Ministry of Education of Moscow Oblast Ignores Article 43 of Russian Constitution

The authority has sent a letter to the attention of “Ganushkina” (misspelled with just one “N”) claiming that only those who have a permission to stay in Russia are to be admitted to schools.

The Ministry of Education of the Moscow Region responded to the request of Svetlana Gannushkina, chairman of the Civic Assistance Committee, to clarify the situation with a Syrian child who had been denied enrolment to the Noginsk School: the Ministry stated that the parents of the child should provide a document acknowledging that the family has the right to stay in Russia.

This response contradicts the Constitution of the Russian Federation (Article 43), several international agreements signed by Russia (the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, etc.), and the decision of the Supreme Court of August 27, 2015 (case No. AKPI15-694).

The response from the department was signed by the Deputy Minister of Education of the Moscow Region Elena Mihailova. The controversial part of the letter says that a proof of the right to stay of a foreign citizen is needed in Russia for a child to be educated is prescribed in paragraph 9 of the Order № 32  of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation of 22.01. 2014  “On establishing a procedure for the enrolment of citizens in programs of primary, general and secondary education“. The document reads: “Parents (legal guardians) of children who are foreign citizens or stateless persons are will additionally, provide a document confirming the applicant’s right to stay in the Russian Federation.”

In 2015, the lawyers of the Civic Assistance Committee petitioned the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation to rule against this section and render it illegal. As a result, the phrase was left unchanged, but the decision of the court stated: “The provisions of section 11 of paragraph 9 of the Procedure concerning additional presentation of documents, in particular, a certificates of the child’s registration at their place of residence or at the place of stay … do not regulate the grounds for refusal to enroll in an educational institute, “and” the absence of the above-listed documents, that are presented as supplementary to a personal application <…> cannot be grounds for refusing to admit a child to education as long as there are vacant places. In other words, the Supreme Court emphasized that “in addition” should be understood as “optional”.

The Civic Assistance Committee staff members have managed to get children of migrants admitted to schools by demonstrating this decision to the staff of the educational facilities on several occasions. However, as can be seen from the above letter, the Ministry of Education of the Moscow Region still has her own understanding of the Order No. 32 which differs from that of the Supreme Court.

Moreover, the Ministry of Education of the Ministry of Education writes that, in their opinion, the document “confirming the applicant’s right to stay in the Russian Federation” can be “residence permit, temporary residence permit, visa, migration card, certificate of temporary asylum, a refugee certificate, or other documents stipulated by law. ” And this despite the fact that there is no exhaustive list of documents confirming the right to stay in Russia in the Federal Law “On the Legal Status of Foreign Citizens in the Russian Federation”. It turns out that the education authorities are trying to take on the functions of the migration services, instead of fulfilling their own requirements, following the Constitution and the Federal Law “On Education in the Russian Federation”, which guarantees the right of everyone to education.

It is also worth emphasizing the fact that Order No. 32 concerns only those entering the first grade of the elementary school, and the girl, mentioned in the letter, has already completed several school years in Syria and aspire to get a place, at least, in the third grade of the Noginsk school.

Unfortunately, currently, Noginsk is one of the most “difficult” cities in the region in terms of access to education. It is home to a large number of Syrians, but local authorities are actively resisting the children of the refugees to study in local schools.

Read more on this issue in the policy report prepared by Kоnstantin Troitskiy, the research associate at the Civic Assistance Committee.

Translated by Daria Gorbacheva