[ti:Russian Village to Lose Its Last Teacher]
[00:00.04]Uminur Kuchukova of Russia could have retired years ago.
[00:06.34]Yet the 61-year-old teacher keeps working at a school in the Siberian village of Sibilyakovo.
[00:16.56]She continues to teach for one reason: the school's one and only student, a nine-year-old boy.
[00:26.52]When Kuchukova leaves next year, the school will close.
[00:32.64]Sibilyakovo is like thousands of villages across Russia.
[00:37.73]Many people moved out of it after the closure of the local state-operated collective farm.
[00:47.32]Russian officials began closing collective farms after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
[00:57.76]Sibilyakovo is mainly home to Tatars, a Turkiс group that is one of many ethnic minorities in Russia.
[01:08.28]In the 1970s, the village had a population of 550 and a primary school with four classes.
[01:18.99]Each class had about 18 children.
[01:24.44]Today the village's population has shrunk to 39.
[01:31.16]Uminur Kuchukova has taught at the school for 42 years.
[01:38.24]She has bought a home in the town of Tara, about 50 kilometers away.
[01:45.60]She plans to retire there with her husband at the end of the school year.
[01:51.90]By then, she hopes, her only student will be old enough to travel to a neighboring village for classes.
[02:02.60]But the nearest school is a 30-minute boat ride across the Irtysh River
[02:09.11]followed by a 20-minute ride on a school bus.
[02:14.48]Kuchukova does not think her student, Ravil Izhmukhametov,
[02:19.88]is ready yet for making such a trip every school day.
[02:26.12]"I feel sorry for him," she says. "His parents don't want to leave (Sibilyakovo) yet
[02:32.06]and it's scary to send a little boy like him over the Irtysh. There are such big waves."
[02:41.24]Izhmukhametov's parents are farmers and have farm animals.
[02:46.56]However, they do not want their son to stay in the village when he grows up.
[02:54.20]"Our eldest children live in the city and we're happy about that," said the boy's father.
[03:00.79]Nine-year-old Ravil says he has no interest in moving to the city,
[03:06.83]but that he knows one day he will have no choice.
[03:12.12]A reporter asked him what he thought about being the only student at the school.
[03:18.08]Ravil said, "I've got nothing to compare it to, but of course
[03:23.59]I'd like to have friends so I'm looking forward to going to the main school."
[03:30.68]Kuchukova is sad that the school where she worked
[03:34.20]for more than forty years will soon close its doors for good.
[03:40.36]"Now it'll stand there just like in the neighboring villages,
[03:44.58]not needed by anyone, while people in the city can't find places for their children
[03:51.12]at kindergarten and are queuing up from the moment they're born," she said.
[03:58.40]And even when she herself finally retires and goes to live in Tara,
[04:04.68]Kuchukova will not leave her past behind.
[04:09.09]She said, "My parents are buried here, a part of me is here.
[04:15.99]We'll spend every remembrance-day here
[04:19.25]when people come to remember those who have passed away..."
[04:24.60]I'm Caty Weaver.