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Belarus

Overview

Рзспубліка Беларусь (The Republic of Belarus) is a land-locked country located in eastern Europe, and is bordered by Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, and Ukraine. Its population is 9,671,400 and the literacy rate is 99.6%. Belarusian and Russian are the official languages.

Slavic tribes first entered present-day Belarus in the 6th century. The area was claimed by many countries for centuries, including Poland, Prussia, Austria, Imperial Russia, and Lithuania. In March 1918, the Belarusian People's Republic was formed, and, in 1919, the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR) was formed and became a founding member of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in 1922.

During World War II, the Byelorussian SSR was invaded by Nazi Germany and suffered huge losses of lives, buildings and industry. It took until 1971 to attain pre-war population levels. The Byelorussian SSR remained part of the USSR until independence was declared on August 25, 1991 and the country was renamed Belarus.

Education

The education system of Belarus retains the Russian model, with some differences. The current system was adopted as a result of a 1994 decree. Currently, the Министерство образования oversees the education system in Belarus.

Primary Education

Education is compulsory from ages 6 to 15. Basic education is 9 years and students are awarded a Пасведчанне аб базаваѝ адукацыі/Svidetel'stvo o Bazovom Obrazovanii upon completion. Following basic education, students have the choice of continuing their education in academic, technical or vocational secondary schools.

Secondary Education

Academic secondary studies are offered at gymnasiums, lyceums and colleges. These studies are 3 years and lead to the Аттестат о среднем (полном) общем образовании.

Technical secondary education is offered at technicums and is 4 years. Students are awarded a Diplom o Srednem Spetsialnom Obrazovanii upon completion. Vocational secondary studies are 3 years and students are awarded a Дыплом аб пачатковай прафесіянальнай.

Post-Secondary Education

Admission to post-secondary institutions requires a Аттестат о среднем (полном) общем образовании as well as sufficient scores on the Централизованное тестирование (national entrance examination). This examination has been required since 2005 of all students who completed secondary school in an attempt to end corruption in admission to post-secondary educational institutions.

Post-secondary education is offered at універсітзт (universities), акадзмія (academies), инстытут (institutes) and вышзйшы каледж (higher colleges). Since 1991, the number of higher education institutions and student attendance has almost doubled, including the opening of a number of private institutions. However, since 1996, many of the private institutions were closed by the government. Private institutions only offer programs in the humanities and social sciences while public institutions offer programs all fields of study.

First Cycle

First-level post-secondary programs are 4 - 6 years, depending on the field of study. After passing 2 State exams and submission of a thesis, students are awarded a Дыплом спецыяліста.

Second and Third Cycles

Graduate programs 3 years following a Diploma of Specialist and lead to the Дыплом кандыдата навук. Doctoral programs lead to the Дыплом доктора навук which are awarded followed advanced research in a field and defense of a dissertation.

Although prior to 2015 Belarus had not been a Bologna Process signatory, Bologna type degrees had been introduced in some Belarussian universities. However, only 5% of students complete these programs. Undergraduate programs are 4 - 5 years and lead to the Дыплом бакалўра. Graduate programs are 1 - 2 years and lead to the Дыплом магістра. Some institutions are offering a Doctor of Philosophy program that is 3 years of study following a Diploma of Magister and defense of a dissertation. Now that Belarus was formally admitted to the Bologna Process at the April 2015 Ministerial Meeting in Yerevan, Armenia, all will have to follow the three cycle Bologna-compliant degrees which will begin to replace the traditional 5 year Bakalaura or Specialist degrees.

Teacher Training

Primary and secondary school teachers are trained in post-secondary programs at pedagogical universities and institutes.


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