Structure of the Higher Education
In Belarus, education has the goal of preparing free, creative, intellectually and physically mature individuals. There is a strong recognition within the Belarusian society of the importance of education and the role of educated people. The main strategic objective for education development is to improve quality and to contribute to creating a competitive economy based on high and advanced technologies.
Education policy is guided by a number of principles:
• Continuity and equal access;
• Compulsory ten-year basic education;
• Importance of scientific knowledge and the national and cultural tradition;
• Integrating education with moral upbringing and physical devel-opment;
• Partnership of the state and society in the management of education.
Facts and figures. Adult literacy rate is 99.7%. The proportion of young people aged 15 – 24 who are literate is 99,8%.
Public funds allocated to education in 2008 is 5,9 % от the GDP, exclud-ing capital investments.
Higher education has two main cycles. The first cycle has a duration of four to six years depending on profession. Students successfully completing the first cycle are awarded a specialist diploma, entitling them to fill positions requiring higher education in the real sector or public services. A programme is under way to introduce variable durations of specialist training programmes. The aim of the second cycle is to provide students with research and university-teaching skills to prepare them for admission to programmes leading to an advanced research degree (mainly Candidate of Sciences). A total of 1.3 thousand students were enrolled in higher education programmes in the second cycle.
Uniform rules governing admission to higher institutions have been adopted by a presidential decree. Under these rules, students are required to take three examinations, including two standardized tests, and one in a format determined by the higher education institution. The rules also set fixed dates for the entrance examinations.
In support of the programme to introduce variable duration training programmes in higher education, work has been under way to develop a system of standards for the first and second cycles. A total of 293 new generation standards have been developed, calling for a larger share of practice-oriented disciplines, introduction of new teaching methods and technologies, a greater role of self-directed learning and deeper linkages with potential employers.
Total number of higher education institutions is 55, including 12 private. Total enrolment is 427,000, or 438 students per 10,000 population.