MORAL PRINCIPLES AND RULES OF GENTLEMANLY BEHAVIOUR ARE PART OF THE EDUCATIONAL PROCESS

Task. Read and translate the text.

For the first time in the history of Eton College, one of the world's most famous boys' preparatory school, it can count a Russian national part of its teaching staff

Petr Reznikov is the head of the Russian language and literature depart­ment at Eton College. He applied for the position in response to an ad in The Times. At those times, Reznikov was teacing at a private school in Straffordshire, a country in central England. It turned out that he was chosen ahead of some 20 British teachers who had applied for the same position. In an interview with Moskovskie Novosti, Petr Reznikov talks about the changes that have occurred at Eton.

Is it true that Eton is losing its status as an elite school?

The school is financially inde­pendent, which enables it to pro­vide scholarships to gifted chil­dren whose parents cannot afford to pay tuition fees. For example, this year, the principal announced that eight scholarship students (rather than the usual four) would be admitted to the Sixth Form. To do that, they need to pass exams with flying colors. This is a chal­lenging task for children from ordinary families. Entrance exam­inations for Eton require a good knowledge of French, Latin, and a number of other subjects, many of which are not taught at state schools that are maintained at public expense. This curriculum gap creates serious difficulties. There are probably not more than 200 scholarship students among Eton's 1,300 boys. And of course English is the greatest barrier for foreign applicants. I am sure that if Russian children could speak English as fluently as the natives, they would have no problem entering the school.

How does the Eton curriculum differ from the curricula of maintained schools - public schools in the U.S. sense?

We teach the same basic subjects: English, literature, history, mathe­matics, physics, foreign languages, etc. Probably the main difference is that in addition to core subjects, there is a wide selection of extras. For example, our department teaches 10 foreign languages. Electives also include sports, music, drama, oratory, etc.

There are about 50 interest groups and societies at Eton – from our Slavic society, which open to all those interested in Slavic culture and languages, to connoisseurs of English tea, photography, and arts. Every evening, some luminary or other comes from London or other places to meet and talk with students. Eton also has some 30 sports to choose from. The college also has its own the­ater, and students may attend con­certs and excursions, including abroad.



Boys' schools are known for their brutal hazing practices. Have there been any such inci­dents at Eton?

I have never heard about this. There is a well thought through system of relations between stu­dents, as well as between students and teachers. These relations are extremely trustful. We know exact­ly what is going on here. This also applies to the students' living con­ditions. Every boy has a separate room from the first till the last year of studies. In a certain sense, this is well in line with the famous English principle: My home is my castle. There are 25 Houses at Eton, each with its centuries old traditions. This is related, in partic­ular, to the color of caps, hats, socks, and soccer uniforms.

What is the social makeup of the student body?

According to my predecessor, who has worked at Eton for 40 years, in the past, 99 percent of students were from aristocratic families. Now the situation has changed drastically. Whereas in the past, there was one student from a middle-class family for every 19 offspring of dukes, earls, or barons, today, most of the stu­dents come from the families of lawyers, doctors, businessmen, politicians, scientists, and aca­demics.

Are there any children from working class families?

Very few. As a general rule, they constitute a very small proportion of our scholarship students who showed outstanding ability at entrance examinations. Another reason is that the majority of our students get to Eton from private preparatory schools where there are practically no children with working class backgrounds.

How many foreign students are there at Eton, specifically from Russia?

All private schools in England fol­low the 10 percent rule, which means that the share of foreign stu­dents should not exceed 10 per­cent. At Eton, I believe, it is well below 10 percent. But the number of students from Russia is enor­mous by Eton standards: four. In the past, there was never more than one. Unfortunately, I cannot reveal their names. I will only say that they are not the children of oli­garchs or high-profile politicians. Their parents belong to the middle class and they live in Russia: busi­nessmen, media people, and civil servants. Incidentally, three of them are here on scholarships.



Not so long ago, I studied Eton archives and found that several interesting people from Russia studied or worked there at differ­ent times. In the 18th century, Alexander Kazans, an out-of-wedlock son of Peter the Great, taught art here. As is known, Peter the Great lived in England in 1698, working in the shipyards. Kazans, who became a painter, was his direct descendant.

In 1974, Alexander Solzhinisyn's son, Yermolai, studied here for one year. Not long ago, Marius Stravinsky, a great grandson of Igor Stravinsky, left Eton.


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