Belarusian education system needs to prepare specialists taking into account the needs of the economy, when it comes to both quantity and quality, said May 3 Alexander Lukashenko at a meeting on topical issues of the university entrance campaign.
The President stressed that the state commission monitoring the progress of the preparation and conduct of entrance examinations should work meticulously to solve all the issues. In particular, every year, specialists of the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Economy and other departments will create lists of specialties where shortage of staff is observed. The market needs these specialists but not enough school leavers choose them. For example, there is already a shortage in such areas as light industry, mechanical engineering, metallurgy and agriculture.
Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus:
If there are no specialists, then there is no country. We are preparing specialists primarily in universities. The main thing, of course, is our needs in the economy, in the social sphere, in other sectors (health, education, agriculture and industry). We will always proceed from this need for quantitative and qualitative composition of our future students.
We will constantly (every year) analyze down to the smallest nuances the progress of the university admission campaign through the state commission tasked with monitoring this campaign. We will draw conclusions and make changes, if needed, including in rules of admission to universities. You have prepared a draft decree, which allows us to make small but significant changes to the course of entrance exams. For example, benefits to those who will get education in specialties where we have staff shortages. But, of course, you suggest that the selection be serious, that the criteria be serious if we offer benefits to some category of citizens. I mean winners of school Olympiads or prominent athletes who already have some sporting achievements. After all, they are future coaches and they need to know their field inside out. So we have a number of proposals. And honestly I do not have unequivocal opinion on some issues. So I decided to listen to each of you on each issue. What do we need from today's higher education institutions?
At the meeting, Alexander Lukashenko endorsed a number of proposals to change conditions of entrance campaigns in universities and specialized secondary educational establishments. They will apply from 2017.
Graduates of pedagogical classes with marks no lower than 7 (out of 10) on general subjects and 8 (out of 10) in profile subjects will be able to enter the Pedagogical University on the basis of interviews, without having to take the Centralized Test (CT) as the majority of Belarusian applicants do.
After graduation from the university, these people will be obliged to stay in the country and find a workplace in Belarus where they will have to work for at least two years. This practice is now applied to Belarusians whose studies are paid from state budget during the entire four- or five-year period.
The number of reserve days for the CT will be increased to three and the period of CT certificates’ validity will be extended to two years.
Alexander Ivanov, student of Gymnasium No20 of Minsk:
The certificate in two years is a very good prospect for us. Because if after the first year I understand that I have made the wrong choice, I could still apply for another university, without having to take tests one more time.
Also from 2017, entrants will be able to take four tests instead of three, which will broaden their options (an applicant needs to present three certificates for each specialization).
Students of specialized secondary educational establishments will be able to take three CTs but will need to present results from only two of them.
Mikhail Zhuravkov, Minister of Education of the Republic of Belarus:
This has been a dilemma for almost all applicants: which CTs to take? School leavers are ready to take four CTs and then decide on only three of them based on results. Three CTs will still be required for each specialization but the future students will decide themselves what certificates and to what specialization they need to present.
Higher education should not be mass in nature. But it should be of high quality, with maximum practice. It should prepare only those specialists that will be in demand on the market.
The problem of paid tutorship in the preparation for CTs is still relevant. The President thinks that school program with good study should suffice for successful admission tests. The admission campaign itself should primarily be modern, based on the best traditions, but in accordance with the relevant requirements.
There will also be changes in particular university fields, such as medicine: future medics will get more opportunities for admission.