Belarusian experience of the harmonious development of vocational training could be useful for many countries of the world. Alexander Lukashenko on May 17 met with president of the international non-profit association Worldskills International Simon Bartley. The purpose of this organization is to increase the prestige of vocational training and working skills.
Its head is visiting Belarus for the seventh time. Such interest is understandable. Belarus is not least the only Eastern European country that has retained the system of vocational training; it is also constantly engaged in its modernization and development.
The country does not divide people by the color of the collar. Although at modern industrial facilities, one cannot get dirty even in white uniform. The country respects the working man. The Belarus President, visiting factories, despite his busy schedule, always tries to communicate with the staff. At today's meeting with Simon Bartley, president of the WSI, Alexander Lukashenko said about those who control machines or work in the field.
Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus:
I must say that Belarus is the only country in the post-Soviet space and, perhaps, in Eastern Europe, where vocational training is given so much attention. Today, the former Soviet Union republics are asking us to help them train staff for blue-collar jobs, because this branch of educational system was destroyed there after the Soviet era. Belarus is an exemplary country in terms of development of vocational education.
Developed countries experience a shortage of skilled workers. WorldSkills International is working to solve the problem of the world economy. Its head Simon Bartley has long wanted to meet with Alexander Lukashenko. The Belarusian President once personally insisted on maintaining the domestic vocational training system.
Simon Bartley, president of Worldskills International:
I am very happy to be in Belarus. You even took care about the good weather! For me as a Brit it is very important because it's always raining in London.
Belarus is changing, and the progress is noticeable. As president of WorldSkills International I will use the Belarusian model to show that the difference between workers and university graduates is not so great. I'm sure the experience of Belarus is important not only for CIS countries, but also for the entire world community.
Belarus joined WorldSkills Association only about two years ago but Belarusian joiners, carpenters and chefs twice became the best in international competitions of professional skills.
This is the best recognition of a vocational education system. Therefore, this time, "Olympic Games" for young workers and students are held in Minsk.
Polina Voronko, participant of international competitions:
I chose a college because I believe that it allows more than a university. After college, I can work, and in the future I can enter a university if I understand that this profession suits me.
Belarus has multi-level vocational education. For many, it is a stepping stone to higher education. Instead of ordinary vocational schools Belarus now has lyceums and colleges. And it is not only signs on these buildings that have changed. The main changes concerned approaches to teaching methods.
Eduard Kalitsky, first vice-rector of the National Institute for Vocational Education:
The situation is improving. We are trying to create a real alternative to the high school through our educational institutions, exhibitions and competitions. Because we are absolutely convinced that those who to become real professionals should be able to work with both hands and brains. Today it is more difficult to distinguish between purely physical and mental labor.
Belarus has more than 150 lyceums and colleges where 73,000 young Belarusians are being trained. Several years of study give practical knowledge, skills, degree and place of work. Vocational training prepares specialists who will be in demand in the labor market. And it gives man an opportunity to determine life priorities.
Alexander Lukashenko, the President of the Republic of Belarus:
We are optimizing the system, most of all paying attention to the creation of the material base, moreover, the cutting-edge material base so that young people can get the most modern specialty and to using the most modern means of production in their work. We also pay a lot of attention to direct studies of students at industrial enterprises, not only in classrooms. We do our best to ensure that people who come to work after receiving vocational training can from the first day start to fulfill the necessary duties and show inclination to a particular work and get acquainted with their future profession. We want these persons to as soon as possible understand and decide whether the chosen profession is something this person wants to do until retirement. Belarus is an exemplary country in terms of the development of vocational education.
The President of Belarus may meet with the head of WorldSkills International in the future again. After all, the Belarusian system of vocational education continues its development.