, the Tatar language continued to be taught in Kazan.

Problem Statement

The problem of the continuous education in the Tatar language has not had a special study. Due to historical and political reasons, such education at all levels of it did not have a full-fledged implementation.

Research Questions

In this paper we put the following research tasks:

  • How was continuous education in the Tatar language implemented in the past (18-20th centuries)?

  • Are there any circumstances and mechanism for it being fulfilled nowadays?

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the history and the current state of continuous education in the Tatar language. To achieve the goal, from the one hand, we made a historical insight into the 18th-19th centuries is presented that covers a brief overview of the activities and main goals of the Tatar language teaching at the Kazan Imperial University, other secular schools, and in theological educational institutions. From the other hand, we studied the activities of teaching in the Tatar language in Tatarstan from the 20-30s of the 20th century to the present day. Additionally, one of the objective of this study is to provide some innovations relating to the Tatar language teaching as a native or state language, and the main stipulations of new concepts of the Tatar language and literature teaching with the purpose of creation of an integral system of continuing education at all levels of general and professional education.

Research Methods

The study analyzed the printed materials, collections of articles and essays, some Internet sources related to the late twentieth century and the beginning of this century, documents of the national archive of the Republic of Tatarstan of the 1920th and 1930th as well.

In our work the following research methods were applied: 1) the method of description which was used to describe the process of continuous education in the Tatar language and the Tatar language teaching; 2) the method of observation in the selection of scientific facts and features that reflect the peculiarities of teaching the Tatar language in various educational institutions; 3) the induction method in the study of the chosen features of this activity; 4) the method of analysis of documents, archival and printed ones relating to continuing education in the Tatar language; 5) the comparative method for comparison of continuing education in the Tatar language in the 19th, 20th, and 21th centuries.

Findings

In 1920s in all republics and regions of Russia the process of declaring the state language of the indigenous population was developed, and the Tatar Republic did not stand aside from this trend (Kirillova, 2016). Since 1921 mass teaching of the Tatar language had been started within the framework of the policy of implementing the Tatar language as a state language. In the 5th paragraph of the decree of 1921, it was stated that the Tatar language teaching in schools should only be for those who wish (National archives of the Republic of Tatarstan, op. 1, d. 49). However, according to the instructions of 8 and 13 May, 1922, the Tatar language teaching became obligatory already in all secondary schools, as well as in vocational and party’s schools, at work faculties, higher educational institutions, and in cities in the last grades of the first-level schools, i.e. in primary ones also. On the basis of these and other numerous state decisions, in secondary and higher educational institutions the Tatar language teaching had become mandatory. For example, students had to pass tests in the Tatar language, as in other subjects; those who failed tests could not get diplomas (National archives of the Republic of Tatarstan, op. 1, d. 768; Kalganova & Kirillova, 2017). Since 1922-1923 academic year, the People's Commissariat of education introduced the Tatar language teaching in all secondary and vocational schools of the Tatarstan Republic. In the academic year of 1925-26, 2118 primary and secondary schools were already functioning in Tatarstan, 49.5% of which were Tatar ones. In 1922-1931 academic year the number of Tatar students in the universities increased by 18.8%. In 1920-1925, 6 technical schools for Tatars were opened, and 1 working faculty that facilitated the admission of Tatars to universities teaching in Russian (Kirillova, 2016).

The People's Commissariat for education started preparing the programmes for schools. New schoolbooks of the Tatar language for Tatar and Russian schools appeared. The people of war generation often kept in mind senior Russian comrades who knew the Tatar language owing to their school learning. At the same time, the Russian language teaching was introduced in Tatar school.

Since the beginning of 1921, in addition to educational institutions, for the purpose of teaching Tatar for Russian people and training specialists who know two state languages in different Central organizations, commissariats and districts the courses-clubs began to work. These circles pursued the purpose of training of Russian employees in spoken language, writing, reading, conducting office work in the Tatar language, free statement of the thoughts in the Tatar language both orally and in writing. Classes were to be conducted on a conversational method and, if possible, with a practical bias towards the implementation of the Tatar language in the relevant institutions and enterprises. An average of 400 hours had been set for teaching Russian for Tatars: 200 hours to be able to read and write freely in Tatar, to have a sufficient amount of speech, to receive visitors at offices, to understand the general content of letters and papers, and an additional 200 hours to freely draw up various papers and reports (Fatkhullova, Kirillova, & Yusupova, 2014).

Unfortunately, since the mid-1920s, the national policy of the country began turning to the right: the idea of rapprochement and merging of national cultures and languages began to be exaggerated. As a result, by the end of 1920s, the Tatar language ceased to be studied as a compulsory subject in schools on the territory of the TASSR. In parallel, the process of eliminating national schools in cities was under way. In 1954, the inspection of national schools of the Republic was carried out and the resolution of the regional Committee ‘About a condition and measures of improvement of the Russian language teaching in national schools of the Republic’ was adopted. Even faster the process of ‘washing out’ of the Tatar language education outside of the Republic of Tatarstan was being unfolded. If in 1930s in places of compact residing of Tatars there were the national schools (for example, in Moscow), by the end of 1940s their number sharply had fallen. At the same time, the process of ‘washing out’ of national languages in schools actively took place in other autonomous republics.

