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Putin Approves New Education Law

President Vladimir Putin on Monday signed new legislation prescribing norms for all levels of education and setting new rules for teachers' salaries and school fees, a statement on the Kremlin's website said.

The law will come into effect Sept. 1, 2013. It was approved by the State Duma on Dec. 21, and by the Federation Council on Dec. 26.

The new legislation brings about a number of changes for teachers, stipulating that the minimum salary for teachers will now be directly tied to the economy of the region where they work, with the salary required to be at least the average for that region, RIA-Novosti reported. In addition, teaching staff who live and work in rural areas will be entitled to compensation for utilities expenses.

Apart from changes for teachers, the law makes a course on the fundamentals of religion mandatory in all schools. It also stipulates that kindergarten costs will be independently determined by each separate municipality, with individual institutions to decide on whether or not to reduce costs of supervision and care for certain categories of parents.

The legislation also sets rules for the reorganization and liquidation of organizations, and sets a procedure for determining the cost of residence in student dormitories.

The law provoked protests in mid-November, with many teachers and workers in the sphere of education criticizing it for reducing the number of small village schools and introducing new fees for education.

Despite those protests, however, the bill was approved with almost no changes.

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