Belarus abolishes baccalaureate to prevent brain drain

While the rest of the world keeps integrating by introducing common standards for a higher education, Belarus is moving towards self-isolation.

Belarus has finally authorized a two-stage system of higher education. However, these are not the Bachelor’s and Master’s programs adopted in Europe.

Belarus keeps usual five years of higher education which make the first stage. The second stage involves at least two years of Master’s programs to be followed by post-graduate studies. In Europe, baccalaureate consists of fours years.

Uladzimir Zdanovich, the chairman of the Education, Culture and Science Commission at the House of Representatives of the National Assembly, says that magistracy is a prelude to post-graduate programs.

“Statistics show that around 7 percent of our post-graduate students defend their decrees in the first three years of graduate studies. We believe that while on the post-graduate programs, our youth can make it clear for themselves whether they really want to become researchers or they want to seek employment with an organization not associated with scientific work,” he told the European Radio for Belarus.

According to Zdanovich, five years in college are often insufficient for taking this decision. In Europe, people do not want to wait in a prelude. Students there earn credits, which they can use to project their education. They are free to collect fewer credits within one semester and to cover them in the next one.

The chancellor of the European Humanities University, Anatol Mikhajlau, maintains that the four-year baccalaureate with the system of credits is the best option of a higher education.

“Some universal requirements should be developed. We have a credits system, which stops being repressive towards students. This program is less overloaded with lectures and seminars,” he said.

Besides, the European two-stage system allows bachelors to get another Master’s education. Physics, for instance, could obtain a diploma in biophysics, while philologists could get a decree in journalism. But Uladzimir Zdanovich seems to be more alarmed that our bachelors could flee abroad, because they cannot be forced to pay back to the state by working in a home country.

“Bachelor is a person who has covered a theoretical course over four years but has no practical training. If we were to start training bachelors, our country would end up having a lot of bachelors not professionals at the labor market.

Secondly, he/she receives theoretical background in Belarus. Then he or she goes to a neighboring country, gets practical experience there and remains to work there. At the same time, he or she has no obligations with the country, because we cannot force a person to work who is not able to work. We did not teach him to work,” he says.

The system that has been approved by the Belarusian lawmakers has leverage to keep college graduates at home. Graduates must work two years on mandatory assignments for the state.

Uladzimir Zdanovich is confident that our education is not worse than abroad. Anatol Mikhajlau objects.

“Where are those flows of students that rush from America and Europe to access this life-giving source of our knowledge?” he asks.

A saying goes: “If you don’t praise yourself, nobody will praise you.”

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