Since the 1940s, urban Tatars were trying to send their children to school with the Russian language of instruction. Pragmatism had worked, by the time the national languages rapidly lost their positions. Parents’ arguments were similar to the present arguments: the Tatar language can interfere with good knowledge of the Russian language, and it will not be able to study further. As a result, in Kazan, as the capital of Tatarstan, by the 1970s there was actually only one school with the Tatar language of instruction. Eventually, it turned out that urban Tatars of several generations in succession studied Tatar on a voluntary basis (What was decided with the Tatar language in Tatarstan, 2017).

In 1990s there was a Renaissance of Tatar school. In 1992, on the basis of the law ‘On languages of the peoples of the Republic of Tatarstan’ the Russian and Tatar languages were recognized as equal state languages. The article on official languages in the Constitution of the Republic of Tatarstan occupied the special place, and this document was adopted in 1992. In three Public Programs for 1994s-2003s, 2004s-2013s, 2014s-2020s on preservation, studying and development of languages of peoples of the Republic of Tatarstan identified ways to use the Tatar language in various spheres of public life. It should be noted that with a number of legal documents of ethno-cultural and ethno-educational orientation adopted in 2001-2005, the Republic of Tatarstan is an absolute leader among all subjects of the Russian Federation as it has adopted the largest number of normative legal acts and the vast majority of them belong to the language legislation.

Since 1992, the Tatar language was introduced as a compulsory subject in the school curriculum, and many Tatar schools were opened. Programs and educational-methodical sets in three directions (Tatar schools; Tatar groups in Russian schools; Russian-speaking groups) were developed for comprehensive schools. Tatar legislation provided for the study of Russian and Tatar languages in equal volume.

A number of Tatarstan universities, in particular, Kazan State Pedagogical University, Kazan State Agricultural Academy, Kazan State Architecture and Construction Academy, Kazan State University of Culture and Art, Kazan State Veterinary and Medical Academy, Kazan State Technological University, Kama Polytechnic University had separate Tatar groups with full or partial teaching in the Tatar language, however, full education in Tatar was carried out only at the faculties of Tatar Philology. Without a doubt, the organization of training in the Tatar language in the universities of the Republic was a bit problematic. In this case, we should not forget that in all Russian universities for many decades teaching was conducted only in Russian. Scientific terminology, respectively, was not developed sufficiently, manuals, textbooks in the Tatar language on special subjects were not published. For this reason, during this period, many higher education institutions began extensive work on creation of their methodological base, and, as a result, numerous textbooks and dictionaries for various specialties were published.

Based on the needs of compactly living peoples in obtaining general education in national languages and in the study of native languages in the Republic of Tatarstan, for decades, the network of national schools have functioned effectively. Since 2014, parents and children have had the opportunity to choose 1 hour a week for additional study of the native and state languages of the Republic. About 70% of those who took advantage of this opportunity chose Russian. In addition to this, 75% of the variable educational time in schools of Tatarstan was also directed to the study of the Russian language.

The conception of development of national education in the Republic of Tatarstan until 2030 was adopted and implemented by the resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Tatarstan on August 19, 2016. The purpose of the Concept was defined the improvement of the system of national education as the most important component of preservation and development of national cultures and languages in the context of globalization. The implementation of the Concept was to ensure the development of the national education system to meet changing conditions based on the achievement of the following results: positive dynamics of learners’ interest to native language, historical and cultural heritage of their people and peoples living in the Republic of Tatarstan; increase parent satisfaction, the general public to the realization of training and education in their native language, learning the native language; increasing the coverage of children with education in their native language; updating the content of national education, the introduction of modern teaching methods and educational technologies; updating training programs and advanced training of pedagogical and managerial personnel in accordance with the current development level of education and science; expansion of resource, scientific, methodological and information support of national education; the creation of an objective and transparent system of monitoring and evaluating the quality of national education; the formation of a positive image of the family, bringing up the child in his native language with the support of folk traditions (Badrieva, 2017).

At the meeting of the educational and methodical association at the Institute of Education Development of the Republic of Tatarstan on May 4, 2017, the Conception of the Tatar language and literature teaching was approved. According to that, the teaching of the Tatar language and literature was to be implemented in two directions: 1) the Tatar language and Tatar literature as native ones (for Tatar students); 2) the Tatar language as a state and Tatar literature as non-native one (for Russian-speaking students). Implementation of the Conception was focused on the modernization of the content of the Tatar language and Tatar literature teaching at all stages of the educational process, updating, increasing the educational and developmental potential of the Tatar language and Tatar literature teaching as an organic part of the regional educational process.

In the Republic of Tatarstan exemplary working programs for the Tatar language and literature according to requirements of Federal state educational standards were updated and included in the Federal register of exemplary programs. 64 textbooks on the Tatar language and literature were included in the Federal list of textbooks, 49 textbooks had positive conclusions.

