On 26-28 November the final of the ‘Russian Headmaster of the Year 2013’ was held in Moscow. Kaspersky Lab’s Educational Initiatives Department was among the information partners and sponsors of the contest and, in recognition of my past services to the national education system, I was invited to join the panel of judges.
Out of a total of 705 candidates the best 30 were selected, representing the entire country, from Kaliningrad to Vladivostok. But the contest was about more than just geography – there were principals from the capital as well as small rural schools, from schools that date back to the 18th century and those that have only recently opened their doors, ‘elite’ and ‘correctional’ schools, small and enormous schools… Alexey Golubitsky, who came second, is head at a school in Kaliningrad Oblast where every morning seven buses ferry in pupils from 50 nearby villages. Third place went to Igor Nikitin who is in charge at a state-of-the-art school in Sochi with thousands of pupils. The top prize was awarded to Denis Bukharov. Three years ago he voluntarily gave up his post as head at a school in an affluent area of St. Petersburg to help save and then raise up a school combined with a children’s home for pupils with severe psychological illnesses and physical disabilities.
These people are heroes. Every one of them. Many of them have to survive in conditions described by one of the candidates as “make do and mend”. Unfortunately, the reality of the widely publicized autonomy for schools is a continuation of tight administrative constraints. “It’s like taking Viagra and a sleeping pill at the same time,” commented one participant. But despite all that they still manage to work miracles, and on 28 November Kaspersky Lab was part of that miracle.
I left the award ceremony in an upbeat mood, sure in the knowledge that there is no shortage of talent in Russia, with men and women ready to perform heroics every day. No, they may not always get the recognition they deserve and may not always be rewarded with an award or a medal from the state. Such deeds are not sudden impulses like hurling yourself with a belt of grenades under an oncoming tank… It is a daily, unstoppable advance for the sake of a better future – that’s what unites the participants of the ‘Headmaster of the Year’ award and us here at Kaspersky Lab.