Education in the Republic of Belarus is given one of the top priorities in the state policy aimed at developing and forming an independent, artistic, morally, intellectually and physically comprehensive person. The division of educational establishments, their work and supply is guided by the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Belarus.
The state educational policy is based on such fundamental principles as priority of education, human rights and universally shared values, humanistic character of education, gender equality, its availability and affordability. The main directions of the policy are the guarantee of sustainability of the educational stages, compulsory basic education and equality of the two official languages.
Educational services can be carried out by state educational establishments, private centres of education, extra-curriculum sports and art clubs.
The system of education in Belarus comprises the following stages:
• Pre-school education
• School education (primary, basic, secondary)
• Professional education
• Post-secondary education
• Higher education
• Post-higher education
• Additional children and youth education
• Additional adults education
• Special education programs designed for the disabled or impaired
The major requirement for fulfilling the educational process in Belarus are providing a high quality education, competent approach, healthcare of the students, ensuring safe conditions inside the educational establishments and creating space for artistic development as well as socio-cultural life involvement.
Belarus is a future oriented country with a positive view of the possibilities of future generations and their contribution to the prosperity of their motherland. Keeping up with international trends in education and technological advancement, Belarus implements modern techniques into educational process, thus encouraging students into making the world a better place.
The exceptional care about the nation’s education and the governmental support is clearly seen by the amount of state funds annually provided to the educational sector. Belarus holds the leading position among CIS member states and outperforms many European countries by the sum of governmental expenditures on education in relation to the county’s GDP.
Having given birth to a child a mother is granted a 3-year paid maternity leave which she can use full-term or come back to work earlier. Up to turning 3 years old a child receives a home family upbringing after which he may be sent to a kindergarten. For those mums who see the necessity to return to accomplishing their job duties there exist a possibility of working part-time on the previous place of work or have a full-time schedule, leaving the child in the day nursery. Boarding nurseries and kindergartens (5 working days and 2 days off) are also operational in Belarus although they don’t gain much popularity among the population.
From 3 up to 6-7 years old a child receives a voluntarily pre-school education. For this stage in educational process bear responsibility state and private kindergartens. The attendance is voluntary and depends on the choice of parents. Pre-school education is to be partly covered by the family though the major part of expenditures is covered from the national budget of the country. The price for the state kindergarten supervision after the child and his pre-school education is affordable for every family, but at the same time there are some issues to be dealt with in terms of kindergarten availability to every child as there is a shortage of this kind of educational establishments.
Basic 9-year education is compulsory for every citizen of Belarus. It starts from primary school (1-4 forms). Children usually become students at the age of 6 although for some of them school life begins at 7 depending on their parents’ choice. School education in Belarus is free of charge with meals being paid by the government for children during their first four years of school education. Parents do make some contribution in the equipment, redecoration and facilities improvement but this kind of financial support is not obligatory. From the 5th form children start to learn the subjects in depth with some new subjects such as physics, chemistry and human rights appearing in their curriculum. After finishing the 9th year of studies the pupils take 3 compulsory exams (the Belarusian and Russian languages and Mathematics) and then may either continue their school education staying at school for two years more or find their way in a professional college , lyceum or vocational school where thy receive secondary education and vocational training simultaneously. The certificate of general secondary or vocational education is the main document giving the right to enter a higher educational institution. School exams are passed once again at the end of the 11th form and special exams stated in the educational plan are taken by college students who are due to graduate.
To be able to apply to a higher educational establishment the main concentration of which is obviously in Minsk a school or college leaver must have the certificate with all the grades and successfully pass the central testing which is impartial, transparent and equal for all leaving no room to corruption during admission campaigns.
An applicant becomes a freshman if the sum of his school certificate and 3 central testing exams is high enough to occupy a vacant place. The studies at the university, institution, academy or college of higher learning can be fully covered by the national budget (depending on the final total score) or self-paid. The price for board and tuitions varies from university to university and from course to course but the difference is very slight. In general the training program lasts 4 years (5 or 6 years for linguists, interpreters and medical spheres) after which a graduate is awarded a bachelor’s degree. Those who’ve studied for national budget have to perform 2-year work in a governmental organization or the one who accepts to pay taxes for your employment; those who paid themselves through the university are not obliged to conform to these rules.
Having been awarded a bachelor’s degree you may continue your studies receiving a Master’s Degree and PhD. This usually takes from 1 to 4 years of post-bachelor’s studies.
Higher education is extremely popular among Belarusian citizens with practically everyone striving to have one. Belarusian universities graduated are competitive on the job market and are frequently employed by transnational corporations worldwide. Belarusian technicians and engineers are a true linchpin for both national and foreign companies with their salaries soaring high among other professions.
In 2015 Belarus initiated the process of becoming a member of the Bologna Process the terms of which are to be faced by 2020. The eagerness of Belarus to participate in Europe’s educational space is demonstrated by the reforms being undertaken to comply with the necessary requirements.
Belarus welcomes international students who want t study abroad and widen their horizons. To date the majority of foreign students come to Belarusian universities to study languages or medical science with many of them staying in Belarus for further education and work experience.
At all stages of educational system students are enrolled in extra curriculum activities such as drama clubs, sports sections, art, dancing, singing, chess and many other societies and youth organizations which develop students’ critical thinking, artistic talent and give room for creativity and further personal development. Many sections are governmentally run and organized at schools so that the parents don’t have to worry about the security of their children.
A wise proverb says: “Knowledge is power,” and in Belarus people seem to value this power and are eager to become even more powerful working hard on improving the system of education and enriching their knowledge cooperating with other nations because they know that success is a ladder that can’t be climbed with the hands in your pockets.