Every year major educational projects aimed at the development of native languages were implemented: the international Olympiad on the Tatar language, the international Olympiad on the Russian language for students with non-Russian language of instruction, the Republican Olympiad on the state languages, as well as the Chuvash, Udmurt, Mari, Mordovian and Bashkir languages.

By decision of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Tatarstan, yearly short courses in various organizations and institutions were organized, namely, in sectoral ministries, hospitals, libraries, schools, Kazan city hall, the Cabinet of Ministers, the state Council of the Republic of Tatarstan, the Office of the President of the Republic of Tatarstan, etc. The main purpose of these courses was to teaching employees of different ranks and representatives of different professions communicative Tatar skills in the most typical life situations, accurately and emotionally to transfer their thoughts in speech communication (Fatkhullova, Kirillova, & Yusupova, 2014). The most large-scale free Tatar language courses for all who wish have been held since 2012 at the Institute of Philology and Intercultural Communication of the Kazan Federal University.

But, since the 2000s, the lack of attention to the Tatar language, the inability to pass the unified state exam (EGE) in their native language, weak competitiveness, etc. have led to the fact that many Tatar schools have ceased to exist or lost their essence as Tatar schools. In November 2008, the Ministry of education of the Russian Federation issued an order, according to which, the unified state examination was allowed only in Russian; in 2009, the Supreme Court of Russia, having considered the complaint from the Republic of Tatarstan, confirmed the validity of this order. The fact that the exam in non-linguistic subjects is possible only in Russian led to a reduction in the number of schools that taught in the languages of the indigenous peoples of Russia (Gabdrakhmanova & Makarova, 2014).

At the same time, there were certain problems associated with the implementation of the state bilingual education in secondary schools and institutions. Federal legislation guaranteed that the legislatively state languages of the republics within the Russian Federation are studied in accordance with Federal state educational standards of General education. At the same time, there was a legal uncertainty associated with the absence of a mechanism for the implementation of this right by the subjects of the Russian Federation. Under these conditions, the Ministry of education and science of the Republic of Tatarstan developed the necessary recommendations for implementation in general education sector and ensured their implementation. As a result, the Tatar language, as a state language of the Republic, was, in fact, studied at the expense of the educational time of the subject area as ‘Native language and literature’. This circumstance became the subject of dissatisfaction of part of the Russian-speaking parent community on the following grounds: 1) Tatar language is studied as a native language that is not true; 2) the volume of Russian language study doesn’t correspond to the volumes recommended by the Ministry of education and science of the Russian Federation since 2015. In addition, complaints were made about the quality of teaching the Tatar language, the overload of programs with theoretical material, as well as the insufficient level of the use of effective communication techniques.

These circumstances were the subject of the inspection of the Federal service for supervision in education and science and the Prosecutor General's Office of the Russian Federation in general education institutions of the Republic and their results had some negative assessments.

In this situation, opponents of the Tatar language learning became more active. Some groups have been set up on the Internet. Social networks and messengers spread messages with calls to write applications for the rejection of the study of Tatar.

As a result, the Ministry of education and science of the Russian Federation has developed a version of the curriculum that specifies the possibility of studying state languages of the republics on voluntary bases with the written consent of the parents of students and up to two hours a week (Turtseva, 2017). On November 29, 2017, the state Council of the Republic of Tatarstan voted for it. Thus, since the 2018-2019 academic year, the Tatar language will be taught in Tatarstan voluntarily, with the written consent of parents and no more than two hours a week. Of course, this has a negative impact on other levels of continuing education in the Tatar language, because since the mid-1980s there was an intensive process of finding ways for the revival of national education and the focus in this process was paid to the problem of building an educational system that represented a pyramid, the base of which there were primary and secondary schools, followed by secondary vocational institution, and completed by universities and postgraduate studies.

Conclusion

Summing up this study, we can conclude that the creation of a coherent system of continuing education at all levels of general and vocational education has been and remains one of the priorities for the language policy of the Republic of Tatarstan.

Russian national (ethnic) school is currently going through a controversial period. On the one hand, it is certainly experiencing a negative latent impact of changing assessments and moods in the education authorities of the Russian Federation and, in general, in those political processes which are called ‘strengthening the power vertical’ and should find some new forms of conceptualization. In one way or another, the fate of an ethnic school in Russia will be influenced by the tangible disappointment in the policy of multiculturalism that has emerged recently in Europe. On the other hand, Russia's desire to position itself as a democratic country with successful and, perhaps, unique models for solving national and ethnic problems imperatively requires the active development of a national school designed not only to ensure the rights of parents and ethnic groups of children’s training and education in their native languages, taking into account ethno-cultural peculiarities, but also to become a symbol of multiculturalism.

Acknowledgments

The work is performed according to the Russian Government Program of Competitive Growth of Kazan Federal University.

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Publisher

Future Academy

First Online

18.12.2019

Doi

10.15405/epsbs.2018.09.63

Online ISSN

2357-1330