Bologna process in Belarus
In Bologna city in Italy in 1999 thirty European countries joined Bologna process which the main goal was establishing a European Higher Education Area. On the whole, Bologna process is a special strategy for harmonizing educational process of different countries by making it more transparent and simple. It includes creating credits – special items for measuring academic achievements; equal degrees of qualification and assisting to students’ mobility. All these should allow graduates of universities move around different countries of Bologna process and easily find a job without additional recognition of their diplomas and qualifications. In 2010 in Vienne it was announced that the main goal of the process was successfully completed and a European Higher Education area was created. But by that time not all the aims were achieved, so it was decided to continue the integration of education processes of different countries.
Initially, only the countries of European Union attended Bologna process but later Switzerland and Norway joined the process, and then the Eastern Partnership countries did: Belarus, Kazakhstan, Turkey and Russia. The last ones became participants of the process on the condition of implementing the objects of the process in educational systems and acceptance of the European cultural convention.
The main governing body of EHEA(European Higher Education Area) is Ministerial Conference on which in 2015 the decision about a conditional acceptance of Belarus in Bologna process was made. But earlier in 2012 Belarusian application for joining the process was rejected as the participants of the conference considered Educational Code of Belarus as conflicting with the aims of the process although Belarus accepted the European cultural convention.
Finally, in 2018 in Yerevan, Belarus was accepted to join the process provided that Belarus would create a “roadmap”- a plan of precise actions and strategies of improving educational system for a successful implementation of Bologna process’s principles. The list of reforms includes a large number of things that should be changed in Belarusian education. Firstly, the education has to be structured on two cycles: Bachelor’s and Master’s. Bachelor’s degree comprises from a hundred and eighty to two hundred and forty academic credits, and Master’s from ninety to a hundred and twenty one. Also, Diploma supplement has to be granted for free to all the students.
A significant requirement is to restrict compulsory distribution of graduates to working places. Belarus has to create a special qualification framework according to the principles of EHEA. The Ministry of Education is to abandon five years education on Bachelor’s level and on all the faculties and make up such a system that gives an opportunity to get a double degree diploma or with two qualifications. Students have to be permitted to participate and assess the quality of education, and the student organizations must be created by applications, and not by “allowance” principle. As far as students’ activities are concerned, it’s obligatory to choose the head of a university from among students and he is to check and assess the educational processes. According to the “roadmap” Belarus has to provide autonomy for universities as far as now universities’ administration report to the Ministry of Education. And last but not least the programs of academic mobility should be effectively developed: the hours that a student spend studying abroad have to credited as the ones he spend in his country, so he won’t need to pass double examination. Of course, these programs have to be made more affordable for Belarusian students.
The entry of Belarus to Bologna process has been lasting for a long time from 2012. But such a prolonged reforming of educational system worth to reach a high level of education in Belarusian universities and give the opportunity to the graduates to work and study in European countries and all these will be aimed by acceptance of Belarus to Bologna process.