Higher school at the highest level

Head of Education Department of Council of Europe, Sjur Bergan, rates Belarus’ chance of joining Bologna Process as ‘high’

Head of Education Department of Council of Europe, Sjur Bergan, rates Belarus’ chance of joining Bologna Process as ‘high’

Mr. Bergan was part of a recent delegation from Bologna visiting Minsk. He noted that the visit would not have been made had Belarus’ potential membership been unlikely. A number of meetings took place with representatives of Belarusian institutions of higher education (rectors and students) and there was a meeting with the Minister for Education, Mikhail Zhuravkov.

Belarusian State University: a high school leader countrywide

Mr. Bergan explained that the delegation sought information on Belarus’ higher education system, which he already views as having competent experts who have offered their opinions in a ‘friendly and open’ manner. He believes that much has changed for the better over the past three years, since Belarus submitted its first application.

Speaking about recent improvements, Mr. Zhuravkov underlined that students are now more involved in universities’ decision making process, noting that it’s common practice at most establishments these days. “In particular, the share of young representatives on university councils has increased considerably,” he emphasised. Mr. Zhuravkov added that international experts tend to note that Belarus is ‘ready’ to join the Bologna Process.

He stressed that no Bologna Process members comply with every principle, all having their own peculiarities. “However, by and large, we aspire to fulfil every requirement of this international document,” commented the Minister. He notes that Bologna requirements are not compulsory, being only recommendations in the move to create a uniform educational space.

The Minsk seminar set out further recommendations for Belarus regarding a system of qualifications, and student participation in the management of institutions of higher education, as well as the maintenance of high quality education. A final list of recommendations will be defined at a session of the Monitoring Group on the Bologna Process, which will take place in Riga. These will then be transferred to the Conference of Ministers of Education, hosted this year by Yerevan, where an official decision on Belarus’ accession will be made.

By Veronika Artemieva
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