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25 Oct 2016

Belarus president calls for practice-oriented university education

MINSK, 25 October (BelTA) – It is necessary to improve the admittance of students to higher education institutions while education should become more practice-oriented. Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko made the statement as he approved the appointment of new heads of several Belarusian universities on 25 October, BelTA has learned.

The head of state pointed out that the Belarusian higher education system is in need of optimization. “It is necessary to optimize education time and prune all the unnecessary things from the curricula. Let’s keep the courses that specific specialists need now,” said Alexander Lukashenko.

The President referred to medical education as an example. In his words, medics are supposed to, first of all, study the subjects that they will need to do their jobs in addition to getting knowledge from affiliated sciences. “Certainly, as citizens they have to know the history of their country. But they studied it in secondary school. Polish up the knowledge for one semester in university and leave it at that since students have to pass some disciplines only for the sake of marks. We don’t need formalism like that,” stressed the head of state.

Alexander Lukashenko pointed out that education should be better oriented towards practice. “It is necessary to introduce students to practice right away. If they decide they don’t like their chosen profession, they’d better understand it early than two or three years down the road,” believes the President. “Otherwise, they will be trained and will graduate with no desire to work as medics.”

The head of state added that the system used to admit students to universities is badly in need of improvement. “It seems to me we left this work incomplete. We made some steps and saw that tests are indeed a good instrument. But there are many drawbacks, too,” noted Alexander Lukashenko.

The President explained that senior school students, who intend to get a university degree, are trained to solve tests and learn information by heart. “Tests are unable to uncover the true essence of the person. There are many talented kids in school. They will grow up to be wise leaders, scientists later on… But the teacher fails to see the person’s potential,” said the head of state. “Tests are a good instrument. Yet we cannot see the true qualities of the person. Something needs to be done about it this winter.”

Apart from that, centralized tests have a negative effect on the professional orientation of school graduates. “If a school graduate fails to enter one university, he or she applies to another one where competition is not so tough,” noted the President. “We want school students to decide early what careers they want to build. But with centralized tests they can easily switch a university only for the sake of getting a university degree. They will keep studying knowing they are not going to do the jobs they are being taught.”

The head of state reminded that in the past prospective students put some effort into getting the education they needed in specific universities even after failing several times.

“It is necessary to take a look at how students are admitted to some universities,” concluded Alexander Lukashenko.

On 25 October Alexander Lukashenko approved the appointment of Yuri Kulazhenko as the Rector of the Belarusian State Transport University and the appointment of Ivan Polevoda as the Rector of the Emergencies Ministry University.

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