Belarusian education departments renamed to 'departments of education'. Why?

Photo: Sophelle

Another revolution has occurred in the Belarusian education. However, it will not affect the quality of education either for schoolchildren or for students. All education departments existing in our country have been renamed to ‘departments of education’.

This is not a joke. Minsk Region Executive Committee Education Department is now Minsk Region Executive Committee Department of Education. Minsk Zavodski District Education Department has become Minsk Zavodski District Department of Education. Pinsk City Executive Committee Education, Sport and Tourism Department has become Pinsk City Executive Committee Department of Education.

Ministry has nothing to do with it

Education departments will work with renewed vigour now! But who is the author of such a needed and sound education reform? 

Euroradio has asked the press service of the Ministry of Education about it. As it often happens, the Ministry has nothing to do with the innovation.

— The decision was made by local authorities – regional and city executive committees. The departments used to be called Education, Sport and Tourism Debarments. Structural changes have been conducted and the name has changed. The change has been endorsed with the Ministry,” press secretary Lyudmila Vysotskaya told Euroradio. When asked about the sense of the sudden change, she sent us to executive committees.

— As of June 1, we are departments of education. The old name was Education, Sport and Tourism Departments. Sport and Tourism have been separated from us,” Pinsk Department employees told Euroradio.

Well, at least sport and tourism have been separated. But what is the sense in adding ‘of’ to the names of departments that have never been connected with sport and tourism?

— What is the sense? The decision was made by the Regional Executive Committee. It used to be the Education Department. Now it is the Main Department of Education. What is not clear? Why do I even have to comment on it for you? The secretary of Brest Region Main Department of Education (former Education Department) got a bit angry.

“Doing this stuff at the moment when the education system is getting destroyed is obscene. This is madness”

The departments will need new forms, seals and doorplates now. Websites will have to be updated too. The process has already begun – ‘of’ is appearing on the websites. You can still find the old names on archived pages:

Так было раней
Так стала цяпер

Hrodna Region Executive Committees have not changed the names yet (their websites have not changed) but they have already received the corresponding order. Head of the educational centre "100 points" Yauhen Livyant has uploaded the document to Facebook. 

Introducing such innovations at the moment when the education system is passing through a crisis is obscene, Livyant thinks.

"Maybe someone needed to fulfill a state order for doorplates and seals and solved the problem this way. I do not know how to explain it,” Yauhen laughs. “I would be happy if the names of institutions were our only problem in education. Doing this stuff at the moment when the education system is being destroyed is obscene. This is madness.”

“We will keep working the same way”

"The decision was based on legal acts approved in the Republic of Belarus. The structure will match the legal acts,” Minsk Region Executive Committee Department of Education told Euroradio. “We cannot comment on the situation because we are only fulfilling the decision. The change of the name will not affect our functions and work. We will keep working the same way as before.”

Officials are refusing to name the legal acts that caused the change. They won’t speak about new forms, seals and doorplates either. They are only a structure of the line of command and cannot decide anything, they say. But who can?

Скрын з сайта ўпраўлення па адукацыя адміністрацыі Маскоўскага раёна. Да 1 чэрвеня назва выглядала вось так
А гэта новая версія

"There are more than 100 thousand ‘officials’ in education. You will need to change the names of 100 thousand positions on websites and in telephone directories, make new business cards and doorplates…

Let’s assume that every official has a study. One doorplate costs 2 dollars. They will need 200 thousand dollars only for new doorplates. They could buy robotics kits for schools with the money,” Minsk teacher Syarhei Alsheuski commented on Yauhen Livyant’s post.  

As soon as people ask to rename streets named after NKVD officials in Minsk and to name them in honour of Belarusian writers – Karatkevich or Bykau – officials start saying that the change will require a lot of expenses. New plates would have to be made and there is no money for it, they say. “Education Department” is definitely not as great as “Department of Education”.  Sounds good, doesn’t it?