Profession of reindeer herder to be excluded from list of specialties

December 7, 2014 • Svetlana AvelovaBlog, Challenges, ICR/WRH, Reindeer, Reindeer Herders, UArctic EALAT Institute

reindeerThis autumn, the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation has taken the initiative to exclude about 100 names from the list of specialties of secondary vocational education, including the specialty entitled “technician reindeer herder”.

The reason for this decision is the absence or low enrollment of students for training in specific programs, as well as the fact that “students in secondary vocational education on the basis of secondary education or secondary vocational education study 10 months, which corresponds to the period of training for the professional training program” (from the explanatory note to the draft order of the Ministry of Education and Science).

Association of World Reindeer Herders as an international organization which brings together more than 20 indigenous peoples of the world, engaged in reindeer husbandry, could not stay away and not express its opinion. Thus, the chair of the Association Mikhail Pogodaev prepared a letter to the Minister of Education and Science of the Russian Federation Dmitry Livanov to review the decision of the Ministry and keep this specialty.

Association of World Reindeer Herders for many years has been collaborating with institutions of secondary vocational education, which are preparing “technician reindeer herders”. Among them Nenets Agroeconomic College, Yamal Polar Agroeconomic College, Taimyr College, Arctic College of the Indigenous Peoples of the North in Cherskiy village in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia). In addition, there is a creation of the College of Reindeer Husbandry in the future plans. This College will be based at Topolinoe village, in Tomponskiy district of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia). There will be taught the youth from the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), Magadan Region, Khabarovsk region, Kamchatka region, and Chukotka Autonomous Okrug.

It is known that Russia is a leading country in the number of reindeer in the world. Despite the lack of high prestige of the reindeer herders today there are many regions that engaged in reindeer husbandry in Russia. The disappearing of specific training for reindeer herders will cause irreparable damage to reindeer husbandry, the consequences of which will undoubtedly affect the preservation and development of traditional economic activities, culture, and language of the minorities of the North. Younger generations should be given a chance to continue to conduct a unique traditional economic activity, which is deeply rooted in antiquity.

Nowadays, when industrial development is progressing in the Arctic, reindeer husbandry faces the challenges posed by climate change, loss of pastures, and socio-economic difficulties. These days reindeer herders especially need support from the government. We hope that the wishes of the Association of World Reindeer Herders will be taken into account and the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation will keep the profession of reindeer herder in the list of specialties, on which is carried out the training of specialists in institutions of vocational education.

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