The constantly changing world means that people need to be equipped to learn for the duration of their lives, adapt to new realities, and be at home in any cultural or social context.

An educational system that prepares children for adulthood in just one social system is ineffective in these modern conditions, where forms of social organization are actively interchangeable. Each person must have the ability to ensure his or her prosperity and self-realization even when the rules of the game change.





In Irkutsk, about 60 kilometers away from Lake Baikal, the construction of Smart School begins. This project is to become a step towards reforming secondary education system in Russia.


Smart School is the project aimed at building an innovative educational complex with a settlement for foster families, as well as at creating a center for developing a new approach to modernizing secondary education system in Russia.


The social  mission of the project is to integrate children deprived of parental care into the learning process  together with all other students and to support their adoption by foster families for permanent residence. Children from  foster families will account for about 15% of the total number of children, i.e. about 150 people. Each foster family will bring up five or six children; overall, there will be 30 such families. The total number of students of the Smart School educational complex will exceed one thousand. education will be free.


"A model of socially responsible education will be implemented here. The educational complex is to become a real home for orphans who will live with foster parents in a special housing development and go to school with children from ordinary families," said Tina Kandelaki, a member of the Smart School Board of Trustees.






The educational program  is divided into three levels, and classes will be held in three different buildings:


  • Pre-school education (age of 3-7) — about 200 children;
  • Primary school (grades 1-6) — 360 children;
  • High school (grades 7-11) — 480 children.


Five core principles will constitute the basis of the educational program and determine its specifics. The principles include focus on both rational reasoning and asrtistic perception of the world, integrating psychology into the learning process, intensive study of foreign languages, productive labor and school sports. Unlike a traditional Russian school there will be no standard timetable. Starting from elementary school, pupils will be able to select subjects themselves.


According to Mark Sartan, the project leader, Smart School will become an incubator for ideas, technologies, projects and practices which  and will enable educators to raise a generation of active, ambitious and creative people. Besides, this will contribute to the educational system and the social sphere of the region and of the country, and promote the growth of human potential which is the main resource of Russia.


The construction of the Smart School educational complex will start in the fourth quarter of 2017, while the school is expected to open on September 1, 2019. The construction is funded by the Russian сharity fund Novy Dom [New Home]. It was founded by a Russian businessman and philanthropist Albert Avdolyan.








The Smart School multimedia educational project is designed to open the way for students to pursue knowledge that will serve as an important foundation for their adult lives.


The authors of the project seek to restore lost access to accumulated human knowledge while offering new angles for presenting information and making it relevant and appealing to a younger audience.


The project seeks to the transfer civilization’s major intellectual achievements to a new generation. This will not only enrich the lives of youth and enable them to adapt successfully to adulthood but will also make their lives more interesting and meaningful.





The Smart School Educational Complex encompassing permanent housing for foster families in Irkutsk has been financed by the funds of the Novy Dom [New Home] Private Charity Fund. Albert Avdolyan, the Russian businessman and philanthropist, created the Fund. The mission of the Novy Dom Fund is to provide free education and socialization for foster children, and to create the conditions that would enable all to express themselves and discover their potential.


The Smart School Educational Complex will become a real home for orphans and children left without parental care. They will live in proper foster families residing in a community with specially built cottages on the land of the Complex. The children will study in the same school as children from nuclear families. The unique combination of family upbringing and school education in the Smart School will give the orphans a powerful start in life and provide each child with an opportunity to decide their prospects for development.


The financing of the construction works and of the Smart School launch in Irkutsk amounts to over 3.5 billion rubles. After the launch the ownership of the Educational Complex will be transferred to the Irkutsk region.





A Russian journalist and activist in the sphere of education, a member of the interagency working group of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation and CEO of Smart School Center For Educational System Design.


In 1993 Mr Sartan created and headed “Catharsis”, a center of practical psychology, the first Russian organization providing psychological education for teachers. In 1997 he founded the School Psychologist (Shkolny Psiholog), the only weekly psychological magazine in the world, and became its editor-in-chief. He was one of the founders and organizers of the Moscow Pedagogical School Subjects Marathon, the most massive event in Russia in the sphere of advanced training for teachers. He is the author of a distance course for art teachers, and of hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles on educational topics. He  regularly gives presentations at national and international educational conferences.


Currently, he is the head of Smart School which is aimed at creating a new type of educational complex with a housing development for foster families in Irkutsk. He is also a strategic partner of the Governments of the Ulyanovsk Region and Irkutsk Region in modernization of secondary education system in the regions. As a member of the working group of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation Mr Sartan works on recommendations for amending the standards for construction and use of educational buildings.