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Opinions & Interviews

1 Feb 2019

Lukashenko calls for optimizing school curricula

Lukashenko calls for optimizing school curricula

MINSK, 1 February (BelTA) – School curricula should be streamlined and updated, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said as he heard out a report on development prospects of the national education system on 1 February, BelTA informs.

“We have agreed to revise school and university curricula and to remove everything we do not need and leave what we need. The curricula will be brought into line with the reality of today and will focus on skills and competencies that we need today,” Alexander Lukashenko said.

The president noted that he has to deal with school curricula every day; therefore, he is fully aware of all the issues. “It looks like we want everyone to become mathematicians. Let us be frank. I do not want to be old-fashioned: mathematicians are those who we need the least in the country. Understanding mathematics is important, because we have to do with it every day. However, the least of all we need outstanding mathematicians,” the head of state said.

Apart from that, Alexander Lukashenko is convinced that there cannot be many outstanding mathematicians in principle. It is a rare thing, the president believes. “And we are taking great pains to teach them. We are teaching math so hard at school that it scares our children away from this subject and discourages them from studying at all. I do not want mathematicians to take offence at my reasoning; I have not said anything bad about them. But I would like to reiterate: a mathematician is a rarity. Let us train mathematicians on an elective course, and mostly at university. What we are doing now is studying university curricula at school. Why are you doing it?” the president asked. 

The head of state noted that there are other subjects which curricula need optimization. One of them is biology. Students spend nearly half of an academic year studying worms, though this knowledge will be of use only to those who aspire to become biologists.

The president gave his take on textbooks emphasizing that they should be updated to match the new curricula. “A textbook is an icon, something sacred. As I majored in education, a textbook is iconic to me even today when a book is no longer as essential as it used to be, being challenged by the internet and other things… However, these two things can peacefully coexist together. Yet, a book has always been and remains an icon to me. A textbook is even more valuable than an ordinary book, even the most precious one. Keeping this in mind, we should have approached textbooks, first of all, school textbooks,” the president said.
Alexander Lukashenko emphasized that children should be taught to value textbooks, while the content and the quality of publication should be at the highest level.

The same pertains to university textbooks, Alexander Lukashenko added. “However, it is easier with universities, as students should be able to find information on their own, starting from textbooks and ending with the internet, some monographs and research papers. However, a textbook should be at the heart of learning, because a book can help navigate the material,” the president concluded.

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