Higher education in Belarus

The state policy of the Republic of Belarus in the field of higher education is based on three priorities: available education; its quality; and financial efficiency of higher educational institutions activities. 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 development; Partnership of the state and society in the management of education.
In Belarus, education has the goal of preparing free, creative, intellectually and physically mature individuals. 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.
Modernization of Belarusian higher education had started in 2005. The core of such modernization consists in co-vector development of the European and national higher education, and the major trends in Belarusian higher education reforming correspond with the proclaimed in Bologna Declaration ideas.
The higher school of Belarus studies a situation in the field of the European education and considers it in work. The country higher education corresponds now to formal criteria of Bologna process but is guided by national interests. The changes in the higher education system emphasize the use of innovative principles and approaches to teaching and learning; strengthening resource and methodological support of education; upgrading and improving the technical base; proper balance between free education and education provided on a fee-paying basis, provision of a variety of education programmes and use of information technologies. Adequate human, material and financial resources are in place to implement these objectives.
Two-level system of higher education is officially introduced in the Republic of Belarus from 2007. Classical and profile universities as well as institutes are classified as higher educational establishments of university type and provide a two-level system of higher education with Master’s academic degrees. The first level of higher education ensures training of a specialist in accordance to traditional and time-proof scheme. On this level mass training of specialists is preserved with a general differentiation of training terms for various specialties. The training term on this level equals from 4 to 6 years (pharmaceutical and medical specialties). Duration of training on the second level of higher education (Master’s department) is from 1 to 2 years.
New educational standards of higher education (piloted since September 1, 2008) are based on competence approach and allow implementing the ECTS system of educational credits as a necessary tool to support student mobility. Transition to the two-level system of training specialists allows us to ensure, on the one hand, mass and available education, and on the other hand, its academic and elite nature because education of the highest level can be acquired only by the most well-trained students.
After university graduation young specialists have the possibility to get a postgraduate education. Here training of the scientific personnel with highest qualifications is conducted with granting scientific degrees of Candidate of Science (equivalent of PhD; postgraduate courses-aspirantura, adjunktura (military), assistentura (probation period)) and Doctor of Science (doktorantura). Establishments providing postgraduate education include higher educational establishments (regardless of pattern of ownership), scientific and other organizations entitled to engage in postgraduate education in accordance with established procedure.

EACEA Country Fiche about the state of higher education in Belarus