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24 Aug 2017

Lukashenko calls to ‘improve’ education system, not ‘break’ it

MINSK, 24 August (BelTA) – We should improve the Belarusian education system rather than break it, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko noted during the plenary session of the Nationwide Conference on Teaching on 24 August, BelTA has learned.

“You know my approaches to the transformation, modernization, and reformation of the education system in Belarus. The point is that I strongly oppose any breakdown, even reformation in the real sense of this word,” Alexander Lukashenko pointed out. “I have always been in favor of the development of one process or another. We should be answering the questions the life puts before us. Education is such a complicated process that we cannot just demolish the education system and build it up anew,” the president said.

He stressed that at some point several countries that are pretty much similar to Belarus decided to rebuild their education system. They broke down the old system and did not create a new one due to many reasons. “Today they acknowledge they have lost the good things from the previous system of education. We have chosen another way,” Alexander Lukashenko underlined.

“You might remember that the Belarusian government had tried to follow this way till mid-1990s. The government tried to make us all speak the language they wanted within two or three years. I am not speaking out against the native Belarusian language. You know how it was those days: they started to break everything. The exact sciences, natural history, human sciences. We had to stop this process. Back then, many of us felt we could knock down everything, yet an enormous amount of money is required to create something new after that. Back then, we had no money at all. I do not understand what the then authorities hoped to achieve when they initiated such a drastic change in the education system. We started to move in the wrong direction. When we stopped this process both in politics and in education, when we embarked on the new course, the thesis was put forward to improve and to preserve the good things that we have built up,” the head of state summarized.

He highlighted that the government paid close attention to the public opinion while deciding on the language of education in schools. “We did not force anyone to choose Belarusian. If we had then chosen the same way the ‘reforming fathers’ did when the Soviet Union collapsed, we would not have had either of the languages now. Russian is our native language. Maybe, it is a bit less native that Belarusian. But if someone thinks it only belongs to Russia as a state, then we have different attitude to this language. I treat Belarusian and Russian equally. I think by no means should we reject this heritage because we will lose very much. Let us be rich. Let us have two mother tongues, Russian and Belarusian. Time will pass, new people and new generations will be born. Maybe, the life will be different and they will decide which language to speak,” Alexander Lukashenko said.

He clarified why the decision to hold the Nationwide Conference on Teaching at such a high level was taken now. “We have passed the first stage which I have named already. Later on, improving our education system, we have passed the second stage, if this process can be divided into stages. Now, as we have learned all the disadvantages and analyzed them, we have recognized there are some problems that are yet unsolved. This means we are on the edge of some third stage. It may be the main stage in the modernization of our education system. We should discuss how to resolve the matters in our education that we now see clearly. We are to make another step to hone the education system: preschool, school, vocational, and higher education,” Alexander Lukashenko summarized.

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